Aliyah Chavez
Indian Country Today

A giant hot air balloon that is 86 feet tall (or nearly twice as high as the Hollywood sign) is the latest attraction that can be seen flying across the sky in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In September, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center announced its Pueblo-inspired and designed hot air balloon. The balloon’s name is “Eyahne on the Horizon,” which means blessing in the Keres, a language spoken by seven Pueblo nations.

The balloon serves as a “ambassador” for the cultural center to attract business and attention in a city where hot air balloons can be seen almost every morning. “The balloon costs us less than it would be to have a billboard in Albuquerque,” said Emily Howard, the cultural center’s vice president of corporate strategy and marketing.

It is capable of lifting 6,000 pounds, or the equivalent of 12 to 14 people, plus a pilot. For these reasons, “Eyanhe on the Horizon” is the largest ride balloon in New Mexico. It is expected to have a lifespan of eight years and will fly more than 200 times a year.

The black, white and red balloon is adorned with iconic patterns such as arrows and cloud steps. It hopes to attract attention to the cultural center, a world-class museum that serves as head of tourism in the state.

The project was done in partnership with Rainbow Ryder, Inc, a popular hot air balloon operating in the Southwest.

Like other flying objects such as planes, helicopters, and other aircrafts, hot air balloons must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration. The balloon’s registration with the FAA is “N19NM,” a special name to signify the 19 Pueblo nations in New Mexico.

The balloon was made in Ann Arbor, Michigan, by Cameron Balloons, the world’s largest balloon manufacturer.

In the future, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center plans to fly “Eyahne on the Horizon” at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, a sprawling fall tradition that includes more than 600 hot air balloons outlining the New Mexico sky.

To learn more about getting a ride on the balloon, more information can be found here.

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