Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Wedding by balloon, an Indian first!

Seasons greetings all, I'm sat trying to sort out a booking muddle for
tommorrow. I guess I'll be giving somebody the season of goodwill boot up
the backside when the office reopens again ;-)Good luck to the happy couple.

A wedding in a hot air balloon!

Jaipur is ready to witness India's first wedding in a hot air balloon around
100 feet above the ground, with a priest chanting mantras and performing
traditional rituals on board.

The ceremony, slated for Dec 29 or 30, will be held during Shubh Vivah, a
part of the ongoing Indian Festival of Thematic Art (IFTA) 2006.

Mumbai-based Entertainment 7, the organisers of the festival, has kept the
names of the couple a secret.

"The wedding will be the first of its kind in India. The names have been
kept secret to generate more excitement. The pair could be a celebrity,
foreigners or Indians. The names would be revealed only at the time of the
event," said Anoop Srivastava of Entertainment 7.

"We have ordered a special hot balloon for the wedding. It would be flagged
off with traditional music and with all the rituals of an Indian wedding,"
he said.

The IFTA Dec 23-31 festival will also screen 20 classic comedy films at a
special theatre.

Entertainment 7, an event management company, helps promote cultural
identity through films, events, trade fairs and exhibitions.

-- (IANS)

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Flying High in China


A century before the airplane, humans were already able to fly. They escaped Earth's gravity in hot air balloons! The first manned balloon was made in 1783 by French brothers, Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier, who succeeded in flying over Paris for twenty-five minutes. Two centuries later, the now old-fashioned sport is still loved by hard-core aficionados.

Thousands of people around the world take part in hot air ballooning. In China, two hundred or so have earned certificates for the sport. They are the lucky minority who can enjoy the high-octane flight which was a dream of their ancestors.

It was overcast on the day of filming. Experts said that wouldn't harm the flight, but there was no wind which meant more impurity in the air. A light breeze is best for ballooning.

Nowadays the hot air balloon has evolved into something that's simple to put together, easy to handle and very safe. The actual balloon part which is often called "The Envelope" is normally made by sewing together nylon or polyester panels with the bottom part made from a flame resistant material. The basket is woven from cane which carries gas containers, pipelines and burners. The pilot adjusts the handle to ignite the air and the heat makes the balloon rise!

In China, you need to pass a test and earn a certificate from the General Administration of Civil Aviation to fly a hot air balloon. And a special suit with full-length sleeves is needed to make sure the flame doesn't burn your arm.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Well blow me down (or away I suppose in a balloonists case)

I wonder if George will sue me for lifting his content?

We certainly have flown lawyers before but its always a bit of a worry ;-)

Seem that they have one thing in common with balloonists and that's a love
of beer!!!

In case any of you doubted the Internet Revolution's power, I got a comment
to my joking post about Grant Griffiths and his hot air ballooning from
balloon pilot and entrepreneur, Gary Mortimer, from, are you ready for this,
South Africa. I think that all lawyer bloggers in the U.S. should take a
trip to Gary's Lodge in Africa, and go hot air ballooning. While we are up
in the air, we could all blog simultaneously, creating the world's first "in
the air" law blog rave. I am entertaining comments from all law bloggers in
the blogosphere. I think we need to do this before we die. Any takers?
Thanks, Gary, for planting the idea in my head. In any event, since I can't
bring my RV with me, how about I rent one, and drive it to the balloon
airfield? Then, if I get cold feet, I could sit in the AC, drinking beer,
until I get up enough courage to go up.

Free Balloon Rides!!

Well not around here..

Free balloon rides offer overhead view of Festival of Lights


Published Monday, December 18, 2006

EAST PEORIA - Sometimes the price is just right.

Such was the case in the parking lot of the East Peoria Festival of Lights,
aka Folepi, on Wednesday evening as the festival launched its newest
attraction - free hot air balloon rides through the holiday season.

With the day's last bit of light disappearing on the horizon, UAB Aviation
of Missouri offered rides to a modest line of people, taking them up about
80 feet in the air for a quick five-minute ride.

Looking on as the balloon made its first run of the night about 5 p.m.,
Illinois Central College student Nicole Whittenburg watched as the pilot
ignited the propane burners, sending a large flame into the hollow chamber

"I don't get how it works," said Whittenburg, who was taking a break from
studying for finals to hitch a free ride. "You add fire to go up and you add
more fire to go down." The balloon has a giant blue, green and
white-checkered envelope with a huge "OSF Health Plans" insignia in the
middle. Lit up in the night's sky, it acts as a glowing billboard of sorts
for its sponsor, allowing UAB to give rides at public events free of charge.

For each short ride, about six people pile into a wicker basket at the
balloon's base. With a few pulls of the propane, the two giant burners -
like those of a kitchen stove range multiplied many thousands of times -
turn the air above hotter, carrying the vehicle up in the sky.

While the flight feels a bit uncontrolled, with no rudders, brakes or
steering wheels, four tethers, anchored to light poles and a city van below,
soon kick in, stopping the journey at about 80 feet.

The view isn't anything out of a postcard, as the modest hills surrounding
the area prevent riders from seeing the Peoria skyline or the Winter
Wonderland. But the feeling up top was rather calm and quiet, riders said,
as the balloon just floated in the air.

On longer rides, without an anchor, the trip is peaceful, pilot Michael
Weaver said as he tugged on the propane line, easing the balloon's descent.

"You can hear people below, you can see deer. It's really a beautiful
experience just to be there with the wind."

The offer of free balloon rides, which are scheduled to last until Dec. 31,
caught East Peoria by surprise. Owner UAB called the city with the offer
about 10 days ago.

"It was such a surprise," said Jill Peterson, public relations coordinator.
"We thought they may want to stay for just one or two days and be done, but
they said, 'We want to stay for the whole festival.'"

But the balloon certainly fits in with the broader festival, Peterson said.
"If you've ever seen them at night, they look like Christmas ornaments."

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Dubai launches biggest balloon festival in Asia

My invite must have gotten lost in the post I am sure. I bet it's a bit warm
up there at the minute though. Down here in RSA I sit between some big
storms wondering what tommorrow morning will bring. Normally after a night
like this clear skies! We have been known to have cricket ball size hail
stones in these sort of conditions before. Soft Landings G

Dubai launches biggest balloon festival in Asia

DUBAI, Dec 17 (KUNA) -- The Dubai Balloon Festival, including air balloons
from 20 countries around the world, is the biggest on the Asian continent as
it will showcase around 75 colorful balloons in an exciting spectacle, a
Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) statement said Sunday.

Festive ambiances will characterize Dubai, spreading joy and entertainment
among the city's visitors, who are in for a shopping and winning treat in
the festival taking place from December 20 until February 2, the statement

Balloons from the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia, in addition to
three balloons from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will participate in the
event taking off from the Global Village.

The city of Albuquerque, USA, has been holding the International Balloon
Fiesta for over 34 years giving a chance to experience the thrill and grace
of hot-air balloons. With technical expertise by a team of professionals
from the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Inc., the Dubai version of
the event has been initiated as a joint venture of a UAE business group and
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is providing technical support.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Another old chestnut comes floating by broadband by balloon.

Now I actually think some remote parts of Africa etc will actually use some
sort of tethered balloon system for communications. Mozambique was
considering some for cell phone communications. The system to stay in place
until towers were built.

Broadband from on high, well, humm. Back in Kenya we finally had satellite
data and the BBC guys there had $300 laptop size systems that were quick and
more than adequate.

Perhaps other technologies are going to beat blimps to the finishing line.

This is my favourite use of blimps though

Broadband By Blimp Company Still Full Of Hot Air

from the oh-god-the-network-is-down dept

For going on five years now a company named Sanswire Networks has been
issuing press releases every six months or so, promising the world broadband
via "Stratellites"; giant airships positioned 64,000 feet up, able to
provide broadband and wireless service to a land mass roughly the size of
Texas. Despite the fact they've never actually built or launched one,
they've boldly proclaimed that a Stratellite should cost roughly $30 million
to launch, compared to a satellite's $250 million launch price-tag. After
years of empty promises and talk of South American launches that never
actually happened, the first prototype was unveiled last April, with ongoing
testing the past several months. These latest tests leave plenty to be
desired. They're conducted in tame 3 mph California winds, last just hours,
and the airships used are a fifth the size of what was supposed to be
delivered. They also fail to mention exactly how high the airship was -- so
we'll assume not very. That's a far cry from an airship that can
intelligently sit at 12 miles up for 18 months at a time, offering low
latency broadband to the happy campers below. The company says the tests
were conducted in "ideal conditions", but a sunny, windless day doesn't seem
like the ideal testbed for a company really looking to prove the viability
of this sort of product. The company's latest press release also says the
tethered test "demonstrates the effectiveness of delivering communications
via the processes the Company had all along envisioned." Demonstrating that
VoIP works from a toy balloon floating in the California sun is light-years
away from proving that "blimpband' is an idea fit for serious commercial

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

That Hood blimp again

Little bit happier story, I would love this blokes job.

Blimp's billboard floats across the sky
By Laura Meade Kirk
Providence Journal

Scripps Howard News Service
The Hood blimp ground crew jumps into action securing the blimp as it lands
for a quick change of pilot and passengers.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Hood blimp floats lazily above the Providence
skyline, loosely following the late-day traffic streaming south on
Interstate 95 about 1,000 feet below.

