Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Zeppelin Experience Tours

I am miffed that I will not be in Blighty for this I'm sure it will be

On a separate note I am getting pretty annoyed with Blogger, this entry is
coming via email and the trouble is it reformats it dreadfully and I can't
add images.

Very unlike Google to allow a product to have so many holes in it.

Dates: Monday 7th - Wednesday 9th May 2007

Depart from Stansted Airport on a direct flight to Friedrichshafen on the
morning of Monday 7th May (a UK Bank Holiday).

While in Friedrichshafen we will stay at the Graf Zeppelin Hotel for two
nights (Monday and Tuesday), and then return to Stansted on the Wednesday
evening. (Tour members have the option of making their own travel plans or
extending their stay as they wish.)

Now the exciting bits. During our time in Friedrichshafen the itinerary will

A one-hour Zeppelin flight over Friedrichshafen and Lake Constance (the
Bodensee). Plus an exclusive guided tour of the Zeppelin hangar and a talk
by a member of Zeppelin's technical team. This will provide a fantastic
opportunity to see the progress of NT No.4 which will be under construction
during 2007.

The Zepp flight itself will be on a 'rolling' booking over the three days to
provide the maximum opportunity to fly should the weather be a factor. (In
the unlikely event that the flight can't take place at all then flight fees
will not be charged although all other events will still take place.)

Other activities during our stay:

Guided tour of the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen including a special
talk by an airship expert, together with a meal in the Museum's excellent
restaurant overlooking the lake.

A trip to the Zeppelin Museum and the Dornier Museum in the nearby town of
Meersburg, and possibly a visit to Zeppelin's house in Constance.

We will also organise evening meals on the Monday and Tuesday, possibly
incorporating a boat trip on the Lake, and of course some free-time to
explore Friedrichshafen itself.

Costs are being negotiated right now and accordingly we need to start
confirming numbers, so if you want to join us on this very special inaugural
trip then please contact us now.

Further tours are also being planned later in the year.

John and Ute Christopher

Airship Initiatives - putting airships to work

jcairships@talktalk .net

Tel/fax +44 (0)1453 843909

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A couple of blog entries that made me chuckle...

I doubt if the ding was big but I like the story, I also like that fact that
Google will now serve up disaster ads because I have posted this.

5) I was once in a hot air balloon accident, when we crashed into a
mobile-home complex in New Hampshire at about 6am. All these crazy people in
their underwear came running out to see what was going on, including some
big fat guy in his tighty-whities who kept trying to pick me up off the
ground to see if I was hurt and I kept yelling "Please don't touch me! Don't
touch me!" And he thought it was because I was hurt but really it was just
because I didn't want some fat guy in just his tighty-whities touching me.

Thats from

And then its time to relax

Reduce Tension By Thinking Tall And Loose January 30, 2007

For the past few days I've been noticing a bit of tension in my jaw. I don't
think the tension is new. Rather, I think the awareness of the tension is

For much (most) of my life, I have carried tension in that area – jaw, neck,
and shoulders. In the past, I would not become aware of the tension until it
became acute and painful. Now, as I continue to deepen my awareness of my
inner state – thoughts, feelings, beliefs – I find that my awareness of the
state of my body is naturally heightened and I am noticing the tension in
the early stages.

So noticing this tension is not a bad thing. If you want to change something
you must be aware of it first.

I find it interesting though not surprising that this awareness has
blossomed after reading the post Look Like A Million Dollars on Noel
Kingsley's blog.

Noel writes:

In order to maintain your proper slim shape, you should free your
neck and 'send' your head upwards. Do this by thinking only. Also think of
your back lengthening. Your body is very springy and it's more than likely
that your full height is taller than you normally experience. The important
thing is that you don't make physical effort to achieve this as you will
only get stiff. Think loose and tall as often as you can. You are tapping
into the natural instinct you have for good poise that you've had from

It's impossible for me to "think loose and tall" and continue to carry the
tension in my jaw. I've been practicing this technique whenever I catch
myself holding some tension in that area. I'll stop and breath into my jaw,
neck and shoulders. I'll pull my head back slightly so that it is resting
comfortably above my shoulders and I'll imagine my head being gently pulled
upwards like a hot air balloon tugging on its tethers.

This technique is especially helpful to me when I am sitting at my desk for
a long stretch. I'll catch myself beginning to hunch forward and compress
down towards my keyboard. Remembering to think loose and tall helps restore
a more supportive posture.

So if you want to feel more relaxed, reduce tension and maybe even gain a
bit of height, remember to think loose and tall.

* Posted in : Well-Being , Healing , Physical Body
* Author : Edward Mills

The chaps trying for 1 million unique visitors by June 2007 so the 4 of you
that visit here, do him a favour and pop by!!


Monday, January 29, 2007

Sydney Sky Orchestra

Sean Kavannagh has some fantastic images of the Sky Orchestra over on his
blog at

It really looked quite spectacular.

I wish I could easily add pictures to my blogger site, it's a real pain and
never seems to work properly for me. Sean must be a choosen one.

Chateau d'Oex draws 25k spectators on Sunday

Well it must be pretty..

24 Heures, Fre and Chateau d'Oex tourism, Fre - The Chateau d'Oex hot air
balloon festival, a popular annual event, had perfect weather Sunday, with
25,000 spectators - half of all visitors during the nine-day festival.
Weather hampered the event early in the week but Friday and Saturday some 90
balloons lifted off each day. Nocturnal ballooning Friday night, with a
light show and music, pulled in a crowd of 10,000. The event drew 147 pilots
from 27 countries, including a group of Russians who drove 8,000 km to

Visit flyingB's Flickr photos of the event and notice the small child
hanging off a tilting basket, who was the safety officer ;-)

Hot Air 2 yes the new version of the game is on its way

Annal and his team behind Nitrome are working hard on completing their
latest game, Hot Air 2, the first sequel Nitrome have done that should be
released soon. In the meantime, Mat was kind enough to answer a few
questions and reveal some information about the development of the game.

