Monday, December 31, 2007
By Paul Broome
FIREFIGHTERS were called to a Ledbury house today after a remote controlled hot-air balloon landed on its roof.
Crews were initially called from Hereford around 3pm this afternoon after reports of the balloon being on fire.
It was seen floating from the city and over Haugh Woods, near Fownhope.
The balloon then drifted as far as Ledbury where it came down on a property in Woodleigh Road.
Ledbury watch manager Keith Wilding later said the balloon had not been alight
Fire crews used an aerial ladder platform to bring the item down, before leaving the address shortly before 5.30pm.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
It was Shakespeare who asked "What's in a name?" And for one Thomson Elementary student, the answer is mileage. A lot of mileage. One thousand miles, give or take a few.
In October, third-grader Kayla Thomas wrote her name and school on a piece of paper and tied it to a balloon before launching it into the sky as part of a 21st Century After School balloon release project.
Last week, Kayla received a letter from 15-year-old Sara Frost, who said she found the balloon in her backyard in South Hampton, NH. Sara said she took the balloon to show her classmates at Cotting School, a special education day school in Lexington, Mass.
"When I saw the letter in my box, I said 'It can't be. Not all the way from Massachusetts.' But it was," said Barbara Johnson, the 21st Century director at Thomson Elementary.
Sara's letter included a photo of her holding the deflated orange balloon alongside seven of her classmates. In her letter, she asked many questions inquiring when the balloon was released, the type of weather on that day, where other balloons had landed, and what the class liked about the project.
Kayla said Ms. Johnson entered the two addresses in Mapquest, and estimated the balloon traveled 1,063 land miles. A similar inquiry on Google Earth estimated the length of travel was 900 miles through the air.
In her reply to the letter, she said the balloon release day was "warm and calm."
"I liked it when they went up into the clouds," Kayla said in an interview at school.
In her response to Sara, she said, "The best thing about this project was getting a letter from so far away."
Kayla received a lot of attention over her letter, both at school and at home. The envelope now shows a lot of wear and tear, as she has kept it with her so much, and enjoyed showing it off. She said her father, AndrÃ¨, was "real excited about it." Kayla said she likes to go off with her father, usually to Augusta. The farthest she has ever traveled is to Florida, where she goes every summer to visit family and enjoy the beach.
Kayla said she has no idea where New Hampshire is, or what it's like. But Ms. Johnson said she has plans to use Kayla's letter for a geography lesson when they return back to school from the holiday break.
In the meantime, Kayla had to work on her reply letter to Sara and the other students at Cotting. It seems all the attention she received had one disadvantage.
"I don't like it that it's making my teacher give me all these extra questions," Kayla said.
The 8-year-old has more important things in mind to do during 21st Century, like "going outside to play on Fridays, or watching Garfield and Sponge Bob movies. Those are my favorite things," she said. "And walking my dog. I like to walk my dog. She tries to chase other dogs, and she pulls me down the road."
And one day, Kayla plans to go up the road, all the way to New Hampshire. She said she'd like to visit one day, so she can see in person how far her balloon went.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Helium shortage to affect U.S. Bank Eve
Families who celebrate New Year 's Eve at the citywide party put on by U.S. Bank won 't get helium balloons when they walk in the door, as in past years.
That 's because a worldwide helium shortage has deflated supplies for balloons.
Helium may be the second-most common element in the universe, but supply is not meeting demand. Producers of helium, which is extracted from natural gas, are limited and new sources have not come online as quickly as needed.
It might seem a light topic. We usually think of helium for filling party balloons, or our lungs in order to create that Alvin and the Chipmunks sound.
But helium also powers industry and science: It is used to make medical MRIs, liquid crystal display screens, as a shielding gas in welding and manufacturing, and more.
Helium for balloons is a very small percentage of the helium used in the world, but it is also possibly the most expendable.
"Of all of the uses of helium, from medical to scientific to industrial, balloon helium comes down on the lower end, " said Jim Ely, vice president of Communications at Airgas, a U.S. distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gases.
That 's why party planners and suppliers may be feeling the blow most.
In the past, 1,000 to 1,300 helium balloons were distributed at U.S. Bank Eve. But the event 's supplier, A to Z RentAll, has stopped selling helium.
"Very few people can get the stuff, " said Todd Jordan, of A to Z RentAll, 2209 S. Stoughton Road.
U.S. Bank Eve will still feature a giant balloon drop with about 2,000 balloons at 7:30 p.m. for a "kiddie countdown " to the new year because those balloons don 't require helium.
Party City, 223 Junction Road, had to stop renting helium tanks because of the shortage, although it started up again about six weeks ago.
The short supply is also affecting prices. Airgas increased prices on helium by 20 to 30 percent, as of Dec. 1.
Mike Keeney, owner of Airigami Balloon Creations, based in Madison, said helium prices have tripled in the past year-and-a-half. The company, which creates displays as well as supplying some helium, sells a tank that fills about 500 standard-sized balloons for $150 to $175, up from $75.