The huge white airship casually veers southwest, hugging the coastline of
Narragansett Bay, as it heads to the Quonset State Airport in North
Kingstown, which will be its home base for the week.

A convoy of Hood Airship Operations trucks and trailers is already at the
airport, waiting for security officers to escort them across runways to an
open field where the blimp is to be stationed.

As the blimp circles overhead, a crew of 10 men, each clad in khaki pants
and dark blue shirts, races onto the field and lines up in V formation into
the prevailing wind – like a flock of birds – ready to catch the blimp as it

Four men – two on each side – grab each of two long ropes dangling from each
side of the blimp as it touches down onto the field. Another grabs the lead
rope on the nose of the oversize helium balloon and pulls it to the ground.

The two-person crew jumps out of the tiny cockpit and a new pilot, Mats
Backlin, scrambles in. He dons a set of headphones and, after a quick check
of his instrument panel, asks the control tower for permission to take off

On Backlin's go, the ground crew lets go of the tethers and the blimp gently
eases back up into the sky, a gigantic balloon powered on either side by
propellers driven by two 2-liter engines – about the size of the engines in
the original Volkswagen Beetles.

Backlin is destined for McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, where his job is to fly
the blimp around the stadium for 90 minutes or so while the crowd assembles
for the game.

It's a gorgeous summer evening – about 80 degrees, with virtually no wind
and a visibility of more than 50 miles, clear to Boston and beyond.

Flying a blimp is a lot like skippering a boat, Backlin explains. And with
weather like this, he says, he can't imagine a better way to make a living
than sailing the skies.

The Hood blimp is a fixture over New England in summer and fall. It's
primarily a floating billboard – a form of advertising designed to spread
the company's name, explained Mickey Wittman, a spokesman for the Lightship
Group in Orlando, Fla., which owns and operates the Hood blimp and nearly 20
others worldwide.

Blimps are a novelty, so they attract attention wherever they go, Wittman
said. They're also incredibly quiet – at least at ground level – so they're
not distracting, he said. And, they're economical and environmentally
friendly, flying for hours on a single tank of gas.

The blimp flies five days a week over beaches, boating areas, ballgames and
other outdoor events – as well as along highways and byways as it travels to
its destination.

Most fans don't look beyond the blimp itself – a cigar shaped balloon that's
128 feet long and 44-feet tall, filled with 68,000 cubic feet of helium
(which is worth about $20,000, Macklin said).

It totally dwarfs the command station – known as a cockpit or the gondola –
that's strapped to the underbelly of the blimp by a network of 24 wire
cables. At nearly 9 feet long, 5 feet wide and 6 feet tall, the cockpit is
about as big as a full-size car and similarly laid out, with two bucket
seats in the front and a bench that seats two or three in the back.

The pilot sits to the left, in a chair equipped with foot pedals that
control the rudders that move the blimp from side to side. Large wheels on
either side of the pilot's seat, much like those on a wheelchair, control
the rudders that keep it level in the sky. This is Mats Backlin's office 30
or so hours each week, several months each year.

Backlin, 53, is among about 150 licensed LTA – lighter than air – aircraft
pilots worldwide. About 40 of them work for the Lightship Group.

Backlin, who's been around gliders and other aircraft since he was a boy,
went to college to study aeronautical engineering. He took a summer job at a
firm that designed and built hot air balloons and never left. Along the way,
he test-piloted some airships and was eventually persuaded to become an
airship pilot.

He's been piloting airships as a career for about 15 years, in North
America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

He's also amassed a slew of memories, from flying over the 1992 Barcelona
Olympics to regular trips over the New York City Marathon. Once he saw a
line of about 50 beachgoers on Long Island queue up to simultaneously moon
the blimp as it flew overhead.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

UAE balloon festival

Another one I did'nt get an invite to!! Sigh ;-)

Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Authority, (SCTDA) promises even more exciting
entertainment and activities at this year's 2006 Grand Prix Championship.
For the first time in the Middle East, SCTDA and UAE Balloon will host a
unique festival of balloons with participants from all over the world.

The Balloon festival is expected to receive VIPs and Balloon enthusiasts
from around the world. UK, Russia, Italy, Ukraine, Poland, Germany and
Brazil will be among several countries that will fly across Sharjah's Sky
line in their decorative hot air balloons.

The Balloon festival will take place from December 13 -15 2006 in Al Majaz
Park, Sharjah. World champions will be participating at the event such as
Russian Balloon Champion Vladimir Andre and world champion Magdalena
Bronoski from the Netherlands.

'On behalf of UAE Balloon, I would like to thank Sharjah Commerce and
Tourism Authority, (SCTDA) and H.E. Mohamed A. Al-Norman, General Director
of SCTDA, for giving us the opportunity to participate in such a world-class
event,' said AbdulAziz Al Mansoori, UAE Balloon President.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

And from the official new 7 wonders website.

Seems like wires were crossed over there.

Heres the offical site

World Tour - Day 13 - December 5, 2006

The final stop for the World Tour in 2006 and the close of the Asian segment
was a lively, worthy tribute to the Taj Mahal, a symbol for love and
passion. This symbolism has a particular relevance now, as we approach the
end of the year and a period of togetherness and festivities in many parts
of the world - in his brief comments in front of the Taj Mahal, Bernard
Weber noted that the qualities of love and passion are two much needed in
our world today. Love brings us together as a community, while passion gives
our lives meaning. The Taj Mahal, breathtakingly beautiful in the afternoon
sun, stands majestically as a monument to human love and passion.

The certificate of candidacy was handed to Mr. D. K. Burman, who accepted it
on behalf of Mr. Kokab Hameed, India's Minister of Tourism. The ceremony at
the Taj Mahal featured lovely Indian dancers and was attended by many
journalists as well as Indian fans of New7Wonders, some of whom had
travelled great distances to be a part of this special celebration.

Ad balloon in Taj Mahal airspace violation.

I will try and find a picture of this balloon. Any news is good news ;-)

Balloon ad campaign near Taj worries Agra
Thursday, December 07, 2006

A hot air balloon flown too close to the Taj Mahal as a publicity campaign
by promoters of the New 7Wonders Foundation, a privately funded group, has
raised fears of a security lapse in Agra.

Agra authorities and security officials are reportedly ruing their decision
to allow the foundation - on a world tour to draw a new seven-wonders list -
to fly their balloon close to a main dome of the Taj.

The media has splashed photographs of the balloon right over the dome flying
a full 15 minutes in clear violation of the no-fly zone orders.

'The Taj Mahal is too sensitive a structure and a high-profile security
zone. It is shocking how the team members dared to go ahead with their
pre-announced plans without any questions asked,' asked a resident.

Rooftop restaurants in the vicinity were asked to shut down their operations
from Thursday.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has denied permitting the launch of
the hot air balloon over the Taj. Uttar Pradesh tourism officials reportedly
gave the go ahead to the New 7wonders team.

'When did India officially seek candidature in the current contest and who
applied for it?' asked another angry resident here, after the team handed
over a candidature certificate to tourism officials at the Taj Mahal venue.

District and ASI officials said they had no inkling about a new
seven-wonders list.

A Central Industrial Security Force official said: 'The balloon did not take
off from within the Taj premises.'

The New 7Wonders Foundation has declared the Taj Mahal one of the 21
finalist monuments. Their campaign was launched Sep 5 as a tribute to the
ancient Greek origin of the Wonders of the World concept.

The finalists in the campaign include the Acropolis, the Hagia Sophia
museum, the Kremlin/St. Basil's, the Colosseum, Neu-schwanstein Castle, the
Eiffel Tower, the Stonehenge, the Alhambra, the Great Wall of China,
Kiyomizu Temple, the Sydney Opera House, Angkor, the Taj Mahal, Timbuktu,
Petra, the Pyramids of Giza, the Statue of Christ Redeemer, the Easter
Island Statues, Machu Picchu, Chichen Itz and the Statue of Liberty.

Located in Agra, the Taj Mahal was constructed between 1631 and 1654 by
Mughal emperor Shahjahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz, who died in

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

You tube video of teabag balloons

I saw this on Braniac and promptly raided the stored at Governors Camp for Tea Bags.

Adam and I found that the posh herbal ones worked best, ie they have to be long teabags. You can clearly see that in the video.

Normal short ones don't work.

We wasted a couple of boxes but don't tell the boss!!!

Stone Henge pictures... on this day in 1906....

1906 - The first aerial photographs of Stonehenge - the first aerial
photographs of any British archaeological monument - were displayed at the
London premises of the Society of Antiquaries.
They were taken from a hydrogen balloon, probably around late September
1906, by 2nd Lieutenant Philip Sharpe of the Royal Engineers' Balloon
Section. The Royal Engineers began using hydrogen balloons in 1878 (not
hot-air), and had been experimenting with aerial photography from at least
1881. The first intentional aerial photo for archaeological purposes was
taken in June 1899, of excavations at the Forum in Rome.

Monday, December 04, 2006

First Kavanagh for South Africa

Bit late this, whats new they cry!

