Orange County Great Park Voluntarily Suspends Flights of the Balloon
The City of Irvine today announced the voluntary suspension of flights of the Great Park Balloon pending review of its operations by independent experts.
Since its launch in July 2007, more than 40,000 passengers have ridden the Balloon safely with no incidents reported. The Balloon is operated under contract to the Great Park by BalloonVision, a contractor to Aerophile, the Balloon manufacturer.
The Federal Aviation Administration will be conducting a review of the operations of the Balloon following comments made last week by a former independent contractor for Aerophile under contract with BalloonVision. In addition, Richard Asper, chairman of the Aviation Professionals Group located in Florida, will conduct an independent review.
Irvine and the Great Park Corporation look forward to resuming flights of the Balloon once the reviews have concluded. The Balloon operates at the Great Park on Thursday through Sunday, weather permitting. The tethered five-story tall, helium-filled balloon rises up to 500 feet into the air giving passengers a spectacular view of the Orange County landscape.
The Orange County Great Park, which is almost twice the size of Central Park, will be a major metropolitan park and the focal point of the redevelopment of the 4,700-acre former Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro. The Great Park will include extensive natural areas and open space in addition to recreational and cultural uses.