He 's had to pass some of the price increase on to customers but tries to avoid using helium when possible by being creative, for instance, in making balloon arches.
Other balloon decorating companies are so desperate for helium they 're buying it from Airigami, Keeney said.
"That 's a little like Ford calling up Chevy and saying we can 't get tires, " he said.
Some companies have apparently gotten through the shortage unscathed. George 's Flowers, 421 S. Park St., does a light balloon business as part of arrangements and bouquets.
"We haven 't heard anything about a shortage, " said Erica Teela, a designer.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
The Red, White and Blue Polo and Balloon Festival, taking place Jan 4-6 at Eldorado Polo Club and Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, will launch a new feature at this year's event: 'Battle of the Sexes Strip Polo Game.'
The competition, between a men's and women's team, will be held at noon on Saturday, Jan. 5 at the Eldorado Polo Club.
When a member of one team makes a goal, members of the other team have to remove a piece of clothing, until ...
How far down will the teams strip?
"You'll just have to come out and see for yourself," said Randy Russell, president of Polo America and festival organizer.
Its those crazy Mangalorians again, they just can't get enough of that balloon!! Mangalore is such an exotic sounding name though. I for one would love to go and try and fly a balloon there. The interweb and Google earth really shrinks things. (no don't send an email Barbara) How about an Aunty Monkey Mangalore Balloon meet. Its a little bit coastal though.
MANGALORE Dec 25: Most people who bought tickets for the hot air balloon ride clearly missed the fine print. It read: "Hot air balloon take off is subject to weather conditions and technical aspects".
While there were no technical hitches for the balloons to take off on schedule, weather conditions (read - upper winds) were not favourable. The organisers were not to be blamed. Some understood this and waited patiently for their turn. Others, who missed the fine print and were not willing to wait, sought a refund and got it. When their attention was drawn to the fine print, they just gave a sheepish grin. "They had told me that the balloon would take off at 4.45 p.m. But it is already 6 p.m. and I can not wait. I had come here for my son, Nandakishore," said Ganesh, a government official. "He is in tenth standard and we have other things to do," he added.
Disha, Deena, and Anolia, students of a private school, who had come for the ride in the morning, were disappointed that their ride was short as the balloon did not go up the distance. "We could see the ground clearly," they said.
But they got a compensatory ride in the evening when the wind steadied and allowed the organisers to inflate the balloon. "It was quite hot in there," they said while alighting from the basket. A few people, who took the ride during the day with the wind going their way, said the ride was exciting.
But their grouse was that it was too brief. "We could see the sea and a part of the city from a height," said one of them.
The organisers, on their part, had tethered the balloon to ensure that it did not fly off the Nehru Maidans boundary.
The more enthusiastic people tried at para-sailing as they waited for the balloon ride to start. Neha Benita, a sixth standard student of K.V. Mangalore Number 2 and a swimmer, said: "My grandmother goaded me and I was also interested".
She said she was not scared but excited. "It was nothing special. I could see the ground and the people below," she added.
Child's note to Santa sent by balloon brings cheer in McNeal
|Mary A. Fabiny holds a balloon and note to Santa she found in her driveway in Cochise County recently. (JONATHON SHACAT/Wick Communications)|
By Jonathon Shacat/Wick Communications
Mary A. Fabiny found a green balloon clinging to the branch of a bush along her driveway in an isolated part of Cochise County on Dec. 12.
A rolled-up piece of paper was attached to the balloon's ribbon. The letter, which is written in Spanish, starts off with "Hola Santa." The child asks him to bring a PlayStation video game system for Christmas. The note is not signed.
Fabiny lives 12 miles from McNeal, just south of Davis Road and west of Frontier Road. She is surprised the balloon landed where it did. "I have 80 acres of mesquite, so there is nothing but mesquite around here," she said.
At first, she suspected someone had put the balloon there on purpose. She looked for footprints and asked her neighbors, but nobody seemed to know anything about it.
Fabiny finds it interesting that Dec. 12 - the date she found the balloon - was the feast day for Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Virgin of Guadalupe is Mexico's most beloved religious and cultural image. The icon depicts an apparition of the Virgin Mary.
"I keep passing this story on and it makes a spark in people and it goes from there," she said. "The more I tell the story, the happier I get. It has opened doors for me. I've had the best week for a long time."
She would like to find the child who wrote the letter so she could arrange to give the gift to him or her.
"Some people say, 'Let's tie little gifts to green balloons and send them back across the border,' " she added.
Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Daily Review Reporter Jonathon Shacat can be reached at (520) 515-4693 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
By Sheila G. Miller / The Bulletin
Published: December 26. 2007 5:00AM PST
In July, Bend resident Kent Couch made headlines around the world when he climbed into a lawn chair attached to dozens of helium balloons and floated nearly to Idaho.
“I still get about an e-mail a day about that,” Couch said.
After his story appeared in The Bulletin, The Associated Press picked it up and it appeared in newspapers worldwide. The event set off a whirlwind of media appearances, and Couch, 47, was written up in such magazines as National Geographic and New York Magazine.
