As the morning sun crested the horizon over the valley Wednesday, national balloon pilots lifted off to complete the second set of tasks.
There were four tasks for the pilots to score points on as they headed in a northwest direction over Scottsbluff and northeast of Mitchell.
For pilot Leroy Clair of Carlisle, Iowa, the Wednesday morning flight was a windy challenge.
“As we were climbing, we were hitting wind sheers and they were really bad,” Clair said. “It was fun. It was a great flight.”
The national pilots will fly Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings, weather depending. There will be no more evening flights. Should the pilots not fly the rest of the week, the national competition will still meet the requirements. Pilots must fly two days and complete a minimum of five tasks. They have completed six.