FreeGamesNews: When did you come up with the idea of developing a sequel to
Hot Air and why? Hot Air 2

Mat: We wanted to wait a while before doing a sequel to any of our games as
we feel they will feel fresher that way. We also didn't just want to make a
sequel be just the same as the original…we wanted to add features that would
make it a superior game.

We also took onboard a lot of fan comments about the original which has led
to an easier difficulty from the start and the map screen being included.

More information here

Gas Balloon Record

Now here is something I could really get into.

It must be absolutly fantastic in complete silence.

Record-breaking balloon flight attempted from Lake Elsinore

By: Cathy Redfern - For The Californian

LAKE ELSINORE ---- In what started as a wager between college buddies 10
years ago, two men Sunday launched a helium-powered balloon from Lake
Elsinore toward North Carolina, seeking to break an international record for
the longest such flight.

Pilots Andy Cayton, 51, of Savannah, Ga., and Samuel Canders, 29, of
Washburn, Maine, took off in the late afternoon from the Lake Elsinore Sky
Dive at Skylark Airport, chasing the record with a crucial cross-country
weather forecast that looked cold, but fair and dry.

They plan to be in the air for 60 hours and to cover some 2,300 miles,
Cayton said, adding that icing will be the biggest challenge since any
significant moisture will ground them.

The men plan to fly at altitudes of 10,000 feet to 18,000 feet, in
temperatures well below freezing. The white balloon, owned by Cayton and a
partner, is the standard size for racing gas balloons, but is smaller than
the more commonly seen hot air balloons, said Jim Bilbrey of Adventure
Flights, who hosted the flight.

Canders and Cayton are out to best the 2,134-mile record set in 2005 by a
team from Belgium, Bilbrey said.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration representative on hand
Sunday, the military-trained pilots have a good chance.

"Very few go after records," said Troy Bradley of Albuquerque, who works
part-time for the FAA. "Andy is very meticulous and persistent."

The men chose Lake Elsinore for its weather and geography, said Cayton, a
veteran balloon pilot. He was trained by Bilbrey 10 years ago when he came
to California to get his gas balloon license after retiring from the Army.

But it was the youngster Canders who made a wager while in college that he
would fly coast-to-coast in a balloon by the time he was 30 or submit to a
tattoo artist, Canders said. He said he turns 30 in March.

The two pilots met just last month, but Canders said he guessed they would
"get acquainted pretty quick" in the 6-foot-by-4-foot basket, in which they
will be accompanied by their camping gear, a radio and lots of warm clothes.

Canders' enthusiasm was infectious as he talked about the flight, though he
joked that he might be better off just getting the tattoo.

"I'm excited," he said. "I can't wait."

Both pilots have piloted just about everything, but Canders has not flown
balloons much and calls himself "just ballast" on this flight. But he is
also the sponsor of the flight. Organizers said the helium alone costs about

He called this flight "Andy's show." Cayton last year captured the national
title in the major race for gas balloons and is planning to go after the
international prize this fall.

Cayton said he has been flying gas balloons for four years. He said piloting
the balloon is "a real physics test." As much as 1,000 pounds of sand
ballast might be pitched from the basket to control the balloon's flight
pattern, while a valve is used to let out the helium.

As for the competition, he likened it to golf.

"You are really out competing against yourself more than anything," he said.

There are about 180 potential records for balloon flying, said the FAA's
Bradley, and they are getting broken more frequently due to technological

He said the two were lucky to get out Sunday, the planned day, for their
"camping trip in the air," as some wait months for favorable weather.
Sunday's trip was postponed from dawn to dusk, the times favored for
launching because of the calmer winds.

The balloon was made by Bert Padelt of Allentown, Penn., who was also on
hand for the launch, as were Cayton's friends Barbara Fricke and Peter Cuneo
of Albuquerque. All pointed to the importance of forecasting help from Day
Weather of Wyoming.

The pilots, after hours of inflating and preparation, said in general they
like gas balloons because they can travel much farther and are much quieter
than hot-air balloons.

Slowing from his packing and talk of patches and glue and
industrial-strength Saran wrap, Cayton paused, remembering past trips.

"It's the quiet," he said. "You can hear the coyotes from 18,000 feet."

To track the men's progress online, visit For
information on the international gas balloon world, visit

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Melbourne might loose its balloons

Close to me old heart this one.

I flew in Melbourne when Balloon Sunrise belonged to Chris Dewhirst, that
was a couple of owners ago. Ambush marketing is always a touchy subject and
is even rearing its head for the 2010 world cup here in South Africa.
Already areas of cities are being zoned as exclusion zones for non event
sponsors. The zones are pretty big, tough luck if your Kentucy is within the
zone, all external branding will have to be covered because Mc D is an
official sponsor, I don't know that its just an example. I understand even
signage to bank ATM's will have to change so if your a visitor to South
Africa and need help finding your brand near a stadium tough!!

Perhaps the people at major sporting events should do more for the brands
supporting them. Go for it ambush marketers I say ;-)

Peter Ker, State Political Reporter
January 29, 2007

Fears that new ambush marketing legislation could affect Victoria's tourism
industry have prompted an investigation from the state's top tourism body.

Companies operating hot air balloon rides over Melbourne are eagerly
awaiting the State Government's next move on the legislation, amid concerns
balloonists could breach laws — that will focus on aerial advertising — if
they continue to fly balloons with corporate branding.

Aerial advertising bans were trialled during last year's Commonwealth Games,
but the Government was prompted into action after a big airship branded with
Holden logos flew over major events, including the AFL grand final.

The airship attracted the ire of sports authorities such as the AFL and
Cricket Australia, and infuriated rival companies who had paid large sums
for the official sponsorship rights.

The Age believes that Tourism Victoria marketing director Don Richter has
consulted tourism industry members ahead of Parliament resuming in February.
In a communique to officials in the Department of Sport and Recreation, Mr
Richter has advised the Government to consider exemptions from the imminent
laws, particularly during the morning, when most balloon companies operate.