Now, at the close of 2007, everything is pretty much back to normal. Couch is busy with a new business venture and is remodeling his gas station at U.S. Highway 20 and Northeast 27th Street in Bend.
He’s also making plans to fly again.
Couch wants to travel to Australia this summer to do a balloon chair trip. That is, after all, the setting of the Indie hit film “Danny Deckchair,” about a man who does something mighty similar to Couch’s trip across Oregon. The film was inspired by California’s Larry Walters, who floated in a lawn chair in 1982. Couch saw a piece on Walters’ trip on the Discovery Channel’s “Mythbusters” and was inspired to try it himself.
Looking for sponsors
Right now, Couch is working on securing a sponsorship that will help him pay for the trip. If he can’t get the money pulled together, he’ll take off again in July, right here in Central Oregon. He’s also been invited to do a flight from a casino in Las Vegas. Originally, Couch said he wouldn’t fly by chair again unless his wife, Susan, gave him the go-ahead.
“She said alright, you can do it as long as you take me to Australia,” he said. “So we’re going to do it this summer.”
Susan had plenty of reason to be nervous when Couch started preparing for his famous flight. The journey started at 5 a.m. July 8, and continued for nearly nine hours. Couch outfitted a large, green lawn chair with a video camera and a GPS tracking device. He hooked dozens of large helium balloons to the chair and weighed it down with bags of water that were used as ballast. When Couch needed to get higher in the air, he poured out water.
Couch traveled 193 miles and got as high as 13,000 feet before setting down in a farm field near North Powder, a few miles from La Grande.
Many of his family members and friends followed his progress in an RV and a truck, and Couch stayed in touch with them by cell phone and two-way radio, sending them GPS coordinates so they’d know where he was. Much of the time, Couch was visible on the horizon, a multicolor speck on the landscape.
By the end of his trip, Couch had run low on water in the ballast. He struggled to land, losing his chair and all of the supplies he had on it, including a video camera and his cell phone. These are things he’d like to improve on when he flies again.
Wherever he makes his next flight from, he’s got some plans.
“Every time I go, I learn how to make it more successful,” Couch said. “I’ve got to leave earlier, at daybreak, when it’s just getting light. And I have to prepare to sit longer.”
He will also carry more water for the ballast, which was the reason he failed to make it to his goal of Idaho last time.
E-mails keep coming
Since he made news in July, Couch has gotten plenty of e-mail from people interested in learning about cluster-balloon flights. He gives them a bit of advice but not too much, because he doesn’t want to be held responsible if the flights go bad.
This summer, Couch expects to see some copycats here in Central Oregon, since he’s received some correspondence from people interested in the flights. Two in particular seem ready to go, but Couch is nervous for them. He had years of training for the flight, including knowing how to sky-dive and parachute.
“I expect them to do it, but neither of them has showed that they were prepared,” he said. “They don’t want to learn to sky-dive, which is pretty important.”
It’s dangerous to fly, but Couch thinks of it as a calculated risk.
Shortly after returning from his media tour, Couch did a presentation for the local chapter of the Oregon Pilots Association. They were interested in his story, but most said they would never attempt what he’d done.
“They think theirs is safer,” Couch said. “I really think mine is safer.”
The price of fame
While Couch enjoyed the traveling he got to do for his media tour, the fame has gotten a little embarrassing.
“The worst part is when you go to buy something and they look at your credit card and say, ‘Hey, you’re the balloon guy!’” he said. “It’s not so much the recognizing, that’s kind of fun to share the story ... it’s that going into the hardware store, or the groups I’m in, every time I see them they make balloon jokes.”
But he did learn something from all the attention. Couch appeared on CNN, “Inside Edition,” “Good Morning America,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and a Fox Family network show, among others. The people, he said, were nice and friendly.
“They all were just like me and you, they treated me nicely,” he said. “I could tell they put their pants on the same as we do.”
His story captured imaginations all over the world, and it will continue to, since a story about Couch’s adventure was recently featured in the Weekly Reader, a magazine that helps kids learn to read.
Kids write letters
“Schoolteachers sometimes write me and ask me to respond, and kids will write letters to me and I respond,” he said. “That’s the fun part.”
He’s going to be featured on “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” television show, and in a book about normal people doing abnormal things. Now that Couch has a chance to look back on the frenzy, he’s happy with the way it went.
“I liked it in the end,” he said. “But at first I was like, ‘Holy smokes.’”
Susan thinks he’s handled the fame well.
“I think it’s a two-way street. I think there’s been times he’s thought, ‘Not again, not more attention.’ But I think he loves telling the story,” she said. “We find him telling the story more often than not.”
But Susan’s going to do her best to keep Couch from getting caught up in all the attention again.
“For Christmas I got him an anchor, so he can stay grounded.”
Sheila G. Miller can be reached at 617-7831 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, December 24, 2007
That I am a little behind in sending these wishes for a large part of the planet.
But all my mates in Oz know I'm always a little behind.
To you all and especially your children have a great and safe day.
PS Don't forget to click that tracking link, its great!!