My excuse is that I'm doing far too much travelling at the minute, 6000km in 12 days.

Anyhow, last week I was in Joburg having my balloon C of A'd and Felicity Clegg had just completed the test flight for the civil aviation authority here of a Kavanagh 210.

The new owner was delighted with the service offered by Phil and Sean. That flight happened last Wednesday on the 29th of Nov 2006.

I am pretty pleased as well as someone else is getting the type through the paperwork hassles here!!

Thanks for everybody that has sent emails, now please send some news as well!!

Cheers from the Kruger National Park and 40C temps.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Its official, results of world champs.


The 17th FAI World Hot Air Balloon Championship, held at Tochigi in Japan
from 18 to 26 November 2006, came to a successful conclusion, thus closing
the 2006 FAI World Championships season.

Sixty-two competitors representing 31 countries worldwide attended the
Championship. After 28 competition tasks, the winners were :

1st – John PETREHN (USA)

Both FAI President Pierre PORTMANN and FAI Ballooning Commission President
Jean-Claude WEBER attended the prize-giving ceremony, as did "Asimo", a
representative of the latest technological developments of Honda, partner of
the 17th FAI World Hot Air Balloon Championship.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Honda might not be part of Worlds again..

>From the newsletter of the World Hot Air Balloon Championships.


It appears that after Masashi's departure HONDA Company is reconsidering
their participation in this World Series Team event. HONDA remains committed
to ballooning and wishes to continue supporting ballooning events in the
future, but not necessarily the World Series scheme.

School contest toy balloon USA to South Africa!!

This one I would really really like to believe.

Anything is possible I guess, but it must have been quite a set of
happenstance to allow the winds to do this.

I am afraid I rather subscribe to the suitcase transportation theory. It
would be interesting to see the hotels register for that week ;-)

I am having real trouble logging onto Blogger and uploading pictures or even
writing posts so here is the origional link below, you will get to see the
young aeronaut and her teacher.

Geography contest balloon crosses ocean to S. Africa

Air mail

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

By KATHRIN KLENSHTEYN - Bulletin Staff Writer

It is hard to believe that a small helium balloon released in Martinsville
could land somewhere farther than Virginia or North Carolina.

It might even be harder to believe that such a balloon crossed the Atlantic
Ocean and landed in Africa. But it did.

Balloons released into the air on Sept. 15 by students at Collinsville
Primary landed as nearby as Ridgeway and, as the school's staff learned
Monday, as far as Plettenberg Bay, South Africa.

Students launched 281 helium balloons as a geography contest to see how far
the balloons would travel. The school's Parent Teacher Organization sold the
balloons to students as a fund-raiser. The students then attached cards to
them, declaring that the finders of the balloons are "balloon buddies" and
should return the cards to the school.

Katelynn Renz, 5, was the proud owner of the balloon that went to Africa.

She was happy, she said, "because my balloon went the farthest."

The postmarked and stamped letter reads: "We found the remnants of your
balloon on the lawn of our hotel here in South Africa. What a trip the
balloon took. We live in Cape Town and were vacationing here."

The author also expressed the hope that the student's balloon would be the
one that went the farthest.

Exactly how the balloon made the long trip is anyone's guess.

Collinsville Primary Principal Sandy Gammons and other teachers speculated
that Renz's balloon could have floated on Bermuda trade winds straight
across the ocean to Africa. Another theory is that the balloon could have
found its way into the luggage compartment of an airplane.

But no one had a clue as to how it got as far south as South Africa.

In the United States, the farthest balloon that was reported to the school
landed in Youngsville, N.C., which is about 144 miles away.

Gammons, a former social studies teacher, said social studies still is her
passion and she enjoys maps and geography in particular.

"If you intrigue and engage kids, I think they'll have that passion for
learning," she said, referring to the students' interest being sparked by
the balloon exercise.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Hot-air balloon lands in Marlboro backyard with no reported damage

Seems like a job well done here. They have a very sensible rule in Australia
where as long as you are making an approach to land they won't get you for
low flying. Don't try there patience too much though. That got us out of a
lot of hot water in Melbourne a few years ago.

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 11/27/06

MARLBORO — A hot-air balloon made a precautionary landing in a Marlboro
backyard Sunday morning, police said.

The balloon's pilot, Gene Burnstein of Brick, said he landed the
77,000-cubic-foot balloon, which is about as tall as a seven-story building,
in the backyard as a "precaution against running out of landing spots."

Detective Sgt. Paul Reed said no one was injured, and no property was
damaged when the balloon landed just before 9 a.m. in the fenced-in
Cloverleaf Drive backyard that had no trees.

But, Reed noted, it is the first time in his more than 18 years on the force
that a hot-air balloon has landed in Marlboro.

The balloon had taken off in Millstone earlier Sunday morning. Police
assisted the ground crew that had been following the balloon.

Burnstein said when it is time to land, he looks for a safe place where
property will not be destroyed. He said he also looks for a place where he
will be welcome.

"It was getting a little later in the morning and getting to the point where
it was prudent to land," he said. "We were avoiding problems by landing when
we did."

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At 104, woman hits a high point

Well this beats my personnal best of 96 I think it was, I don't know about
you but I always find flying older folk an absolute pleasure. Its always
worrying as to their health but they generally behave and listen better than
there 20 something fellow travellers. Especially if the 20 year old chap has
his 18 year old girlfriend on board to impress ;-)

Monday, November 27, 2006 12:46 AM CST

TEXARKANA, Ark. - Riding in a helicopter, on the back of a Harley or in a
hot air balloon may not seem like a dare-devil's resume, but it does sound
at least daring for someone who is 104 years old.

Since turning 100, Annie Conner, known by most people as "Little Annie
Conner," has been celebrating her birthdays with first-time experiences.
Last week, she went up in a hot air balloon, something she has wanted to do
ever since seeing one while on a trip to Dallas with her late husband.

"All of a sudden I noticed a hot air balloon beside us going about the same
speed we were," Conner recalled. "The first thing I knew, the balloon
crossed the highway. He was not confined to that damned concrete highway. He
was free and I have wanted to be free ever since."

Although Conner's birthday was actually Sept. 21, bad weather and scheduling
conflicts prevented her from going up in the balloon until last Wednesday.

Brenda Smith, a manager of Cowhorn Creek Estates where Conner has lived for
the past four years, said officials there threw her a hot air balloon-themed
birthday party for her back in September. Conner's enthusiasm about the
flight did not wane despite the delay, Smith said.

"She was so excited she laid out her clothes the night before," Smith said.

Conner was dressed and ready to go hours before takeoff Wednesday.

She said she had been told repeatedly to dress warm enough for the occasion
and had tried her best, right down to a pair of maroon leggings that she'd
had for 30 years but had never worn.

By 3:15 p.m. she was out of her apartment door and walking at a brisk pace
toward the staircase she climbs each day at Cowhorn Creek. She tells her
great nephew Johne Cole, an architect in Carrollton, Texas, who canceled his
appointments to drive to Texarkana to witness her adventure, that she
doesn't want to depend on the elevator.

"She tells me that if you use the elevator, you will always have to use
one," he said.

She said she also doesn't have any use for the cane she got a few years ago.

"I found out that I was a slave to that cane. I was always worried about
tripping on it, so one day I just hung it up," Conner said.

One of the words people often use to describe Annie Conner is independent,
Cole said.

During World War I, Conner delayed her graduation at Texas High School by
taking off for two years to keep her family's business, Crow's Laundry, but
was still named honorary valedictorian. She has been working with numbers
since she was a grade school girl and began helping her father with
bookkeeping for the business.

And if she could still see well enough, she would be filing her own income
taxes, she said. The former accountant helped other people file their income
taxes until she was around 95.

But around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, Conner briefly yielded her
independence and allowed herself to be lifted into the balloon basket.

She was joined by Texarkana, Texas, Mayor James Bramlett for the tethered
ride in a baseball field behind First Baptist Church. It wasn't the first
time Bramlett had joined Conner for one of her adventures. When she turned
101, he agreed to go along for her helicopter ride.

Conner described the experience of riding in the balloon as "great," and
grabbed onto the hand of balloon pilot Christopher Montano as the balloon
made its way back to the ground for the final time.

"You don't know what it means to me," she told him. "This is a
once-in-a-lifetime experience."

Information from: Texarkana Gazette,

A service of the Associated Press(AP)

World Championships

After 28 tasks heres the top ten. Looks like the year for being ranked 50
something ;-)

No Rank Name

1 55 PETREHN, John USA
4 57 DONNER, Nick USA
5 58 MIZUKAMI, Takao JPN
6 59 ENDO, Mamoru JPN
8 17 BOLZE, Stephane FRA
9 60 FUJITA, Masahiko JPN
10 18 MESSINES, Francois FRA
11 54 PETREHN, Paul USA

Best weather site ever and its worldwide

Well I am open to suggestion about better weather sites but I was passed on this URL by a passenger and I am impressed as anything. It works like a charm down here in South Africa where the forecasting can be um vague.

As far as I can tell the Windguru site takes information from many computer models and puts it into a plain format, its not actual winds but forecast.

The site is primarily for windsurfers but allows you to add spots anywhere on the planet, yes you read that right anywhere on the planet.