Peter Gill, general manager of Balloon Sunrise, said his company would
struggle to break even without corporate branding on balloons, and urged the
Government to consider exemptions for tourism operators. "Legislation should
exclude hot air balloons that have fare-paying passengers," he said. "We are
not ambush marketing; we are going for a hot air balloon flight … We don't
interfere with any major event in Melbourne."

He said legislation should also take into account that most companies fly
across the city about dawn — hours before most sports and cultural events

He said buying new equipment without corporate branding was beyond most
Melbourne companies, with balloons costing about $70,000 each.

Stacy Hume, a spokeswoman for Sports Minister James Merlino, said
stakeholders would be considered. "Legislation will be introduced in 2007 to
protect selected major events from ambush marketing, this is currently being
developed," she said.

Friday, January 26, 2007

More Blue Peter style action

I would have thought this would have been a good thing to perfect whilst st in an office today.

For this make you will need

Hot Air Balloon

DESCRIPTION: An indoor hot air balloon made out of a plastic film dry cleaner bag. CONTRIBUTED BY: Gregory Vogt (OSU)
EDITED BY: Roger Storm, NASA Glenn Research Center


Dry cleaner plastic film bags (select a bag with the thinnest possible plastic and have several on hand. You may have to experiment with bags of different thicknesses.)
Several small paper clips
Cellophane tape
Heat source (Blow dryer, sterno, backpacker camp stove, etc.)
Three feet of aluminum heat duct (if using open flame heat source)
Electric drill (to put holes in the heat duct)

The complete instructions here

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Chateau d'Oex bankrupt??

Chateau d'Oex's big balloon event having a bumpy financial ride

January 25, 2007 - 10:36 posted by Ellen Wallace

24 heures, Fre - Chateau d'Oex's famous week-long ballooning event could be on the verge of bankruptcy, if rumours are to be believed, The chairman of the organization behind it, Sky Event, admits that 2006 was a bad year and could well show a deficit. According to Scherrer, the accounts are not yet completed, but poor weather in 2006 left the event financially weakened.

Meanwhile, today is expected to be a good weather day at the hot air balloon event, which runs this week and is traditionally one of the biggest tourist attractions in the region at the end of January.

Sole of Africa Hot Air Balloon Festival

Well I'm going to pip them to the post.

We have not really decided on the name of the balloon festival but its the working title.

The Sole of Africa Hot Air Balloon Festival 20-22 April 2007 Nottingham Road Natal Midlands

With a very slippey program

Thursday 19th Press Flight from Pietermaritzberg

Friday 20th AM PM free flight

Sat 21st AM free flight PM Glow

Sun 22nd AM free flight

Thats is all very much subject to change.

Watch this space

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Chateau D'Oex oh how we all wish...

With thanks to Julian Hensey for this link

I think there are many of us very jealous not to be in Switzerland this week, looks fabulous.

There are some very dodgy videos about as soon as I see a decent one I'll post it.

Monday, January 22, 2007

South African Hot Air Balloon Meet.

It really seems that our meet, held in conjunction with, The Sole of Africa campaign is coming together.

If you would like to attend with your balloon then please let me know. Passenger rides over the Midlands Meander will also be available.

20th - 22nd April 2006 Nottingham Road, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.

Not really pinned down the title yet though!!

Find me at balloonzn(at)

Western region members will recieve absolutly no preferential treatment at all honest ;-)

San Martin,slighty darker.

No one hurt as hot-air balloon forced into emergency landing

By Leslie Griffy
Mercury News

A low-flying hot air balloon made an emergency landing Sunday, after it ran into power lines in San Martin, Santa Clara County Sheriff's Sgt. Ed Wise said.

Neither the two passengers nor the pilot were injured, Wise said, when around 8:25 a.m. part of the ballon's skirt was burned after it glided into a power line near Mammini Court, just north of San Martin Avenue.

Wise said a mistake by the pilot caused the ballon to hit the power line. The Federal Aviation Administration was told about the emergency landing.

Its a dogs life.... Balloonists' tip leads to seizure of 36 pit bulls in Union County

Jan 22, 2007 : 7:45 am ET

MONROE, N.C. -- Police were tipped by a couple in a hot-air balloon about a
large number of dogs at a Union County home, leading to the seizure of 36
pit bulls in one of the county's largest dog-related cases.

The dogs were taken last week at the house in Indian Trail, said county
sheriff's Lt. Michelle Starnes. The dogs probably will be euthanized,
Starnes said.

The dog owner is Stanley Max Plowman Jr., 26, who said he boards, breeds and
sells pit bulls. The case still is being investigated and no charges have
been filed.

Vitaene C

I am guessing that this is a cold air inflatable unless anyone knows

They seem to be going mad for balloons in the Gulf, I understand a new
passenger ride operation is due to start up in Oman shortly as well...

Vitaene C brand awareness – is it all hot air?

By staff reporter

22/01/2007 - As marketing strategies for health drinks go, they don't get
much bigger than NTDE's plan to enter the Guinness book of records with an
8-storey balloon in the shape of a Vitaene C drink bottle.

National Trading and Development Establishment (NTDA), a distributor in the
United Arab Emirates, is making sure that the brand is hard to ignore – not
only by anyone in the wide vicinity of the Record Breaking Festival in Al
Safa Park next week, where the balloon will be inflated, but also by world
record followers around the globe.

Vitaene C
<javascript:KeywordSearch('KEYWORDS=Vitaene+C&period=all&inner=1');> is a
product from Japanese drinks maker Pokka that contains vitamin C, B2, B3 and
niacin, and is said to have built up considerable brand recognition in the
local UAE market since its introduction in 1998.

"We wanted to create something that would give recognition to Vitaene C and
subscribe to the brand values of powering the healthy growth," said company
representative Hussain Zubaidee.

"The marketing
campaign which was executed in 2006 was targeted specifically to the
health-conscious individual who is looking for a fizzy boost. This year we
wanted to make a big deal on the merits of the drink – hence we thought big,
with the largest inflatable balloon in the world."

The balloon weighs in at 500kg of flame retardant material but will be up to
six-times its own weight when filled. Its volume is estimated to the
three-times that of the previous record winner – the Power Rangers Lost
Galaxy balloon launched by Fox Family Worldwide in 1999 with a volume of
1044.8 cubic metres.