Phil and Sean from Kavanagh Balloons should be getting feet wet soon, try the links below to follow them, I received the following email...
Both Sean and I are in the race this year and our yacht name is Namadgi, Bavaria 44, Sail #6388, competitor # 48. Our class is PHS (performance handicap system). Sean has put some details up on our web site in the "news" section and this has various links which will help you watch the race as it progresses. www.kavanaghballoons.com.au
Each yacht carries a GPS tracker and this gives speed, direction and position reports every ten minutes and this information is updated in real time on the Rolex Sydney-Hobart web site, http://rolexsydneyhobart.com/default.asp
If you watch the start of the race on television, our yacht has a yellow oval on the mainsail with black printing, "TITLEY RDF". Also, in the unlikely event of a spinnaker run down the harbour, (weather makes it look unlikely at the moment), look for the Kavanagh Balloons yellow spinnaker. A photo of this spinnaker is also in the news section of our web site.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Full story, here... http://mangalorean.com/news.php?newstype=broadcast&broadcastid=61651
Mangaloreans to get a taste of hot air balloon ride
Mangalore: This coastal city will see and experience the thrill of hot air balloons. Thanks to the organizers of the Karavali Utsav 2007-08 the ride however will be for few chosen people who will be able to pay as much as 500 rupees per a 20 minutes ride. The 77,000 cubic feet hot air balloon has been brought from Delhi specially for the Karavali Utsav and apart from giving rides to the people, few dare devil para gliders will jump from the hot air balloon and give spectacular show of para gliding during one of the days of the 45 day long Karavali Utsav.
However the tickets appear to be in short supply and people were queuing up for buying that. A local ad agency Nisarga Publicity has been endowed with the right of issuing tickets and the officials of the company say that there was an overwhelming response to the balloon ride and the organising committee was in good mind to extend the duration of the availability of the balloon ride by another fifteen days and also increase the number of rides per day. The balloon has a diameter of 160 feet. The organisers have also decided to send only one balloon up at a time carrying not more than 7 people.
According to the officials of the Karavali Utsav three children from each government schools in the district will get to ride the balloon. Heads of government schools in the city can nominate three students from their schools for the ride.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Saturday December 22 2007 10:05 IST
MANGALORE: Hot-air balloon show, touted as the highlight of Karavali Utsav, remained grounded through-out the trial show dampening enthusiasm of hundreds of spectators at Nehru Maidan on Friday.
A trial run of hot air balloon for selected invitees including mediapersons also attracted hundreds of people from all age groups. The hotair balloon with a diameter of 160 feet was the cynosure of attention as event organisers began their efforts to get the balloon soaring like a bird in the air.
Much as they tried, the hot-air balloon remained grounded and every strategy in the book to get the balloon afloat came to a naught.
Frustrated event organisers, finally called off the show and hundreds of spectartors resumed their ways with disappointment writ large on their faces. With the trial run landing in a thud, an uncertanity hangs over the formal inauguration of the show on Saturday.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I get quite a few people emailing me looking for work, I don't have any vacancys but maybe somebody out there does, from here on in I shall start posting them. I was also thinking about adding a for sale thread.
My name is Antonio Lo Franco
I am writing in response to the vacancy for The ground crew position
for your consideration.
I would welcome the opportunity to utilise the knowledge and experience I have gained from my job as hot air balloons Pilot and through my responsibilities
. My work experience over the past few years in this job in
During the last four years at owner and pilot hot air balloons me to develop my leadership skills and increased my awareness of the dynamics of small and medium-sized businesses.
A year abroad, and my extensive travelling experiences, have offered me opportunities to adapt to new environments. I have learned how important it is to be flexible and make use of my own resources.
I ‘m excellent physical fitness and strength,
a cheerful personality, responsible driving skills, the ability to live
with others, and a neat, clean-cut appearance. I’m fluency working knowledge and spoken Italian, English a bit French
resident in EU
* my weight is
I’ve 10 years driving experience
I am available for interview at any time in the coming weeks, and am available for work from the end of December. I look forward to hearing from you.
Antonio Lo Franco
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Dick Rutan, the daredevil pilot who completed the first nonstop, unrefueled flight around the world, made an emergency landing after reporting engine trouble on his plane while flying to a memorial service for a friend.
Rutan was flying solo from Mojave to , California, when his Cessna 150M had engine trouble, forcing him to land safely on a small road in the desert city of Victorville around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Rutan said he walked away without a scratch.
«I got a healthy shot of adrenaline,» he told The Associated Press by telephone from his home in Lancaster, California.
The Federal Aviation Administration said it was investigating the emergency landing. Rutan said that shortly after takeoff, the cylinders in the single engine blew.
«It was sudden, catastrophic and inexplicable,» Rutan said. «The engine was totally destroyed.
Fortunately, he was flying below 1,000 feet (300 meters). He said he managed to land about eight miles (13 kilometers) from the Victorville Airport.
«This was a major incident. If I had been over the clouds and had to land on a mountain, my chance of surviving would probably be zero,» Rutan said.
