In the case of high winds, there must be enough gas in the balloon to ensure the balloon can get out of the door of the inflation building and can lift away from the surface, but not so much that ascension rates are too high. Observers should aim for ascension rates between 275 meters/minute and 350 meters/minute. Remember how much lift is put into the balloon because this information will be needed later.
To begin inflating the balloon, open the valve on the tank (counter-clockwise) first, then open the regulator valve (clockwise) second (Figure 1.3). When the gas is flowing, the valve on the tank should be loose, but the regulator valve should be tight.
Figure 1.3—Cylinder (tank) and regulator valves.
Balloon inflation should take AT LEAST 7 minutes. DO NOT LEAVE THE BALLOON UNATTENDED WHILE INFLATION IS IN PROGRESS.
While the balloon is inflating, the flight train can be prepared. To begin, stretch out one arm’s length (approximately 3 feet) of string. Bring the end of the string back down to the roll, and pull out one or two more arm lengths, each time bringing the free end back down to the roll (basically, a double string). Cut the string and tie the two loose ends together. This will create a large loop (Figure 1.4).