Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.
After being grounded for more than six months, the Cloud Nine balloon will return to the Las Vegas skies this week.
The tethered helium balloon attraction, on the Strip across from Mandalay Bay, will be taking a test flight today and will reopen to the public by this weekend, Vice President of Operations Anita O’Connor said.
The attraction has been grounded since March 18, when the balloon deflated because of high winds.
“The balloon has a safety mechanism inside itself so that if it feels it is being pulled away, it will deflate. We were in a high position, getting ready to take it down, and the winds caught us off guard,” O’Connor said.
Cloud Nine was forced to order a new balloon from a manufacturer, which takes four to six months, O’Connor said.
Cloud Nine opened Oct. 9 as the world’s largest helium-filled, land-tethered balloon. The balloon is seven stories wide, 11 stories tall and contains 210,000 cubic feet of helium. It’s tethered to the ground by a pulley system.
The balloon attraction will resume its normal schedule of 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 10 a.m. to midnight Friday to Saturday. Flights typically last 10 to 12 minutes.
Prices will stay the same, ranging from $22.50 to $27.50 for adults, depending on the time of day.
O’Connor said Cloud Nine hope to reinstate its free flights for locals.
The balloon takes up to 30 guests per trip nearly 500 feet above the Strip.