There is also a small download of spots for Google Earth so you can see where other people have created spots near your location.

Last week we did a film shoot in the Cape and as I don't know that area I used a spot already set up for Caledon to check what might happen.

As the job approached the professional forecaster for the film crew, sent his reports and they were flipping close.

Used in conjunction with your other forecasting tools this is a powerful toy.

Oh and best of all, its free, lets hope it stays that way.
Suggestions for other weather sites also gadly taken, then I will add them to the weather tag on the search cloud.

New special shape for Japan

From the most excellent Barts Special Shapes page

Wed 15 November 2006 - New Cameron for Japan
Again a new special shape manufactured at Cameron Balloons UK. This one is for Japan and made his first flight at the Saga Balloon Fiesta in Japan. The balloon's name is "Ebisu". Registration is JA-A1266.

Ebisu is the Japanese god of fishermen, good luck, and workingmen, as well as the guardian of the health of small children. He is one of the Seven Gods of Fortune, and the only one of the seven to originate from Japan. Ebisu is sometimes referred to as the brother of Hiruko, a Japanese sun god.

Vijaypat Singhanaias record anniversary.

Missed getting this in by a day but on the 25th of November 2005

Vijaypat Singhania, a leading Indian business tycoon, philanthropist, the
Sheriff of Mumbai, and aviator, set a new world record in his hot air
balloon, scaling 69,852 feet (21,291 meters), breaking a 17-year-old record
of 64,997 feet set by Swede Per Lindstrand.

Singhania, 67-years-old, a flying enthusiast and adventurer, touched 69,852
feet above sea level at 8:55 a.m., breaking Lindstrand's existing world
record set in June 1988 in Texas.

Hands up all those that would like to do the same, a flight to 40k is on my
mind and that's daunting enough!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Dubai Shopping Festival Balloons

Here's one that I would'nt have minded getting an invite for, I had no idea that there were 60 balloons in Dubai!

The Balloon Festival: Dec 20 - Dec 30 (4 pm - 8 pm daily)
The double edition of DSF opens on the morning of December 20 with the launch of mall-wide sales and promotions as well as several events and activities starting simultaneously at various locations throughout the city. The Night Glow spectacle - with 60 hot-air balloons illuminating the night sky - will be held that evening.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happy Montgolfier Day!

Heres a report from the horses mouth!!

I wish to describe as well as I can the first journey which men have
attempted through an element which, prior to the discovery of the
Monsieur's Montgolfier, seemed so little fitted to support him.
We went up on the 21st of November, 1783, at near two o'clock. M. Rozier
on the west side of the balloon, I on the east. The wind was nearly
north-west. The machine, say the public, rose with majesty; but really
the position of the balloon altered so that M. Rozier was in the advance
of our position, I in the rear.
I was surprised at the silence and the absence of movement which our
departure caused among the spectators, and believed them to be
astonished and perhaps awed at the strange spectacle; they might well
have reassured themselves. I was still gazing when M. Rozier cried to
me"You are doing nothing, and the balloon is scarcely rising a fathom."
"Pardon me," I answered, as I placed a bundle of straw upon the fire and
slightly stirred it. Then I turned quickly but already we had passed out
of sight of La Muette. Astonished I cast a glance towards the river. I
perceived the confluence of the Oise. And naming the principal bends of
the river by the places nearest them, I cried, "Passy, St. Germain, St.
Denis, Sevres!"
"If you look at the river in that fashion you will be likely to bathe in
it soon," cried Rozier. "Some fire, my dear friend, some fire!"
We traveled on; but instead of crossing he river, a our direction seemed
to indicate, we bore towards the Invalides, them returned upon the
principal bend of the river, and traveled to above the barrier of La
Conference, thus dodging about the river, but not crossing it.
"The river is very difficult to cross," I remarked to my companion.
"So it seems," he answered; "but you are doing nothing. I suppose it is
because you are braver than I, and don't fear a tumble."
I stirred the fire; I seized a truss of straw with my fork; I raised it
and threw it in the midst of the flames. An instant afterwards I felt
myself lifted as if it were into the heavens.
"For once we move," said I.
"Yes, we move," answered my companion.
At the same instant I heard from the top of the balloon a sound which
made me believe that it had burst. I watched, yet I saw nothing. My
companion had gone into the interior, no doubt to make some
observations. A my eyes were fixed on the top of the machine I
experienced a shock, and it was the only one I had yet felt. The
direction of the movement was from above, downwards. I then said "what
are you doing? Are you having a dance to yourself"
"I'm not moving."
"So much the better. It is only a new current which I hope will carry us
from the river," I answered. I turned to see where we were, and found we
were between the Ecole Militaire and the Invalides.
"We are getting on," said Rozier.
"Yes, we are travelling."
"Let us work, let us work," said he.
I now heard another report in the machine, which I believed was produced
by the cracking of a cord. This new intimation made me carefully examine
the inside of our habitation. I saw that the part that was turned
towards the south was full of holes, some of which were of a
considerable size.
"It must descend," I then cried.
"Look!" I said. At the same time I took my sponge and quietly
extinguished the fire that was burning some of the holes within my
reach; but at the same moment I perceived that the bottom of the cloth
was coming away from the circle which surrounded it.
"We must descend," I repeated to my companion. He looked below. "We are
upon Paris," he said. "It does not matter," I answered. "Only look! is
there no danger? Are you holding on well" "Yes."
I examined from my side, and saw that I had nothing to fear. I then
tried with my sponge the ropes which were within my reach. All of them
held firm. Only two of the cords had broken. I then said, "We can cross
During this operation we were rapidly getting down to the roofs. We made
more fire, and rose again with the greatest ease. I looked down, and it
seemed to me we were going towards the towers of St. Sulpice; but, on
rising, a new current made us quit this direction and bear more to the
south. I looked to the left, and beheld a wood, which I believed to be
that of the Luxembourg. We were traversing the boulevard, and I cried
all at once "Get to the ground!"
But the intrepid Rozier, who never lost his head, and who judged more
surely than I, prevented me from attempting to descend. I then threw a
bundle of straw on the fire. We rose again, and another current bore us
to the left. We were now close to the ground, between two mills. As soon
as we came near the earth I raised myself over the gallery, and leaning
there with my two hands, I felt the balloon pressing softly against my
head. I pushed it back, and leaped to the ground. Looking round and
expecting to so see the balloon still distended, I was astonished to
find it quite empty and flattened. On looking for Rozier I saw him in
his shirt-sleeves creeping from under the mass of canvas that had fallen
over him. Before attempting to descend he had put off his coat and
placed it in the basket. After a deal of trouble we were at last all

Friday, November 17, 2006

Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival

Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival

What: About 50 balloons will launch at dawn. One evening, selected
balloonists will participate in a balloon glow, where tethered balloons will
fill with light as pilots fire their gas jets.

When: 7:15 a.m. today; 7:15 a.m. (launch) and 5:30 p.m. (balloon glow)
Saturday; 7:15 a.m. Sunday.

Where: Yuma and the neighboring city of Winterhaven, Calif. Today's launch
is at Quechan Paradise Casino, 485 Quechan Road, Winterhaven (across the
Colorado River from Yuma). Launches Saturday and Sunday are at Cibola High
School, 4100 W. 20th St., Yuma. Saturday's balloon glow is at the Ray Kroc
Complex, 3500 S. Avenue A, Yuma. To get to Yuma from central Phoenix, take
Interstate 10 west about 30 miles to Arizona 85, then go 33 miles south on
85 to Interstate 8. Go west 114 miles to Yuma.

Admission: Free. Food and beverages will be sold.

Details: 1-(928)-343-1715,

Highlight: Get an invigorating start Saturday at the 6-10 a.m. breakfast at
Cibola High School. For $6 you can choose from pancakes, eggs, bacon, coffee
and other beverages.

Don't miss: Students who have made balloons from tissue paper will set them
aloft at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Ray Kroc Complex. Free.

While you're there: Visit the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park
and see why many people obeyed the law in the late 1800s. Though the prison
is in ruins, you will get a good idea of its dark and dank nature. It's open
8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Visit on a Sunday through April and watch an Old West
re-enactment. The park is at 1 Prison Hill Road.

Lodging: If you like to spread out, try SpringHill Suites by Marriott, just
off I-8, 1-800-246-8357. For a centrally located hotel, call Best Western
Coronado Motor Hotel, 1-(928)-783-4453. The budget-minded may opt for Days
Inn, 1-800-754-6835.

Dining: If you like wings, visit the Crossing, known for its bar-friendly
food. 2690 S. Fourth Ave., 1-(928)-726-5551. There's more than burgers and
beer at Burgers & Beer, but most are there for the burgers and beer. 321 W.
20th St., 1-(928)-783-3987. For elegant dining, head to Ciao Bella
Ristorante Italiano, 2255 S. Fourth Ave., 1-(928)-783-3900.

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Lithuanian altitude attempt hummmm

Just returned from Cape Town where we will make a tiny bit of news our
selves next week, shooting a TV ad for the German National Lottery.

I may even send reports of our drive down, 20 hours across the Great Karoo
desert and such. A truely beautiful drive but at 1873km a flipping long way.

