World's largest American Flag hot air balloon to fly in Omaha, Red Oak
Patriotic Productions, a nonprofit based in Omaha, announces the flight of the world’s largest American Flag Hot Air Balloon, America One, in the Omaha skies on May 26 or 27, time and day determined by the weather.
America One will also appear at the Balloon Glow at Omaha’s Memorial Park on Friday, May 27 at 7pm. Seven hot air balloons from Iowa and Nebraska will join the American Flag for the Glow.
The concept for “America One” started in the mid-1990’s when Barry & Teri DiLibero had a conversation about how wonderful it would be to have such a balloon gracing the skies. There was only one problem, money. As time went by, the theme stayed the same: Great idea, no money. The drawings sat undisturbed as time clicked by. On September 11, 2001, the drawings came out of the drawer. With tears in her eyes, Teri again suggested the idea but nothing had changed: Great idea, no money. But now, things changed. Innocent Americans had been attacked and killed for only one reason: they were American. “No money” took a backseat to message. We ARE Americans and we are proud of what America's principals stand for. Barry and Teri leveraged what they needed to make it happen without donations or corporate help. One week later, the balloon was ordered and being built. Six months later it was delivered.
The US FLAG BALLOON America One is a HOT AIR BALLOON that is 124, 000 cubic feet in capacity, or 34,000 cubic feet larger than the next largest Flag Balloon, which is the Flag of Belgium, which has not flown for years. America One is so large, it could hold over 700,000 3’x5’ flags inside. The outside dimensions of just the flag itself are 78’ long, 53’ high, and almost 33’ deep. When inflated and standing, it is 70' tall! America One is true, FAA certified aircraft, capable of carrying 2 passengers and a pilot into the sky, powered by 2 propane fuel burners, each producing 15 MILLION btu's, for a total of 30 million BTU's. That would be the equivalent to the output of approximately 300 home furnaces.
It takes a pilot and crew chief to manage the overall operation and a team of 10-12 volunteers at any location America One visits in order to assist during setup, flight and pack up. The reward consists only of bragging rights for the rest of your life to say you helped make America One fly, that you chased it across the countryside and helped put it away so that thousands of your neighbors, friends and fellow Americans could share in the beautiful sight of our American Flag gracing our skies.
"America One" has appeared in many areas of the US, from Florida to Maine, from Pennsylvania to Las Vegas. But it has never made an appearance in the true heartland of the country, near in the geographic center of the continental United States. This is its 20th anniversary and the team is honored to finally be in the Midwest to participate in an important celebration for Memorial Day. A day honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Without them, there would be no United States of America.
"America One" will also fly over Red Oak's Evergreen Cemetery Memorial Weekend after it's debut in Omaha.