When you head to the US Open you expect to see some decent golf, but you don’t expect to see a blimp plummeting from the sky and erupting into flames.
That’s exactly what happened over at the US Open golf tournament in Erin Hills, Wisconsin, during the first round.
Given that this is one of golf’s four majors, there were plenty of cameras around to film it all unravelling:
Wired with what went wrong:
The Air Sign blimp, which was advertising a credit union at the time of its demise, belongs to a little-known variety of aircraft called the thermal airship, which is fancy talk for a football-shaped hot air balloon. It’s inflated and lifted by air heated with a propane-powered flame, controlled by the pilot riding in a gondola slung under the belly of the thing. The explosion of the propane tanks created the fireball when the wreckage was on the ground.
…a thermal blimp needs a chase team in a vehicle, to follow it on the ground and recover it wherever it eventually lands. A member of the chase team reportedly pulled the pilot from the wreckage Thursday.
Good thing that chase team was on the ball.