Anyhow onto the story that caught my eye, we went higher than Everest down
here a couple of years ago that was not really a serious altitude attempt
but a beer fueled dare, took some organising and training though. I even
went to the Gym.

So good luck Vladas Vitkauskas and Vytautas Samarinas!!

Balloonists to break world altitude record

Nov 15, 2006
>From wire reports

<> VILNIUS - Two
Lithuanians are hoping to set a new world record this month, flying the
Baltic state's largest hot-air balloon to an altitude of 8,848 meters – the
same height as Mt. Everest. Mountain climber Vladas Vitkauskas and hot-air
balloon pilot Vytautas Samarinas announced their goal last week, saying that
nobody had successfully reached 8,848 meters in a balloon. "Balloonists have
been trying to set such a record for years, however, their attempts were not
serious. They did not have the necessary equipment and could only reach the
altitude of 4-5 kilometers," Samarinas said.

The idea was born after the company KG Group purchased a new hot-air
balloon, the largest in Lithuania. The balloon will be used by Vitkauskas
and Samarinas to rise to an altitude of over 8 kilometers.
According to Samarinas, thorough technical preparations for the flight,
scheduled for later this month, are already underway. Yet something
unexpected and unforeseen can always come up, he added.

Two weeks ago, a pilot reportedly flew at an altitude of 7,000 meters,
Samarinas pointed out.
Vitkauskas, who is famous for climbing Mt. Everest, said the most difficult
part of achieving their goal will be flying at low pressure and freezing air
temperatures, which may drop to -50 degrees Celsius. Therefore, Samarinas
and Vitkauskas will wear flameproof suits and face masks during their
flight. They will also wear oxygen masks.
The two Lithuanians could not specify the date of their planned flight,
which claims an entry in the Lithuanian Book of Records, as they must first
evaluate weather conditions.

The flight is planned to take about three hours, with the hot-air balloon
reaching a speed of 100 kilometers per hour.
Factum agency will observe and register the balloon's altitude with the help
of cold-proof video-cameras, global positioning system devices and a
barograph measuring altitude by pressure changes.
Lithuania's current altitude record stands at 7,212 meters, set by
balloonists Aurimas Vengrys and Vytautas Sviderskis in September

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Iranian Airship

They never seem to want to go away do they, here in RSA the cover of popular
science is adorned with an airship and its the way of the future talk.

Strikes me that whenever theres a slow news month out comes an airships

Still it would be a marvellous thing to slowly drift over game reserves in
balloon mode whilst enjoying a fine breakfast and then motor back to the
start point. I can imagine whale watching off the coast would be amazing

Iranian inventor's flying machine surfs the air

LONDON, November 14 (IranMania) - It flies like a ship, moves like a plane
and takes off and lands like a hot-air balloon, MNA reported.

The hybrid flying object called ABS, air balloon ship, is not a Zeppelin but
it carries helium and is equipped with four engines. Standing 20 meters
long, the flying machine may easily hover at 3,000 meters above the sea
level and reach the top speed of 100 km/s, said Reza Kahuli, who was awarded
as the world outstanding young inventor at 2006 British Inventors Society
(October 18-21).

The initial design may carry 20 passengers and the capacity could be
extended to 200, he elaborated, adding a prototype is expected to be built
in two months if the nation's authorities cooperate and offer due supports.
"The city of Tabriz, northwest Iran, may celebrate the inauguration flight
in March," the young man hoped for.

The trial version, at 330.2 kg, is capable of carrying 220.4 kg of load and
the production cost seems to be 50% less than the similar types manufactured
around the world.

The ABS does not need a runway and it can be used for aerial command lift
during war or natural disasters. The unique design of the wings allows
vertical landing and renders ABS a safe crossbreed to surf the air.

Reza Kahuli, 18, is a student of mechanical engineering at Tabriz
University. He is known for 16 inventions in various domains, the most
important of which is the new method he has invented for cloud impregnation,
winning him BIS 2005 first prize.

Mulitlingual Challenge, or Balloon News in different languages

I'm no expert when it come to languages other than English but thanks to those nice people at Google you can now receive versions of this blog in...


Simply click on the appropriate button on the right hand side of the page.

How much sense if any the translation makes I know not.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Mile High

Is it not amazing what you can find with a search engine and a couple of hours to fill.
Just how many balloon ride companies have a mile high policy??
I have certainly been asked if we will look the other way but have never thought to put it into writing!!!
Look here
Bouyant regards

Friday, November 10, 2006

X plane hot air balloons.

If you are nerdy enough to fly computer flight simulators one of the best is X plane.

It allows you to design and modify aircraft of your own in a very real fashion.

I believe it was used by Burt Rutan and his team in the X prize competion.

Obviously people can take this a little far as witnessed by this screen shot ;-)


Thursday, November 09, 2006

I'm sorry all technorati code in this post

Claiming a technorati counter and its dull so here we go

<a href="" rel="me">Technorati

Hot Air Balloons Male or Female??

Read on....

Ziploc bags are male, because they hold everything in, but you can see right
through them.

Copiers are female, because once turned off; it takes a while to warm them
up again. It's an effective reproductive device if the right buttons Are
pushed, but can wreak havoc if the wrong buttons are pushed.

A tire is male, because it goes bald and it's often over-inflated.

A hot air balloon is male, because, to get it to go anywhere, you have to
light a fire under it, and of course, there's the hot air part.

Sponges are female, because they're soft, squeezable and retain water.

A web page is female, because it's always getting hit on.

A subway is male, because it uses the same old lines to pick people up.

An hourglass is female, because over time, the weight shifts to the bottom.

A hammer is male, because it hasn't changed much over the last 5,000 years,
but it's handy to have around.

A remote control is female. Ha! You thought it'd be male, didn't you? But
consider this - it gives a man pleasure, he'd be lost without it, and while
he doesn't always know the right buttons to push, he keeps! trying!

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Masashi Kakuda

Masashi Kakuda died this evening at around 17:00 hours. (Japanese Time). He
was earlier hospitalised with a heart problem.

Masashi was a prominent member of the CIA for so many years and his
contributions on competiton and rules subcommittees was legendary. He was
also a competition director and Jury member at so many sanctioned events.
He will be remembered for his great passion for competition ballooning and
for his wonderful sense of humour.

International ballooning will be much the poorer for his passing.

Go in peace, our ballooning friend.

Another low flying balloon story, Chico

Seems that local papers can't get enough of low flying balloons.

I am finding rather funny to see how the Google ads on the main page change
with every clamity reported. All that emergency gear, so little time ;-)

Residents startled as hot air excursion pilot hovers low over Chico

By GREG WELTER - Staff Writer
Article Launched:11/07/2006 12:00:00 AM PST

A New Hampshire transplant thinking about starting a hot air excursion
service in Chico floated a trial balloon -- so to speak -- over the city
Monday morning, but got more attention than he might have bargained for.
Police officers, fire crews and dozens of residents followed the balloon
shortly before 9 a.m. as it floated low near the intersection of East Avenue
and The Esplanade, then attempted a landing at Fair View High School.

Pilot Jim Thibodeau, who runs The Wings Group Balloon Co., said he'd been in
the air about 90 minutes and was starting to lose the wind, which meant his
ability to steer the balloon was diminishing.

He said he had enough fuel to stay in the air another hour, but directing
the balloon would have become increasingly difficult.

He sent a member of his crew to Fair View for permission to land, but school
office manager Carol Burns said clearance first had to be obtained from the
district office.

By the time she got it, Burns said the balloon ascended and floated away.

With a chase car tracking it, Thibodeau flew just above treetop level until
he spotted an open parking lot near the Department of Motor Vehicles office
off Cohasset Road.

Thibodeau set the balloon down with no problem,and said he was never really
in any trouble.
He said he took off from a vacant field adjacent to Joshua Tree Lane, and
had notified the Chico Municipal Airport tower that he would be in its
airspace for a short time.

Once he got over north Chico, Thibodeau, a balloon pilot for 15 years, said
there were really no restrictions on where he could fly.

Thibodeau said Monday's was his first flight since moving to Chico about a
month ago, but added he's been driving around the city the last few weeks
trying to get permission from land owners to use various takeoff and landing

Thibodeau said it took about two hours to pack up the balloon Monday and get
it back onto his trailer. That process might have been slowed by the dozens
of bystanders, curious to know if the balloon had crashed in the parking

The pilot called Monday's flight "just routine."

Staff writer Greg Welter can be reached at 896-7768 or

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Rassemblement de Montgolfières

French Balloon Festival

Every year, the Rassemblement de Montgolfières (gathering of hot air
balloons) brings balloonists from all over the world to partake in a
three-day ballooning celebration in Le Puy-en-Velay (in central France in
Auvergne) during the Armistice holiday.

Le Puy en Velay, is a perfect venue with ideal conditions for ballooning and
is world renowned for its picturesque volcanic rocks. The 40 or so
balloonists gather for this non-competitive event but everyone is invited as
spectators. You can watch the colorful puffy balloons while sipping local
wines and sampling the yummy cheeses that makes France France.

Hot Air Balloon Festival
November 10-12, 2006
Le Puy-en-Velay, France

For more information contact Jean-Marc Guerain
Telephone: 33) 04 71 02 73 18 or 33) 04 71 09 38 41 (Le Puy en Velay Tourist

Small town sports field landing

Balloon makes safe landing
Sarah Fleener, 7 Nov 2006

>From the Pottstown Mercury

POTTSTOWN -- A routine landing for a hot air balloon stirred things up for
athletes on the fields of The Hill School Monday.