Rutan said he missed the service for Robert Pond, the founder of the Palm Springs Air Museum.
Rutan made aviation history in 1986 when he and Jeana Yeager completed their round-the-world flight in nine days in the experimental airplane Voyager, which was designed by his brother Burt Rutan. The flight never stopped for refueling.
Before working as a test pilot, Rutan served in the U.S. Air Force and flew 325 combat missions in Vietnam. He was shot down by enemy fire during one of those missions, forcing him to eject from a burning F-100. He evaded capture and was later rescued.
Rutan later sought to break other aviation record by attempting to float around the world on a balloon without stopping. He missed that goal in January 1998 when a helium cell on the Global balloon ruptured, and Rutan and his co-pilot Dave Melton had to parachute out.
He had another near miss in May 2000 when a plane he was in landed on thin ice and sank on the North Pole. Rutan and several others abandoned the plane and were left stranded in the cold for more than a dozen hours before being rescued.
AN INVESTIGATION has been launched into an eBay advert which claims to be selling the missing Burnley Football club blimp.
Police have asked eBay to remove the advert selling the airship-style balloon after offensive comments were left on the web page.
But they believe the eBay advert, which shows a picture of an airship style balloon in front of Turf Moor and a bid of £800,100, to be a hoax.
championship match against QPR, is not genuine.
Burnley Football Club said they had not received any confirmed sightings of the blimp since vandals cut it free last week.
The reward of four VIP match day corporate tickets for a forthcoming game, still stands for the safe return of the balloon, which can be clearly identified by the club crest and branding.
Experts said the 20-foot, helium-filled balloon known as a blimp, used for the first time before last Tuesday's match against QPR, may have travelled as far as Scotland.
The blimp, which was only bought for a four-figure sum a few weeks ago to promote match days, was last seen heading eastwards.
But the Met Office said that south-easterly winds would have propelled the balloon in a north-westerly direction.
The club alerted air traffic control over the incident and the matter has been reported to the police.
Footage from CCTV cameras, which sweep the car park where the balloon was tethered, did not capture the incident.
A spokesperson for the club said: "We have not yet received any confirmed sightings of the blimp, but the reward still stands and we would love to hear from any genuine sightings on 01282 704701."
A police spokesperson said: "There is an investigation into the incident.
"The advert does look like it has been doctored.
"We have notified eBay and asked them to remove it because of the offensive comments on there."
Monday, December 17, 2007
Unique flight through Baikal by a balloon
I investigating cases of extra sensory, including cryptophysics, the abnormal phenomena and others boundary and breakthrough directions. I am 10 years expert of the UFO phenomen with lab examining UFO land points with physics laboratory equipment.
My experience started in 1996 then our group examine Perm Anomalous Zone(M-Zone). And after that almost 10 years expert of the UFO phenomen with lab examining UFO land points with physics laboratory equipment.
Since that period I visit and examine most unexplained phenomena at territory of Europe and Asia, some of them:
1999, town of Kyshtym (Ural, Russia) in late 1990s. We found several artefacts.
2000, Nong Khai (Thailand), phenomen of water fireballs
1999, an expedition to the remote Labynkyr Lake (in Sakha (Yakutia) Republic).
2002–2003: expeditions to Brosno(Russia). Lake in Tver Oblast search were performed.
2004, expedition to Matmata region(Tunisia).
May-Jun 2003, Vitim event expedition(Siberia), Vitim River. Meteorite was found.
2005, Tuza pyramides of Egypt.
2006 Altai Meteorite dicovering. I provide equipment and information for this project. Meteorite, or cometa underearth blow-up was found.
2007 Attending to British program "Psychic challenge". Exploration of Lytkarino highway.
September 2007, Undewater expedition at fallen UFO place, several artefacts were found at 7 meters depth.
I locate zones of phenomena UFO, geopathogenic, geoactive, technogenic and natural character phenomen, do video shootin
December 16, 2007
Travellers tried to cross time and again lake on ice - on foot, on skis, on the fads and even on dogs. But to fly over it on a sphere people have ventured for the first time.
On it some hours, but what were necessary for pilots Valentine Efremovu and Vladimir Isajchevu of all.
For the first time aeronauts have decided to cross lake Baikal over so-called "a Bermudas triangle". This idea has arisen at pilot Valentine Efremova right after conquest of the North Pole.
Valentine Efremov, the pilot-researcher: "I do not love simply so, somewhere in simple points to fly. It is interesting to me to fly in unusual points of the earth which represent something mysteriousness".
The first attempts to carry out flight through Baikal have been undertaken exactly 100 years ago - summer of 1907, an aeronautic battalion of Russian army. The group of pioneers, alas, was missing, then the Baikal zone has been named by abnormal.
After flight it became clear - to fly through Baikal it is unsafe. Since then some expeditions were missing. For last years 3 more international expeditions therefrom have not returned, and in 2005 for 40 kilometres from this place helicopter Mi-2 with employees of the Ministry of Emergency Measures onboard was wrecked. It has taken off on July, 13th from village Oek to liquidate some seats of forest fire. The helicopter has fallen in lake around cape Dug. Both pilots were lost.Eyewitnesses spoke about abnormal movement of air streams which did not allow to cross space over lake.