Installation calls for the expertise of a team of 14 specialists from the UK
and India, including a project leader and technical engineers.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Love this video of a homemade fire balloon.

If you've never made oe of these rus out and try it.

Very cool, when I flew in Thailand the locals would often let them off in our honour.

Big events often had thousands of the things lifting into the sky.

Walking to the Pole and then a balloon record...

Somebody following HA's antics.

UK team who have made history by reaching the centre of Antarctica without
mechanical assistance have spoken of their epic journey. Henry Cookson, Rory
Sweet and Rupert Longsdon used only skis and kites to travel 1,093 miles
(1,750km) to the Pole of Inaccessibility.

Mr Cookson told of the moment when they saw their goal.... "We were on the
verge of collapse, but we just looked at each other and started laughing,"
he said.

The Pole of Inaccessibility is marked by a life-size bust of Lenin, left by
a Russian team who reached the pole using vehicles in 1958.

"We saw this black dot on the horizon. It got larger, then we saw this
silhouette of the statue. It was so surreal after travelling across 1,750km
of flat Antarctic plateau," said Mr Cookson. He said the team, accompanied
by Canadian guide Paul Landry, had experienced "serious lows and highs"
throughout their journey.

"We had three or four days without a breath of wind. Our bodies seemed to
relax. When we started again, the pain was mind-numbing," he said.

He added that the team helped each other by keeping at the same pace and
helping each other with equipment problems and sharing out loads when one
person was finding it too tough.

The challenge was completed to raise money for The Calvert Trust
<> , which provides adventure opportunities
for disabled people.

The team - who call themselves N2i - hope to raise £150,000 towards a sports

They pitched their tent 30ft from Lenin's gaze and will spend the coming
days preparing for their pick-up.

Henry Cookson, 31, from West Kensington in London, Mr Sweet, 39, from South
Cerney, and Mr Longsdon, 34, from Coates, both in Gloucestershire, expect to
return to the UK on 7 February.

While they are waiting to be collected, Mr Cookson said the team intended to
dig below the Lenin statue to try to find the hut it is said to stand on top

"In the base there is said to be a golden book, which we will sign if we can
get to it," said Mr Cookson.

As for the future, Mr Cookson said newly-married Mr Longsdon intends to
spend some time with his wife and Mr Sweet is hoping to break the hot air
balloon altitude record.

"I just want to get home safely and in one piece, then I'll see what else is
tempting. There are some fantastic possibilities,"

Friday, January 19, 2007

Hempleman Adams-I had better eat humble pie

Nobody told me it was an Ax5

By Sue Ryan
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 14/01/2007

The British explorer David Hempleman-Adams has broken the world altitude
record in a hot air balloon.

Record-breaking hot air balloon
David Hempleman-Adams reached an altitude of 32,500ft

Mr Hempleman-Adams endured temperatures of minus 60C to fly his balloon to
32,500ft (6 .1 miles) – just above the cruising height of a jumbo jet – and
smash a record that had stood for more than 27 years.

An airline pilot flying below the 50-year-old adventurer radioed him to say:
"Only a mad Englishman would do that in an open basket."

It was his fourth attempt to break the record set by Carol Davis, an
American, who flew at 31,299ft in 1979.

Under aviation rules, altitude records have to exceeded by three per cent.
The sealed black box was taken away for ratification by an official
observer. The result is expected to be confirmed in the next four weeks.

The balloon, with the explorer in a 3ft by 4ft basket and wearing a
parachute, was launched from a sheltered site near Red Deer, Alberta, at
5.20pm British time on Friday. He landed just under two hours later at

At one point in the flight, his equipment started to freeze and the burner
went out. Despite wearing an oxygen mask, the explorer also suffered slight
hypoxia (dizziness through lack of oxygen).

The descent provided the greatest challenge. When Mr Hempleman-Adams reached
32,500ft, he discovered that he only had five per cent of his fuel left,
forcing him to descend at 1,500ft a minute.

"It was pretty hairy," he said yesterday. "Doing it at that speed made the
balloon very unstable and it was rotating and shaking the whole way down. It
was such a hard landing, I think I must be two inches shorter." It could,
however, have been far worse – he landed near the only lake and power cables
in the area but managed to miss both.

Graphic showing how high the balloon reached

Estimating the exact amount of fuel is crucial and has been blamed for the
failure of Mr Hempleman-Adams's three previous attempts. Too much and the
balloon is too heavy, too little and the flight has to be aborted.

His latest record has been the most hard-fought. It took three expeditions
to get to the North Pole, three to cross the Atlantic in a balloon and two
to take one particular route to the geomagnetic North Pole.

On the last, he did not even tell his wife, Claire. "So that's where Dad has
been," she told their three daughters when she heard about his achievement
while shopping.

"That one was extreme," he said. "I knew how tough it was, and I have never
sat down and talked about the risks with those close to me."

He was appointed Lieutenant of the Victorian Order in the latest New Year's
honours list for his work for the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. He raised
£2 million, with £5 million more pledged over the next five years.

In 1998, he became the first man to do "the adventurers' grand slam" – the
highest mountain on each of seven continents plus the four geographic and
magnetic poles. He achieved his latest record in the AX-05 category of
hot-air balloons. The AX-05 group represents balloons with a capacity of
900-1,200 cubic metres of air.

Chat now on this blog....

If you scroll right to the bottom of the page you will now find a chat window!

When I'm online updating this I'll let it be known.

We could then chat in a dull way about ballooning!!

700 flies in France, Zeppelins attack London... on this day.

More from Cut and Paste Aviation.