The students, usually with their noses to the turf, stopped dead in their
play and lifted their chins to the sky when it became clear the balloon was
going to land near them.

As darkness approached, the pilot of the balloon, Stan Hess, with U.S. Hot
Air Balloon team, said The Hill School was, and has been in the past, the
perfect place to land in the Pottstown area.

"We've landed there at least a dozen times over the years," Hess said.

As it is with hot air balloons, Hess said the breeze took them to the
Pottstown area Monday night, and despite all the structures in the area,
landing at The Hill School athletic fields on such a nice night is "as easy
as taking a walk down the sidewalk."

Hill School security assisted in the scene, making sure the balloon
operators, students and staff were safe during the landing -- and they all

New Special shape for MSN Spain


sat 4 November 2006 - Cameron MSN Buddy for Spain

The lastest new special manufactured at the Cameron factory in Bristol is this MSN Buddy.
Operator of this balloon is Escuela de aeroautas de aerodifusion located in Madrid, Spain.

Registration is G-WLVE.

Small town sports field landing

Balloon makes safe landing
Sarah Fleener, 7 Nov 2006

>From the Pottstown Mercury

POTTSTOWN -- A routine landing for a hot air balloon stirred things up for
athletes on the fields of The Hill School Monday.

The students, usually with their noses to the turf, stopped dead in their
play and lifted their chins to the sky when it became clear the balloon was
going to land near them.

As darkness approached, the pilot of the balloon, Stan Hess, with U.S. Hot
Air Balloon team, said The Hill School was, and has been in the past, the
perfect place to land in the Pottstown area.

"We've landed there at least a dozen times over the years," Hess said.

As it is with hot air balloons, Hess said the breeze took them to the
Pottstown area Monday night, and despite all the structures in the area,
landing at The Hill School athletic fields on such a nice night is "as easy
as taking a walk down the sidewalk."

Hill School security assisted in the scene, making sure the balloon
operators, students and staff were safe during the landing -- and they all

Per Lindstrand York Hi Flyer

>From The York Press

He will not be deflated.....

Balloon idea not a load of hot air
By Mike Laycock

Top balloonist Per Lindstrand says he has not given up on his plans to offer
tourists the view of a lifetime from 400 feet above York.

Mr Lindstrand, who has captured numerous world records for hot air balloon
flights, revealed in November last year that he wanted to launch a tethered,
helium-filled HiFlyer balloon from the city centre.

But almost one year on, he has still not yet lodged a planning application
with City of York Council, despite suggestions in March that one would be
submitted by the middle of summer and that the balloon might be up and
running in time for Christmas.

However, Mr Lindstrand said today that he had been working behind the scenes
over the past year to secure the best place to site the balloon.

"In a sensitive, historic city like York, we need to find the right
location," he said.

He had been in close negotiations with the owner of a particular site, the
location of which he was unable to disclose at this stage.

But he was confident that the site could be unveiled before the end of the
year, and an application submitted to the council.

He said he hoped the balloon could be up, up and away by next Easter, the
start of York's next tourist season.

York's other attraction which gives tourists a bird's eye view of the city -
the Norwich Union Yorkshire Wheel, won permission in January and opened at
the National Railway Museum at Easter, since when it has proved a massive
success with tourists, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Per has insisted previously that the balloon will provide a very different
experience to the wheel, and that the two attractions will complement each
other rather than compete.

He said the balloon would get twice as high as the wheel, and up to 25
people in a secure gondola would be able to look down on York Minster,
Clifford's Tower and all the city's other great sights.

On a clear day, they would also be able to see 25 miles in every direction.

Per, who is managing director of balloon and airship manufacturers
Lindstrand Balloons Ltd, based in Shropshire, told The Press last autumn
that York had been chosen ahead of cities such as Edinburgh to be the first
British city to host a balloon.

At the time, he said: "York is perfect for it."

Similar balloons are operating at some of the world's greatest tourist
sites, including Niagara Falls, Victoria Falls, Pompeii and in Barcelona,
but Britain has only had one so far, which operates in the summer season
only in Bournemouth

Monday, November 06, 2006

The end of an era Weather Balloons deflating.


Tribune Editorial
November 6, 2006
The era of the weather balloon, both a decadesold useful scientific tool and
a convenient out for government officials to explain an unidentified flying
object, may be coming to an end.

The Associated Press reported last week about how a system of sophisticated
sensors attached to passenger airliners may send the balloon the way of the
rotary dial telephone, to oblivion.

Oh, yes: And beyond!

In addition to their applications in helping meteorologists track weather
patterns, these balloons also served as one of government's — and
Hollywood's — great scapegoats. No 1950s science fiction movie about
invaders from other planets was complete without the obligatory "remain
calm, there is no cause for alarm" scene. Some Air Force colonel or general
would assure a gathering of anxious reporters and nervous local residents
that what they saw zipping across the sky was "probably just a weather

Everyone was then told to go home and resume normal lives. Not long after
that, of course, the cinematic space aliens began full-scale attacks.

In real life, weather balloons were used as an explanation for what some
believed was the crash of a UFO outside Roswell, N.M., in July 1947,
according to the Roswell-based International UFO Museum & Research Center's
Web site.

Since the Roswell incident — the recognized dawn of the UFO era — weather
balloons have been a quite plausible explanation for folks who believed they
saw Something from Out There.

The Valley is not exempt from UFOs with official rationales. It seems that
every time local television stations enter a ratings period, at least one of
them retells the story of the March 1997 "lights over Phoenix," with people
quoted saying they believed that the glowing objects they saw flying
overhead weren't from here. The government's earthly explanations of the
time involved military aircraft on a training mission.

As vast as is the universe's array of billions of stars with planets
revolving around them, intelligent life from a habitable world is indeed a
likely mathematical possibility. But that doesn't mean everything that isn't
explainable is therefore a candidate for a close encounter of whatever kind.

It could mean that, if the weather balloon is to be retired, the next time
something strange crosses the sky, the creative folks in our government just
might be called upon to come up with another explanation.

Kept hanging on the line

Balloon on wires

Yahoo questions...question, interesting question.

This might me an interesting one for hot air balloon makers to follow

Open Question: If you could design a hot air balloon...?

and you wanted it to float really well...what would you make it out of that
is scientifically possible?Any materials can be used and cost is not a
factor. It needs to float for a long time. I already know that hot air can
make it float, ...
Yahoo! Answers: Physics -

Friday, November 03, 2006

Hood Blimp Lumberjack competition

September 26th, 2006

My Birthday!! But it was not me, honest. (Remember that if this feed is
still around in just under a year)

Hands up all those that were a the Icicle a few years ago, yes you Mr
Dunnington put your hand up.

I tried to add pictures to this post but for some reason the beta version of
Blogger is not playing ball. So follow the links for images.

Interesting comment on how YouTube (but not the blimp accident) affects us
these days

Over at

inciteful comment at

Oh and the grown ups at CBS4 say

Hood Blimp Crash Lands In Manchester-By-The-Sea

(CBS4) MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA The Hood Blimp, a fixture in the sky over the
Boston area, crash landed in the woods in Manchester-By-The-Sea Tuesday

The pilot, Leigh Bradbury, lost control of the rudder shortly after takeoff,
then tried to land the blimp on nearby Singing Beach just after noon, but he
didn't make it. The blimp ended up on top of several trees about 30 feet
above the ground.

Bradbury was not hurt but it took rescue personnel two hours to free him.
The wooded area was inaccessible to rescue vehicles. Bradbury put on a
harness, which was attached to a rescue rope and rappelled to the ground,
State Police Lt. Dermot Quinn said.

A 12-man team from Beverly Airport is working to deflate the blimp so it can
be removed from the area, which is near the airport and an elementary
school. This process could take a few days.

Michael Kenny, 51, of Peabody, noticed the blimp while in Beverly to get
lunch. The 51-year-old carpenter said he had taken a ride in the same blimp
one month ago.

"It was moving up and down like a whale in the water," as if fighting the
wind, Kenny said. "He was only turning in one direction."

Bradbury was doing "exposure flying" -- or recreational flying -- and was
not on a business run, said Mickey Wittman, director of client services for
Lightship Group of Orlando, Fla., which owns the aircraft. It rents
advertising space to Hood.

Lynne Bohan, a spokeswoman for the dairy food company, said the blimp had
been scheduled to fly above the Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Tuesday

The A-60 Airship was manufactured by American Blimp Corp., the parent
company of Lightship Group, Wittman said.

"Occasionally it happens," he said of blimp accidents. "I've never known
anyone to be hurt."

The Federal Aviation Administration and the Massachusetts Aeronautics
Commission are investigating.

See the pilot talking about it @

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Rob Cole checks out, and I don't mean the girls.

Well am I glad I started this news feed today.

Back in Little Britain, and believe me if you know what that means then you
will surely know what these two must be like....

My old crew man and model glider guider, Rob Cole, has finally checked out.

