Great Texas balloon race begins in Longview - South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Great Texas balloon race begins in Longview

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LONGVIEW, TEXAS (KYTX) If you are up bright and early Monday morning-Look up!  Pilots with the U.S. Nationals start their practice flights first thing Monday.  More than 50 pilots registered late Sunday afternoon in Longview for the 35th Great Texas Balloon Race.

The national competition runs Tuesday through Sunday. Pilots from around the world are in east Texas.

"There's nothing more exciting than taking a primitive aircraft that has no rudder, no aileron, has a mind of its own and somehow finessing that from point a to point b to point c," says pilot Bill Bussey.

Hot air balloons will be in the sky beginning Monday but the family activities won't begin until Friday.  Gates open Friday at 4p.m. at the East Texas Regional airport.

The popular balloon glow will be at 8:50 both Friday and Saturday nights.