1915 - The first Zeppelins used in German bombing raids on Britain attacked Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn, and Britain suffers its first casualties from an air attack.
Germany employed three zeppelins, the L.3, the L.4, and the L.6, in a two-day bombing mission against Britain. The L.6 turned back after encountering mechanical problems, but the other two zeppelins succeeded in dropping their bombs on English coastal towns.
1784 - The largest hot-air balloon ever made, by the Montgolfier brothers, makes an ascent at Lyons, France.
Called Le Flesselle in honor of the Governor of Lyons who had sponsored the project, the balloon was 131 feet high and 104 feet in diameter with a capacity of more than 700,000 cubic feet. The ascent was watched by over 100,000 people. The balloon reached a height of 3000 feet before a combination of unfavourable winter conditions, and a failure of the balloon's fabric at a point of previous damage meant that the balloon only reached a height of 3000 feet before making a somewhat rapid descent back to earth, which left the seven aeronauts shaken but unhurt.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Brilliant Blue Peter moment

Stuck for a reliable altimeter??

Need a modern way of following weather trends.

Then look no more, the web can show you how to make just the thing!!!

It does exactly what it says on the tin ;-)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

South African Balloon Meet

Might just have some news of my own.

Have been in discussion today with

The Sole of Africa

And we are considering having a balloon meet, 20th April to the 22nd now thats the weekend before the South African championships in Bethlehem, 25th April-1st May.

Not sure what will come of all the talk but watch this space.


More tributes to Christopher Williams

(WEDNESDAY JANUARY 17) A HOT air balloon enthusiast from Marsworth who was
killed in a sledging accident in Italy was described by his closest friends
last night (Tuesday) as a hard- working guy who would do anything for
Christopher Williams, 45, known as Rick, was travelling down a ski run in
the Alps when the sledge he was in collided with a hard object, reported to
be a snowmobile at 50 miles per hour.
Mr Williams, a tree surgeon by profession, died at the scene near San
Candido, Italy, where he had been on his third visit to an annual balloon
Robin Batchelor, 58, had known Mr Williams for 15 years as he was a hot air
balloon pilot and Mr Williams was a crew member on his balloon. The pair
would often travel all round the world together for different events.
Mr Batchelor, said: "Rick always had plenty of irons in the fire and he
could turn his hand to all sorts of things.
"He was a very hard working guy, you can sometimes have to work some
anti-social hours in the ballooning world but he would always agree to take
part in any scheme I dreamed up."
"As a pilot you need crew members who can read a map, steer all day and
night, collect propane and Rick was extremely useful because he was so
versatile," he said.

Mr Williams travelled to many different places in the world to go ballooning
including Europe and South America and helped crew the balloon that was used
in the feature film Enduring Love and also worked on the set of the James
Bond film The World Is Not Enough.
Mr Williams, who lived in Long Marston near Tring for a number of years, was
a member of the Tring Choral Society, regularly appeared in the village
pantomime, was involved with the horticultural society and also did some
work for the parish council.
Simon Askey, 33, who was best friends with Mr Williams said: "He was very
charismatic. He could charm the birds from the trees. He was a very well
liked chap and always had a way of making people smile.
"Not a lot scared Rick but he knew his limits and would only ever take
calculated risks. He managed to pack more into his 45 years than three
people fit into their whole life."
17 January 2007

Little bit late...

From the snappily named WDBJ7 does this mean that theres a 3,4,5 ??

Heres Endeavor Ballooning who they flew with..

After three days of botched attempts due to the wacky weather we've been having, we finally got a special hot air balloon ride underway. We launched from a small farm in Botetourt Co. On this trip, me, my wife Vicky, Colin Graham (the balloon pilot) and Santa. That's right. Yours truly got to ride alongside Olde Saint Nick. While the basket was a bit cramped, I had plenty of chances to ask him for some great holiday gifts. We couldn't have had better weather. Calm winds up to about 500ft, then the winds came in from the west at about 25mph. We went up to about 1,000ft and traveled across several communities with Santa waving at all the boys, girls and animals who came out to see the giant balloon in the sky. The trip lasted about an hour. For someone who isn't the biggest fan of heights, I was never uneasy in the basket. It's such a smooth ride. I've put a link to Endeavor Ballooning next to this blog in case you ever want to take a flight. Hope all of you have the happiest of holidays and thanks for watching WDBJ and MyNetwork TV. I'll see you the day after Christmas! Vacation is calling...

P.S.: Santa told me you'll get that special gift you've been asking for.


Well done Pauline

AN Irishwoman has survived a terrifying balloon flight to set a new world record.

Pauline Baker (40), above, who received her pilot's licence only three years ago, completed a 22km balloon flight between northern Italy and Austria, beating the previous female world record of 18km.

During the flight, the property consultant, from Trim, Co Meath, was showered with burning fabric particles when her burner flame went sideways rather than upwards. She also had to cope with a rapid descent due to poor weather conditions, but managed to land safely with minor bruising on a slope near the village of Sillian in Austria.

"The world records are not easy to beat. I burnt a lot of panels in the balloon and got severe turbulence," said Pauline.

Since arriving in Northern Italy on January 4, she has also broken two other world records. She stayed in the air for three hours 36 minutes during a flight on January 7, which broke the previous record of two hours 40 mins.

Her custom-made balloons, sponsored by Sean's Bar in Athlone, do not have the traditional aviator's basket due to the need to keep the weight down. Instead there is an aluminium frame which leaves her hanging below the balloon on the hazardous flights.

Pauline already holds two world records from last year and is now aiming to break a further five world records before she returns to Ireland on January 30. This would establish her as the best female hot air balloon pilot in the world.


Vacation Plans

Heres an idea

Vacation Bible School 2007 - Lift Off!

Viral Videos - Jan 16 '07 at 10:34 AM, 46 views Soaring to New Heights with God. Cokesbury's 2007 VBS offering provides children with a flight plan for a lifetime. Based around Psalm 143:8b, it provides children a biblically-based curriculum complete with fun activities, crafts, decorating, music, and media.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


They reckon there different! Sounds like a fun place to balloon.

Holidaymakers travelling to Geneva this spring might want to check out the Geneva Hot Air Balloon Fiesta between March 23rd and 25th.

This spectacular event, also known as Montgolfiades, sees eager crowds gaze upon dozens of colourful hot air balloons as they take to the skies above Geneva.