These fine words from his friend and colleague Neil Willis

"Guess who's doing his Solo right now!!! Yes you got it Rob. He's pulled his
dirty finger out of his ass and done it. He did his check out with Dunkley
yesterday and is currently sh@#ing him self on his own over littlecote!"

So well done Rob. I'm having a drink for you right now.

Beware in the skies of Wiltshire now the two of them are licenced!!

This is exactly the sort of news that I want to feed.

Robs day job is with where he cleans the toilets.

Good on ya mate.

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Students send camera to the edge of Space

>From the BBC

Low-cost space flight for camera
View from 30km above Cambridge (Picture courtesy of Cambridge University)
The flight lasted about three hours, producing more than 800 images
Engineering students from Cambridge University have sent a camera to the
edge of space for less than £1,000.

Carl Morland, Henry Hallam and Robert Fryers attached the tiny camera to a
helium balloon, which flew to nearly four times the height of Everest.

Throughout the flight it took images which show the curvature of the earth.

The students hope Project Nova will allow small rockets to be sent into
space for just several hundred pounds, instead of a six-figure sums.

Mr Morland said: "Once we can take a larger payload stably up to 30km
(18.6m) we will be in a position to launch a rocket from the balloon that
will reach the 100km (62.1m) boundary of space for a tiny fraction of the
present cost.

Three hour flight

"By using a balloon to go as high as possible, a considerably smaller rocket
can be used as there is much less drag due to the thinner air."

The trio followed the balloon's movements from Churchill College in
Cambridge using a special tracking system.

As the balloon rose it expanded and exactly two hours after lift-off, at an
altitude of 32.2km (20m) above sea level, it burst, releasing the camera
which was brought back to earth by parachute.

The flight lasted about three hours, producing more than 800 images.

Project Nova is part of Cambridge University Spaceflight, a student-run
organisation dedicated to space flight development.

Edmonton Balloon Club.

EDMONTON — For every lofty idea that ever gets off the ground, a largely
unseen but much appreciated crew of supporters waits in the wings.

That's certainly the case with the Edmonton Balloon Club.

Despite more than 20 years of membership in the 33-year-old non-profit
group, Rob Esau has only been flying a half-dozen times, and it's not
because he's a well-grounded guy. He is, but more than that, the club's
current president is a selfless lover of all things balloon and likes to be
the wind beneath his pilots' wings as much as he likes to be the passenger
in the basket.

"The chasing part is just as fun," Esau says.

"Many members participate first as ground crew. Once they work six flights,
they get a flight at cost. It's how we reward people."

Not unlike birds, hot air balloons are smooth and majestic in flight, but
clunky and awkward on the ground. The massive canopies that are beloved by
realtors and phone book makers the world over require careful handling
during set up and take down. A rip in what ballooners call the envelope can
mean a $15,000 balloon has to be garbaged, so the more helpful hands, the

Once the fabric is unfolded and connected to the basket, the crew holds
tether ropes that lead to the canopy's crown while the pilot fills the
balloon with air heated by a propane burner.

Once the balloon is full and pre-flight checks are complete, up it goes, and
Esau's favourite part of the flight begins — the chase.

"It's not difficult to keep track of it because the balloon isn't flying
fast," Esau says, and the chase vehicle maintains constant radio contact
with the pilot, who has a bird's eye view of any traffic snarls or road

"If the balloon crosses a river, then the chase crew needs to find the right
bridge in order to keep with it, but they always carry good maps, and map
reading skills are necessary."

Before launch, pilots have a general sense of where they want to land. To
glean more information about how the winds are blowing at different
altitudes, they launch an everyday party balloon filled with helium and
observe its course for 10 minutes or so. Like the little balloon, Esau says
once a hot air balloon launches, it flies at the mercy of the winds and
according to the skill of the pilot, who has the hard task of "reading" the
wind and feeling which wind at which altitude will carry the balloon in the
right direction.

For many pilots, the club is stop No. 1 in pursuing a licence to fly. While
commercial companies do most of the passenger flights in the city, the club
is responsible for training many of the area's new pilots and educating the
general public about ballooning.

"You can learn from any other pilot but many don't want to train others, so
that's where we come in," Esau says.

Would-be pilots can begin working toward certification at age 16, but
becoming certified is costly and time consuming, as each trip requires $40
to $50 worth of propane, the time of a mentoring pilot, fuel for chase
vehicles, balloon rental and other expenses. Candidates must also complete a
ground training course, log nine hours of flight time and pass two exams to
gain Transport Canada's blessing.

The club is acutely aware of what having too few pilots means. This summer
its main pilot was grounded by health problems and the number of flights
dropped drastically. Esau says the club has enlisted another pilot and plans
to fly as much as the weather will allow. While fall's colours are amazing
from up high, winter offers some of the best ballooning because the air is
more stable and gives better lift.

"The balloon can carry more in cold weather because you can get the same
lift using less hot air. But at the same time, it's no fun flying in -20 C.
There's plenty of heat on your head from the burner, but there's nothing on
your toes."

The feeling of sailing on the wind is something that Esau describes well,
but it's clear that it's one of those things that has to be experienced to
be understood.

"It's so quiet and calm up there. The balloon is so smooth and there's no
breeze whatsoever. You can hear dogs barking on the ground," Esau says.

Optimum flying conditions are winds of five to 10 kilometres an hour, no
moisture and stable air masses. If there is no breeze, the balloon will rise
but not travel, but if there is too much wind, set up and take down become
too dangerous to the crew and balloon. It's when the breeze is perfect that
ballooning really hits its height. The balloon moves with the air current,
giving the sensation there is no wind.

Although pilots must fly a minimum of 305 metres above cities and towns,
rural flying allows them to pull out moves like skimming the tops of trees
so passengers can pluck leaves or splash-and-gos, where the basket skims the
surface of lakes and then ascends again.

Once pilots have leaf-grabbing and lake-skimming down pat and are competent
air readers, it's time for them to hit some of the many worldwide ballooning
festivals that test their skills by having them fly new locales and try to
land at specific points. For ground crews, though, the sport is in the
chase, and the uncertainty of where a rig will land is what gives ballooning
its great sense of adventure and excitement.

"The chase crew always tries to obtain permission to land in advance, and we
try not to land near crops or animals," Esau says.

"Most people are great because who wouldn't want to meet a friendly bunch
and share a glass of champagne once the balloon is down?"

As important as the pre-flight check is, so too is the 200-year-old
tradition of lifting a glass to a successful flight. It's all part of
ballooning's allure, Esau says.

"It's really just a great way to socialize."

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Missing Balloon

One of our Balloons is missing.

By Phaedra Haywood Phaedra Haywood | The New Mexican
October 31, 2006

Two helicopters, an airplane and more than a dozen members of state, county
and local agencies joined in a search at Rowe Mesa on Tuesday after a man
reported seeing a hot-air balloon crash about 20 miles southeast of Santa
Fe. But after four hours of looking, no sign of a downed balloon was found.

Juan Bustamante, 58, of Tesuque said he was a passenger in a truck traveling
toward Rowe from Santa Fe on Interstate 25 when he saw what looked like a
deflated hot-air balloon plummeting toward the ground.

"I saw this yellow thing coming down," Bustamante said. "At first, I thought
it was just balloons floating there, but since it was coming down so fast, I
thought, 'This thing has weight on the bottom.' It was coming down between
these two trees. I thought it was a balloon with people in it. It was
completely deflated. It seemed like there was something wrapped around it.
It was twisting and collapsing toward the middle."

"Then I looked up to see if there was an airplane. I know there are drugs
around, and I thought they might be dropping some drugs or something, but
there was no airplanes."

Bustamante snapped two pictures of the object through the windshield of the
truck he was riding in as it moved toward the falling object.

In his photos, the object appears as a tiny dot in the sky. Zooming in on
the image reveals what appears to be a deflating balloon with something that
resembles a gondola hanging from it.

Bustamante and his friend, Henry de Herrera, got off the interstate about
four miles later at Exit 307 and raced up the frontage road in Rowe to where
they thought the balloon would have come down, but found nothing.

Bustamante called 911 at 9:40 a.m., and by 10, the area was filled with
flashing lights and wailing sirens as emergency personnel from Santa Fe and
San Miguel counties converged on the area. Representatives from the New
Mexico Department of Public Safety, state police, the San Miguel County Fire
Marshall, Pecos Valley Medical Ambulance and the Rowe, Ilfeld, Glorieta and
Pecos Canyon fire departments gathered on the frontage road ready to head
for the scene if air searchers found the downed balloon.

San Miguel County Fire Chief Dan Wright, the incident commander, asked Care
Flight, a private emergency medical services provider, to help search the
area with its helicopter. "They are like our eyes in the sky," said Pecos
Valley Ambulance Service employee Jane McSweeney, who said the helicopter
has helped find missing people before in the mountainous rural area.

The Care Flight helicopter searched the area for about half an hour before
being joined by a state police chopper that flew for over an hour before
returning to Santa Fe for more fuel. A state police plane also searched the
area to no avail. After the state police helicopter returned, it flew for
about another hour before giving up the search.

State police spokesman Lt. Rick Anglada said officials called off the search

2 p.m. "Maybe it landed safely and either flew off where the witness
couldn't see them, or they landed, packed it up and left and never knew we
were looking for them," Anglada said.

