The mass ascension of hundreds of hot air balloons above Albuquerque went off without a hitch Saturday morning.

Pilots began launching shortly after 7 a.m. at the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Officials say the majority of balloons appeared to be floating south and winds were about 4 mph.

They say the balloons are poised to land in downtown, Kirtland Air Force Base or in northeast Albuquerque.

This year's colorful balloons include two shaped like the heads of Yoda and Darth Vader from "Star Wars."

Organizers this year have equipped all 550 pilots with tablet computers capable of running a mapping application that will enable them to steer clear of the many restricted areas or prohibited zones like airport flight paths, the zoo and other locations.