Visitors to the Swiss capital will be able to wander around the city and take in the city's numerous attractions against a backdrop of more than 30 massive balloons hovering high above.

This year's event is set to be extra special as for the first time all of the balloons will take off from various spots around the city at the same time, making for a truly jaw-dropping sight.

Travellers should make the most of these three days, as the event only takes place once every two years.

However, visitors who find themselves developing a passion for the balloons can make their way to similar events across Europe all year round, with some of the biggest taking place in Chateau-d'Oex, Switzerland and Rocamadour in France.

For more information, take a look at the Geneva Tourism website.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Lots more people flying Camerons....

This also lifted from the Camerons website.

50+ orders in two months

November and December have seen orders for more than 50 balloons pour into Cameron's Bristol Sales Office. "Winter is traditionally a quiet time for balloon manufacturers, but the end of 2006 has proved the exception to the rule so far as we have been concerned." Says Nick Purvis, Sales Director. "Enquiry levels are still high and we are looking forward to a busy start to 2007."

Better News on Don Cameron

This from the Camerons web site

Don Cameron, founder of Cameron Balloons Ltd 35 years ago and a balloon pilot for 40 years, has been diagnosed with cancer. A tumour in his mouth was removed in a successful operation but he now faces some months of chemo therapy.

Don says: " The facts are that my cancer is less frightening than first feared. It has been diagnosed as Hodgkins' Lymphoma which, although something we would all rather be without, is very much better to have than the other possibilities that were suspected. I am told that this responds very well to chemotherapy and the consultant has said he thinks there is an 80% chance of eradicating it completely. Although that is still more dangerous than Russian Roulette, it is better than I had feared. Failing complete eradication, it can be controlled for a long time. For the immediate future, I will have four months of discomfort and be able to work only some days, but after that it should be OK in the medium term at least.

That Lindstrand bloke again.

Its not because I fly one of his balloons down here in South Africa, I've got one from that nice Mr Cameron as well but himself and Richard B did this too many years ago to think about seems like yesterday. Was this one the one that started right at the beginning of the first Gulf War? Think it stole their thunder a bit??

15th January 1991 - First Hot Air Balloon to Cross the Pacific.
Per Lindstrand and Richard Branson become the first to traverse the Pacific by hot air balloon, reaching speeds in the jet stream of up to 245 mph, in their Otsuka Flyer, which travels 6,700 miles in 46 hours. They fly from Japan to Arctic Canada and break the world distance record.
From the very interesting and appropriately title, Cut and Paste Aviation, bit like this blog really.

Balloon or UFO

Of course its a UFO...

The Hot Chicago Bears NFL team seems to have attracted some intergalactic fans.
From the " Chicago Tribune"-

A flying saucerlike object hovered low over O'Hare International Airport for several minutes before bolting through thick clouds with such intense energy that it left an eerie hole in overcast skies, said some United Airlines employees who observed the phenomenon.

Was it an alien spaceship? A weather balloon lost in the airspace over the world's second-busiest airport? A top-secret military craft? Or simply a reflection from lights that played a trick on the eyes?Officials at United professed no knowledge of the Nov. 7 event--which was reported to the airline by as many as a dozen of its own workers--when the Tribune started asking questions recently.

But the Federal Aviation Administration said its air traffic control tower at O'Hare did receive a call from a United supervisor asking if controllers had spotted a mysterious elliptical-shaped craft sitting motionless over Concourse C of the United terminal.

No controllers saw the object, and a preliminary check of radar found nothing out of the ordinary, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said.The FAA is not conducting a further investigation, Cory said. The theory is the sighting was caused by a "weather phenomenon," she said.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sky Orchestra Sydney

Have yet to take part in one of these, they seem very cool.

Good example of not trying to do a piece to camera near running inflation fans ;-)

I can't embed the video so you'll have to look here.

Were you there Sean?

Is this old Hempleman-Adams news??

Is this really all the open basket record was?? Lev David and I flew to 9245 metres a couple of years ago and I'm sure others have much been higher in a basket. It does not seem right. Joe Kittinger was not in a wicker basket but he was sat outside.

I thought Per Lindstrand took Judy Leden up to 40,000' to drop her hang glider, thats 12192 metres, looks at web and finds the figure 38,000' which is 11582 metres. Oh and if your interested HA's height gain in feet 32500' or 9906 metres.

Oh it seems it was 38900' that Per took Judy upto thats er um...11856 metres and I bet Per went up after dropping the hang glider as well.

RED DEER, Alta. (CP) - British media reports say adventurer David Hempleman-Adams has set another world record.

On Friday, Hempleman-Adams set out in a hot-air balloon with an open wicker basket near Red Deer, Alta., and climbed to 9,906 metres.

That beat the previous record held by U.S. balloonist Carol Davis, who climbed to 9,537 metres in New Mexico a quarter-century ago.

Hempleman-Adams also braved frigid winter weather conditions in Alberta - at the height of his climb the temperature was reportedly -60 C.

He landed two hours later and 193 kilometres away on open prairie near the Blackfoot Indian reserve.

Hempleman-Adams is the first man in history to reach the geographic and magnetic North and South Poles and climb the highest peaks on all seven continents.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Christopher Williams

By Don Mackay

A BRITISH hot air balloon enthusiast has been killed in a sledging accident in the Alps.


Always sad to hear about the passing of a fellow aeronaut, this from the Daily Mirror in the UK. Dated 13th Jan 2006

Condolences to Christophers family and friends.

Christopher Williams, 45, had finished dinner with friends at a mountain refuge when he spotted a sledge outside and jumped on it.

But as he hurtled down a ski run at 50mph he hit a snowmobile.

Tree surgeon Mr Williams, from Tring, Herts, died at the scene near San Candido, Italy.

He had been on his third annual visit to a balloon festival.

Friend Mike Horn, his balloon pilot, said: "There was a party and sledges and snowmobiles were provided to return from the hut.

"He had wanted to get back down the mountain first. He went on a sledge but he went on the wrong piste."

Friday, January 12, 2007

Red Arrows slow down


Red Arrows take it easy!
ACE pilots from the RAF's legendary Red Arrows squadron were given a more sedate flying experience – thanks to a Pendle engineering company.