And here the inhabitant of Irkutsk - engineer-radio navigator Leonid Aminov became the trailblazer in 1996 in sky overcoming over lake. It has alone crossed Baikal across, having done a way to 180 kilometres.
However, it not unique anomalies which have been noticed here. Eyewitnesses observed strange things in area of "the Baikal triangle»: the shone spheres, sparkling concentric circles and sharp weather changes.
This year to solve a "triangle" riddle two Russian travellers - Valentine Efremov and Vladimir Isajchev have ventured. On September, 9th the balloon with researchers onboard will rise on height in 800 metres. If extreme-man it will be possible to issue necessary their names will bring in the Book of records Guinnes on overcoming of Baikal at height 5000 over Baikal.
Travellers have been adjusted exclusively on success. «At us very much wide experience, - traveller Valentine Efremov has told« ». - We are assured, that modern technologies and our general interest will help to solve and secret of Baikal. Eventually, to support us half-affairs» are ready very many, and it already.
The balloon «Sacred Russia» on which traveller Valentine Efremov and pilot-researcher Vladimir Isajchev will depart, has been equipped by the newest systems of navigation. The expedition course was watched by forces of air defence and the Ministry of Emergency Measures of Russia.
The commander of crew «Sacred Russia» - professional aeronaut Valentine Efremov - first-ever has reached the North Pole by a balloon and has made unique expedition to areas of Arctic regions in 2006.
Valentine Efremov, the traveller, interview before flight:
- We will depart over a zone which is a little studied. If five-hour expedition passes without negative consequences for our health, the science will receive the invaluable information, supervision and photos.
Support researchers really many. But trust in success of expedition far not all. «I think, that this research will not bring scientific fruits, because devices in« the Baikal triangle »do not work, and to fix the abnormal phenomena it will not be possible, - the space pilot, twice Hero of Soviet Union George Grechko has told« ». - But I in an amicable way envy such brave travellers. They do it for the sake of interest, instead of for the sake of a science».
"Our primary goal - this flight to pay attention of all public, that Baikal demands protection. Also it is thought to us, it should go right, as it is a sore problem. It disturbs all. And here that for the first time by a balloon flight will be made is in itself involves people in great Baikal", - Vladimir Isajchev has continued.
According to the researcher, the first attempts to carry out flight through Baikal were undertaken 100 years ago. The group of pioneers was missing. Then the lake zone has received reputation of the abnormal. Eyewitnesses observed strange things in area "Baikal triangle": the shone spheres, sparkling concentric circles and different weather cataclysms.
Present flight Åôðåìîâ and Isaichev have devoted not only to a memorial, their purpose - to draw to environmental problems of Baikal attention of the wide public.
"Too one of problems of our expedition would be, say, in this case, to systematise in more details these facts and to transfer them in more proved ôàêòîãðàôè÷åñêîì a kind to expert studying to the scientific organisations of the country", - Sergey Borodin, the expert in abnormal zones, the participant of expedition has told.
- I think, that it is necessary to address to gods who live there, - Valentine Efremov has told before travel. Is god Ulhery - the father of sons of all winds. We will make all traditional ceremonies which exist from time immemorial.
- Once I have heard stories of local residents about the local inexplicable phenomena and about losses of people. Here also has wanted to check up, whether jokes, - Valentine Efremov tells.
To overcome Baikal travellers have solved on a thermal balloon «Sacred Russia». For start were prepared thoroughly: have adjusted navigating devices, a radio communication. Have just in case taken a saving buoy which is inflated for few seconds.
It has appeared, knowingly. To Do without adventures to aeronauts it was not possible. On the middle of lake very unusual winds have started to pull out a balloon at once some. Yes so, that threw a basket here and there, and a sphere twisted a spiral.
- A wind «Áàðãóçèí», «Tama» and «Kultuk» have incorporated and have formed a turbulence zone, - Valentine Efremov explains. - They have tried to cast away us back, to the place of start, but we have risen above these air streams and have departed forward.
Of a balloon and nature antagonism attentively observed both from water, and from air. The high-speed boat followed directly under a balloon, and aside flight from the helicopter was watched closely by rescuers.
In total researchers have spent for extreme travel three hours. And then three more tried to find a place to land. As a result the sphere has failed on mountain top.
- We by miracle managed to survive, - admits the traveller. - we with Vladimir have got off easy bruises and scratches, and here the basket has broken, the sphere fabric has torn. But we could overcome «the Baikal triangle»!
The feat of Nijnii Novgorod citizen was fixed by the Russian representatives of the Book of records Guiness. Now they are made out all official papers and after that surnames will be brought in the new edition of the world book of achievements.