"But (the pilots) covered every inch of ground out there and didn't see
anything," he said. "The (state police helicopter) pilot said he did a good
search of the area. If it was in the area described, they would have seen it
from the air. A balloon from the air is pretty easy to find even if it falls
in the woods. It drapes over the trees."

Anglada said the airplane flew for 1.7 hours at a cost of $264 per hour, and
the state helicopter flew for a total of three hours at $541 per hour. He
said the pilots earn an average of $23 to $30 per hour. "That's why we can't
just fly and fly and fly," Anglada said.

The search focused mainly on the area at the base of Rowe Mesa between
Glorieta and Rowe, but the aircraft also circled the north side of I-25 near
Pecos and looped around toward the eastern end of Rowe Mesa.

According to a 2003 story in The New Mexican, an unidentified flying object
reported in the same area three years ago turned out to be a helium-filled
research balloon launched by New Mexico State University's Physical Science
Laboratory as part of a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space

But representatives of the school, NASA, Kirtland Air Force Base and the
Federal Aviation Administration all said Tuesday that no balloon launches
were scheduled in the Rowe Mesa area. Public information officer Betty
Flowers said NASA has not launched any research balloons in New Mexico since
Sept. 30.

She said some balloons have been known to stay in the air as long as two
weeks and have circled the globe. But she said it was unlikely the object
Bustamante reported seeing was one of NASA's balloons because they are large
-- about 22 acres worth of material joined by 20 miles of seams -- and
bright white, and could easily be seen from a helicopter if downed.

Flowers also said all NASA balloons are equipped with tracking devices and
followed by chase crews.

Johnny Lewis, owner of Santa Fe Balloons, the city's only commercial hot-air
balloon flight company, said people who aren't familiar with the balloons
often think they are crashing when they are just landing.

"Tons of times, people think it was a crash, but it was a normal landing,"
Lewis said. "(The pilot) might be trying to hike out of there. But I doubt
if they crashed, honestly," he said.

"If it's windy (which Tuesday was), we get some drag, and it looks like a
complete fiasco (from the ground), and it's totally under control," Lewis

"We're trying to figure out who the heck would have flown up there," he
added. "I wouldn't want to fly out there. There are no roads, no access for

Wright said the case is now under the jurisdiction of state police. Anglada
said his agency might search further if someone is reported missing or there
are other leads.

Contact Phaedra Haywood at 986-3004 or

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Balloon Pilot Passes Away

Condolences to the family of Peter Fay

Crash cause unknown, balloon pilot passes away.

Trace Christenson
The Enquirer

Investigators are working to determine the cause of a single-engine plane
crash Thursday in Pennfield Township that killed an Illinois pilot.

Peter Fay, 48, of Mundelein, Ill., a hot-air balloon pilot who has competed
in Battle Creek, died about 2 p.m. when the airplane he was flying smashed
into a field just east of the intersection of M-66 and M-78 about seven
miles northeast of downtown Battle Creek.

The plane crashed about 200 yards behind a house at 23375 M-78. Fay was
alone in the plane and no one else was hurt in the crash.

The single-engine red and white plane hit the ground and flipped over,
breaking in half behind the passenger compartment.

Pennfield Fire Chief Tim Smith said Fay was still strapped in his seat upon
impact. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Robert Demski, an
investigator for the Calhoun County Medical Examiner.

Records from the Federal Aviation Administration show the 1957 Cessna 175
was registered to Fay.

A family friend, Alan Blount of Palos Park, Ill., said Fay had flown the
plane to Saginaw to visit a friend who was ill and to do some bow hunting.
Investigators found a bow in the wreckage.

Fay had spoken to his wife, Laura, about noon Thursday and said he was on
his way home.

Saxton said Fay later had radio contact with the airport tower in Kalamazoo
and reported his wings were icing and he thought he had a field he could
land in.

"The information we received was that he spotted an open field and was going
to attempt to land in it, then he was lost on the radar."

Investigators said they believed the plane was headed northeast when it

Captain Matt Saxton of the Calhoun County Sheriff Department said an autopsy
is scheduled today at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing.

FAA officials were at the scene Thursday and are expected to return today
along with investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board,
Saxton said.

Smith said emergency personnel were notified about 2 p.m. that the plane was
in trouble and disappeared from radar northeast of Battle Creek.

"We got a call that said the plane was having a problem," Smith said. "That
he was having an issue and looking for a field.

"We put out rigs to scour the area," Smith said. "We had probably 12 guys in
four rigs."

Michigan State Police, Calhoun County Sheriff deputies, Battle Creek Police
and crash rescue teams from the Michigan Air National Guard Base at W.K.
Kellogg Airport also began looking for the plane.

Smith said a Pennfield firefighter found the plane about 15 minutes later.
The pilot was dead when the first emergency responders reached the wreckage.

Fay was a retired nuclear engineer who had been working as a plant manager
for a food processing company northwest of Chicago, Blount said.

The two men became friends in the 1980s because of hot air ballooning.

They had flown together many times and, along with Harold Graves, a
Wisconsin pilot, had competed in the Team U.S. Nationals in Battle Creek
starting in the late 1990s.

"He was an intelligent person and just as kind as anyone can possibly be,"
Blount said.

Blount said Fay's relationship with children best described him.

Fay told Blount's daughter, Sarah, an aviation student at Purdue University,
"that any time you need to borrow the airplane to come on up because it
needs exercise."

For the last two years, Blount said, Fay has taken his own daughter and
Sarah Blount to Oshkosh, Wis. for the Experimental Aircraft Association air
show "and they camped under the wing."

Dick Rudlaff, president of the North American Balloon Association, said Fay
had "always been an excellent pilot who used an average balloon but once he
got some new equipment he flew much better."

Rudlaff called Fay "a great, all around guy who had been flying
competitively forever and taken it seriously. He was always concerned about
the sport and wanted to help people and talk to people about it."

"This is just so hard to believe," he said.

Trace Christenson covers crime and courts. He can be reached at 966-0685 or

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Hot Air Balloon Dumped in Wood

Lucky day for balloon owner, from BBC website.

Forestry workers never expected to discover a £6,000 hot-air balloon, complete with four-person basket and burners, dumped in a woodland lay-by.

Forestry Commission Wales manager Richard Gable came across it near Tintern Abbey, Monmouthshire.

Its identity tag was still attached, meaning it could be returned to owner Graham Smith, who lives near Bristol.

"It has to be said, this is the most bizarre thing we've ever found tipped anywhere in the valley," said Mr Gable.

He found the lime-green, blue and pink balloon - which stands 22 metres high - while doing his rounds in the Wye Valley, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The newly-created lay-by used to be a familiar dumping spot for old cars, but this was something entirely different.

Hot air balloons
Mr Smith said he feared the thieves had set the balloon alight

The owner, Graham Smith, of Thornbury, was delighted to see the balloon again.

"It was stolen with its trailer from outside my house in September," he said.

"I was devastated. Ballooning really is my life, my being.

"I've had the balloon since 1989 and looked after it with a lot of love and care for all those years.

"Having it stolen was simply dreadful.

"Honestly, I never thought I'd see it again - I knew it was stolen because of the trailer, so when they found the balloon inside I thought they'd probably set it alight."

UAE balloon team observes death anniversary of Zayed

By Mohammad Shamseddine, Staff Reporter
Abu Dhabi: The UAE balloon team commemorated the second death anniversary of Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
The team performed at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi in memory of Shaikh Zayed.
The team will take part in the 17th World Balloon Championship being held in Japan this month, under the motto 'The World Will Not Forget Zayed'.
Flight Captain Abdul Aziz Naser, head of the UAE balloon team, said: "The UAE team previously participated in festivals in Switzerland, Australia, Italy, South Africa, England, Poland and Russia."
The team is backed by General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.


Don Cameron is ill

From the Cameron Balloons Website

Don Cameron, who founded Cameron Balloons Ltd 35 years ago and who has been a balloon pilot for 40 years, has been diagnosed with cancer. The tumour, which was in his mouth, was removed in a successful operation but he now faces some months of chemo therapy.
Being a typical Scotsman Don doesn't want people to make a big fuss about the problem or spend money on flowers, fruit or cards. However, if ballooning friends want to send him a "cheery" message the most appropriate e-mail address is - the one he set up to receive customer complaints! It's never received much mail, so now we can put it to some use.
During Don’s absence from work Alan Noble will be acting Managing Director of Cameron Balloons Ltd.

Big pants to fill..

24th February 2006
When Mitch Dowd, an underwear and nightwear manufacturer wanted to show their support for the Australian team in the upcoming Commonwealth Games they contracted Kavanagh Balloons to design and manufacture probably the world's largest pair of boxer shorts.
Measuring 12 meters wide by 10 meters high, the giant undies were then strung between two Kavanagh D-77 balloons and flown across the city of Melbourne by Sean Kavanagh and Paul Gibbs.
Picture This Ballooning managed and coordinated the stunt which also included the "Love" balloon full of VIP passengers and a helicopter loaded with media and cameras.
"While not an incredibly difficult stunt to do, the challenge of flying Melbourne can be enough in a normal balloon, being tied to another certainly added to the concentration required. It was great fun!" said Sean.