Nelson-based Fort Vale Engineering Ltd treated the aviators to a flight in the company's hot air balloon during an event at the squadron's base at Scampton.
John Hartley, who pilots the Fort Vale balloon, had been given a long-standing invitation to attend one of the squadron's family days at the Lincolnshire base.
He went along with his wife, Anne, and their daughter, Samantha, and took the Fort Vale balloon along too.
W/Cdr Dicky Patounas showed them around the various aircraft at the base, including a Second World War Spitfire, a Harrier jump jet and the new EuroFighter Typhoon.
Anne, who also works for Fort Vale, said: "It was an amazing day. We were allowed to sit in a Red Arrows plane before they gave us a flying display.
"It was a wonderful experience and taking the hot air balloon with us to show the Red Arrows was great."
Following the display, it was too late in the day to take the Fort Vale balloon on a flight but Anne and John managed to tether the balloon and take to the skies and offer the Red Arrows crews the chance to take part in a more relaxed form of aviation.
Ted Fort, chairman of Fort Vale, has a keen interest in flying and bought the company balloon back in 1991. John and Anne take it all over the country. It often makes appearances at North-West balloon shows and sometimes flies for customers of Fort Vale.

Game 2

Heres another game

Quite good this one

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Its is what it says it is, land the Koala's hot air balloon on the landing pads, a google ad on!

This is what google modules were designed for, um well maybe not

Land the Koala's hot air balloon on the landing pads, trying to gather the
shrimp along the way.

If anybody knows of any other balloon related games to add then please let
me know.

If only he knew

Looks like he has had a lucky escape.

4. If I wasn't doctoring I would own and run a Hot Air Balloon business. If
I knew anything about flying them, which I don't, had a fleet of support
vehicles and a balloon, which I haven't, and didn't have to meet repayments
on the mortgage for Jest Acres for the next 500 years, which I do... looks
like it's more doctoring for me then.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Wasting time on YouTube

So having seen that rather sombre footage, imagine my suprise when I came across footage of me flying in Kenya!!

Its my blog so I can crow ;-)

Quite funky music as well.

I knew it was me right off because I was always first out in the que from the Governors launch site.

Check the grass just at the end to get an idea of the landing speeds there, this was a slow one as I can be heard asking the pax to lean back to avoid tipping ;-)

I can tell it was one of the days when we had a less than ideal track, sad as it is, you get to know the area. We are about 300 metres right of where we want to be in order to track down the Mara River nicely.

Can I remember the passengers, sadly not. Sounds awfull but when you fly so many in a year.


Lets be careful out there

Richard Parrys accident in Japan a couple of years ago seems to be hitting the internet video sites.

Lots of people viewing, lots of people giving wacky comments

All I will add is that as summer approaches in the Northern Hemisphere and people start getting balloons out, be carefull, very very carefull.

I'm lucky I get to fly year round and am in fairly good currency, to renew my South African licence I had to add up my hours today, 160 passenger flights in 12 months.

Even so if two weeks go by without a flight I am very nervous next time out.

Lets hope theres not a rush of accidents to greet the first flights of 2007.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

A very hard sum for balloonists

Hands up how many of us actually know how the balloon flys.

If you had to think of the numbers could you fly??

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Drag Landings

2 to 300 yard drag in 10mph, humm something not working quite right there,
whats that red line for again??

Getting balloon stuff in the press is always good but frighteners that will
put off potential guests are a bad thing.

Still I might be filming something next month that gets the entire balloon
community damning me but I'll take the cash ;-)

Read on.........

Winter is good time to get up, up and away from it all.


When Ray and Heidi Ebert look out on a still but chilly winter's day,
chances are they're thinking one thing: "Looks like a good day for a balloon
ride." If the wind is right — meaning not much of it — they'll round up a
crew at their West Salem takeoff point, which they like to call "Geezer
Gulch International Airport," and launch their red-and-white "Lofty View"

It turns out that despite all the cold-air, winter is a great time of year
for hot-air ballooning. For one thing, balloonists don't have to get up as
early in January as they do in June for a sunrise flight. The best times of
day for ballooning come at sunrise and a couple hours before sunset, Ray
said, and a dawn takeoff in the dead of winter is 7:30 or 8 a.m. instead of
5 a.m.

"Ballooning is all about good friends who are willing to get up at obnoxious
hours of the morning for you," Heidi said.

Also, if the ground is covered in snow, it also means a smoother balloon
ride. Different colors reflect heat differently, with an expanse of black
earth or pavement giving off more heat than ground covered in green. If the
ground is snow-covered, balloonists don't have to worry about anticipating
and adjusting for ground-related thermal variances.

With no leaves to get in the way, winter balloonists get a better view of
wildlife on the ground. And because of the colder winter air, it takes less
fuel to heat the air inside the balloon to a level where it will float.
Hot-air balloons also are more responsive in cooler air, Ray said, so it's
like driving a Corvette instead of a Chevette.

Going up in the air in the winter isn't as cold as people might think, he
said. For one thing, there's no windchill because the balloon is moving with
the wind. In addition, the balloonist is standing in a small basket next to
a couple burners that put out about 13 million BTUs each.

"If you can keep your toes warm, it'll be a nice flight," Ray said.

With all those advantages, it's not surprising that Caledonia, Minn., hosts
its annual Bluff and Valley Balloon Rally in December. The rally draws 15 to
20 balloonists every year from around the Midwest. Throughout the year,
balloonists pay a lot of attention to wind speed, and at this year's
Caledonia rally the wind was too brisk for most of the assembled pilots.

Ebert said it just takes a "whisper" of wind to get a balloon moving, so
balloonists are looking for wind speeds in the range of 6 to 8 mph. Some
balloonists might take a chance with a 10 mph wind; very few would want to
take off in a 12 mph wind like they had at the Houston County Airport for
the most recent Caledonia rally.

Ray was one of the few.