Rehearsal before flight. The balloon will help to define a wind direction. First two attempts are unsuccessful - the wind blows the opposite party from Baikal. Flight is postponed for some hours. Someone speaks about meteoconditions, someone about influence ïîòóñòîðîííèõ forces. As a part of expedition the expert in the abnormal phenomena Sergey Borodin. He wished to survey the Baikal geopathogenic zone which is on cape "Dug". It was not possible. Because of a wind rose start have transferred on cape "Zama".
Sergey Borodin, the expert in the abnormal phenomena: "There serious artefacts are found. Ancient history of 5-thousand prescription, so-called gorizintal an observatory. In behind an observatory obvious signs of geopathogenicity, those. Those places which negatively influence health of the person".
Last minutes before start - travellers stack things - tent, sleeping bags, meal. The landing place is precisely not known - everything, again òàêè, depends on a wind.
With themselves in flight travellers took an inflatable boat. In case of failure it will help them to hold on on water before arrival of a saving boat. It will accompany travellers throughout all way
Travellers accompany not only from water, but also from air. The helicopter, having overtaken aeronauts, waits for them on other coast of Baikal.
Together with the traveller onboard øàðïà "Sacred Russia" will be researcher Vladimir Isajchev. Expedition starts on September, 9th, have informed in the media centre "Russian industry". Specially for this flight the aeronautic device have equipped with the newest systems of navigation. Flight will supervise from the earth of force of air defence and the Ministry of Emergency Measures of Russia. For the first time about puzzles over Baikal it became known in 1907 when the aeronautic battalion of Russian army has made for the first time flight through the biggest in the world fresh lake.
Military men of imperial army have taken out the verdict: to fly over Baikal dangerously. To find out the danger nature some expeditions tried, some of which were missing. Come back surprised with stories about the shone spheres, sparkling concentric circles, "to loss in time" and abnormal movement of air streams which did not allow to cross space over lake.
To start from the western coast of Baikal "Sacred Russia" it was possible after almost five hours of expectation. However first minutes of travel spectators observing from the earth saw, that a sphere has incurred in other party, but aeronauts have risen still above and have found the necessary air stream which has incurred them over lake. After a while with "Sacred Russia" the radio communication was gone. However fears were not justified. Interventions of rescuers which supervised flight, it was not required.
Complexities at aeronauts were not only at start, but also at planting. In the planned point of finish in Buryatiya "Sacred Russia" could not land, it was necessary to search for other platform. By a recognition of travellers, in flight well-known Baikal a wind have strongly pulled about a sphere. After flight Åôðåìîâ and Èñàé÷åâ have been delivered to Irkutsk. Now for travellers wait in Nizhni Novgorod.
Sixty kilometres over lake travellers have flown by for two hours. But winds have incurred a sphere further, on the east, in the Siberian taiga. Communication with a balloon unexpectedly was gone. Some hours from travellers were not any messages. By calculations, gas in cylinders should already will end.
Aeronauts have landed on cape the Uhlan-burgasy, having flown by over a taiga superfluous fifty kilometres.
Valentine Efremov, the pilot-researcher: "On the middle winds there have gone down. Turbulent movement of all winds there has begun and thus it was necessary to us on even big height on five thousand metres".
Travellers managed to establish a record - they the first have crossed Baikal in the widest place by a balloon, at height of 5000 metres. But the secret of the Baikal Bermudas triangle and remained unsolved.
The latest incident has occurred in 2005 - the helicopter going on suppression of forest fires was wrecked: it has taken off on July, 13th from village Oek and has fallen in lake around peninsula Dug.
It is supposed, that abnormal air streams could become a cause of accident over lake of this helicopter Mi-2 in 2005.
The same to whom has had the luck to return, confirm: to cross air space over lake stir abnormal a wind. «Their streams incorporate and together form a turbulence zone which live it was possible to leave very much the little, - the senior scientific employee of laboratory of ecology of culture of the East of the Moscow State University Vladimir Anisimov has told« ». - besides in lake territory other-wordly levels of radiating activity» have been fixed.
However, it not unique anomalies which have been noticed here. Eyewitnesses observed strange things in area of "the Baikal triangle»: the shone spheres, sparkling concentric circles and sharp weather changes.
On the bank of lake there is the most ancient in the world an observatory - now it represents a wall in length 800 metres. Experts are assured: it has been constructed in X century BC to observe those surprising phenomena which occurred in the sky over lake.
«Long since Baikal was sacred lake of Buryats, shamans used its water in the medical purposes, - the researcher of the abnormal phenomena Vyacheslav Klimov has told. - anomalies which there was no time are fixed in reservoir territory, connected, first of all, with its geographical position. The Baikal water pool is a zone of a geological break».
Leonid Gavrilov, the head of international mobile laboratory "Kosmopoisk" makes comments
«We will wait for the report on ecological monitorings of Baikal, at me at most it is a lot of relatives in Irkutsk, me it of very interestingly, probably photo, or records of navigating devices can clear a situation with the Baikal zone. Flight at height of 5000 metres by a balloon over an abnormal zone is the most reliable, but also an unpredictable type of transport. 5000 metres it, of course, any more that place of measurements which can clear something, but certainly are an act which is reputable and attention. Presence of the Ministry of Emergency Measures, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and air defence services, simply example of imitation for researchers of a similar sort of the phenomena.
