Thanksgiving parade balloons take test flights at MetLife Stadium

Posted: Updated:
EAST RUTHERFORD -

Five new balloons that will be on display in this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade took test flights at MetLife Stadium Saturday.

The new balloons are Disney's Olaf, Paw Patrol's Chase, Jett of Super Wings, Dr. Seuss's the Grinch and Aflac's mascot duck.

At Saturday's Balloonfest at MetLife Stadium, the giant balloons took their final test flight "to see how it is affected by any wind," says John Piper, vice president of Macy's Studio.

"It gives our pilots and captains a chance to work with the team underneath and see whether or not some of the lines need to be moved out or in, or forward or back because all of these are brand new," he says.

Some of the balloons are as tall as 60 feet. It takes about two hours to inflate each balloon.

Organizers say the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is the second-largest consumer of helium in the country.

Balloon pilot veteran Michael Giorsi says it takes tremendous teamwork and coordination to bring the balloons to life. 

"Routing the flight management team consists of 12 people and every major balloon has anywhere from 85 to 100 handlers," he says. "It really takes everybody working in unison to get this balloon down the parade route. "

Organizers say going through the practice course Saturday puts them in good shape for Thanksgiving Day.

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