A licensed commercial pilot, Ray said he never would have taken off that
morning if he had had paying passengers. But as a commercial pilot, he has
to have an biannual review conducted by other licensed pilots, and since
there was an abundance of them at the balloon rally, he decided he'd get his
review out of the way.

Plus, he said, he didn't want all the spectators who had come out to the
rally that morning to go home too disappointed. With all the extra hands
available to hold the balloon down in preparation for takeoff, Ray decided
to go for it, giving it a hard blast of heat for a "hot" takeoff instead of
the usual relatively gentle liftoff.

"Ballooning is not an adrenaline sport, and there was a lot of adrenaline
popping there," Ray said.

Luckily, he said, "once you're up in the air, there's not too many bad
things that can happen."

Landings in high wind can be rough. In a 10-mph wind, for instance, the
basket might drag along the ground for 200 to 300 yards before coming to a

About an hour after taking off from Caledonia, though, Ray found a valley
protected from the wind where he could safely set the balloon down. In short
order, Heidi was there in their truck with trailer in tow to help pack up
the balloon.

The Eberts put their balloon in the air 30 to 40 times per year, roughly
evenly divided between "fun" flights and flights in which paying passengers
are carried. Those paid flights are still fun, and they help pay for a
fairly expensive hobby, but Ray said he wouldn't want to take on any more
paying customers than he gets now by word of mouth.

"As soon as it becomes a business where I have to fly, it's no longer fun,"
Ray said.

For a substantial majority of flights, Heidi is part of the ground crew,
giving chase in the truck. But that wasn't the original plan.

Heidi, a fourth-grade teacher at West Salem Elementary, crewed in college
for friends who had a hot-air balloon, and about 10 years ago, the Eberts
decided they'd buy a balloon so Heidi could become a pilot. Soon after they
got the balloon, though, she became pregnant and didn't want to be flying.

Rather than let the balloon sit idle, Ray, who had no ballooning experience,
decided he'd learn to fly. "If I have a $15,000 toy in my garage, I'm going
to use it," Ray said.

About four years ago, the Eberts upgraded from their first balloon to their
90,000-cubic-foot "medium sport balloon," which cost about $35,000. That
might seem expensive, but not compared with the replica of the balloon from
"The Wizard of Oz" that flew last year at the Kansas State Fair. That one
cost $75,000, and there are some more expensive yet.

Heidi has made some steps toward getting a pilot's license, but achieving
that isn't a high priority for her anymore. She kind of prefers staying on
the ground and giving chase.

"Those of us who chase think the chase is pretty fun," she said. "It's the
challenge of trying to stay ahead of the balloon and trying to predict where
the balloon is going to land."

West Salem Police Chief Dennis Abbott is one of those who thinks the chase
is fun. He has been on the ground crew of about half of Ray's 400 flights
and has an uncanny knack for it. Part of it comes from Abbott's extensive
knowledge of area roads, Ray said, while part is from his skill with a GPS
and part is from gut feeling.

"He blends technology with good old intuition," Ray said of Abbott. "For
him, the challenge is for him to be there before I get there."

The chasers getting there first is important because it's both good manners
and smart to ask a property owner for permission before setting down a
balloon on his land.

Abbott's ground crew skills aren't limited to his own back yard. Ray said
one year Abbott crewed for the winning team at the famed balloon rally in
Albuquerque, N.M., which draws about 700 balloonists every year.

Although there have been some improvements in technology since the first
hot-air balloon flights in France in the 1780s, in many ways it's still the
same. "It's the simplest of physics," Heidi said.

The early French pilots took to carrying bottles of champagne with them to
show the farmers that they were earthlings just like them, and to this day
balloonists enjoy a champagne toast with their ground crews at the end of a

"That's kind of a fun tradition to keep alive," Heidi said.

Contact Randy Erickson at or 786-6812.

A blog that keeps coming up.

Well because Brom uses the title, The Windsor Castle Hot Air Balloon
Festival for his blog it keeps coming up in my alerts all the time.

Because he has a picture from Adventure Balloons, whom I worked for ages ago
I mention it here!!

My old boss Kim Hull called the balloon design, stained glass

High Winds Cancel Balloon Event.

Palm trees swayed, hot air balloons were grounded and pedigrees ran loose
because of high winds that wreaked havoc on the Coachella Valley on Friday.
Winds coming from Nevada reached about 46 mph in Thermal and possibly 60 mph
in the high desert, National Weather Forecaster Brandt Maxwell said.

Clouds of sand blew across Interstate 10, into traffic.

Winds were especially bothersome to pedestrians.
Just the other day a balloonist here in South Africa said balloon ride
flights are happening in stronger and stronger winds.

Is it pilots getting more experienced and hence better able to see trouble
coming or are the winds increasing generally??

This from the Desert Sun............

"I wish it were summertime," Desert Hot Springs resident Bernice Mendoza,
40, said as she wrapped her arms around her body to keep warm outside the
Palm Springs Wal-Mart.

The high winds caused problems throughout the Coachella Valley Friday:

Power outages or interruptions affected about 2,000 valley residents. The
largest area that lost power, with 129 customers affected, was in Desert Hot
Springs, west of West Drive and south of Avenida Ladera. A snapped pole
caused that outage, Southern California Edison spokesman Tom Boyd said.

About 1,400 Imperial Irrigation District customers in Sky Valley and Indio
near Avenue 49 lost power Friday afternoon, spokeswoman Marion Champion
said. Power in those areas was later restored.

The balloon launch at the Ford Trucks Red, White and Blue Polo & Balloon
Festival was canceled.

Tents at the Kennel Club of Palm Springs dog show blew down, allowing some
dogs to temporarily escape. The event was canceled for the day.
High winds also were capable of sending dust particles into the air, leading
to valley fever, forecaster Stan Wasowski said. It could lead to respiratory
problems, regardless of whether someone is in the middle of the desert or a
city, he said. What's coming today?

Drawing a hot air balloon!

An exciting link that all ride operators have been waiting for.

Yes its time to sit back down to the office desk and fiddle around a bit
achiving nothing.

This caught my eye

Go wild, best design appears on this site ;-)