At preparation for flight we suggested to take our recorders which we use in abnormal zones. Smallest of them - in size with a battery for hours, also does not demand any service, he should be put in several places of a gondola. Unfortunately at participants was not, it is visible time, - they could not call back to us.
At us the small, pilotless catamaran, by the way, prepares for testing with very simple, reliable engine and a radio beacon for such surface researches. In Thailand, on lake of Fiery spheres «Bang Fai Naag», about city of Nong Êàé this year on October, 25th we wish it to test. The American boat with researchers last year there was gone and local people see the phenomena similar on Baikal ».
So, these qustions about Baikal AZ(anomaly zone) and Undetified Aerial Phenomens(UAP) there still have no answer now.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
And I quote........
"We're the Balloon Society of Kentucky and the BFA Convention is coming here in April, 2008!"
Have a look here if you don't believe me.
We will keep an eye on this and hope that safety is high on the BFA Convention agenda this year.
In fact high on every balloon association agenda worldwide.
I'm looking out at drizzle with passengers driving many many miles to fly this morning. Remind me again why I do this!!!!
Saturday, December 15, 2007
I also see reports of the balloons bursting in a sand storm, but obviously that needs to be taken with a big pinch of salt.
Don must have been out of the room.....
You will have to read down a bit to realise what I am talking about.
Oh and to be fair they've kindly let me have a bag or two for kite making in the past ;-)
Friday, December 14, 2007
View Larger Map
You might remember Mauritania having a slightly happier recent ballooning past as it was over this country that Brian and Bertrand completed their epic round the world voyage.
Its Friday, lots of us will be going flying this weekend. Yet again I say...... be careful.
There is always another day to go flying.
As soon as I find out more I will post....
Tourists die in balloon crash14/12/2007 12:41 - (SA)
Nouakchott - Two French tourists were killed and four seriously injured on Thursday in Mauritania when the hot air balloons they were travelling in crashed, the official AMI news agency reported.
The French tourists were part of a group of 12 people travelling in two hot air balloons in the mountainous region around Atar, 400km northeast of the capital Nouakchott, when a strong sandstorm damaged their balloons, causing them to plummet, the agency reported.
After receiving emergency treatment in Atar, the injured were transported to the capital, it added.
WILTON, Conn., Dec. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- This week FundraisingRides.org sold its 10,000th hot air balloon ride. The company, a division of Soaring Adventures of America, Inc., provides hot air balloon rides to non-profit organizations nationwide below cost on a consignment basis. The non-profit organizations use these hot air balloon rides as fundraising items in live and silent auctions.
Hot air balloon rides for two people that normally sell to consumers for $400 retail through Soaring Adventures of America are provided to non-profit organizations for $240 through FundraisingRides.org. Non-profit organizations put them in their auctions with the bids starting at $240. Most often, these rides are auctioned off at or above the retail price.
"Throughout our company history, we always offered special pricing to non-profit organizations who contacted us. Year after year, these inquiries grew. So, in 2003, we decided to formalize this process and make it simple and convenient for non-profit organizations to raise money with our hot air balloon rides. Everything they need is on our website-instructions, auction display materials and tips from other non-profit organizations who have raised money with our hot air balloon rides," says FundraisingRides.org Marketing Director, Jenna Wilkinson Roche.
The rides have broad-based appeal because they are good nationwide and are fully transferable. And, while FundraisingRides.org does promote its service in a handful of educational, community and religious publications, most of the sales growth is a result of word-of-mouth. "Organizing a live and silent auction is hard work-work that is largely performed by a dedicated volunteers. These volunteers are eager to share their best practices. And, they are spreading the word about the turnkey solution available through FundraisingRides.org," explains Ms. Roche.
For more information on hot air balloon rides, visit http://www.SoaringAdventures.com and for more information on live and silent auction services visit http://www.FundraisingRides.org. Or, call Soaring Adventures of America, Inc. headquarters at (800) 762-7464 and request a Live and Silent Auction Kit.
About Soaring Adventures of America, Inc. and FundraisingRides.org:
FundraisingRides.org is the division of Soaring Adventures of America, Inc. that is dedicated to providing non-profit organizations with fundraising opportunities. A family business founded in 1980, Soaring Adventures is America''s largest and most-trusted provider of recreational aviation rides.
Source: Soaring Adventures of America, Inc.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I hate the use of the word, "thrillseekers", balloon rides should'nt include too many thrills and spills!!!
Monday, December 10, 2007
Balloons over the Arctic
Lee Scoresby would be in good company in Levi, 155 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Finland, in February, when up to 15 hot air balloons and more than 100 balloonists soar over the slopes of Finland's biggest ski area during the annual International Arctic Hot-Air Balloon Adventure (February 7-12, 2008; www.hot-air-balloon-adventure.com).
Three-night full-board packages, including a balloon trip, a survival skills day, dog-sledding and Ski-Doo tour (and a complete set of Arctic clothing), start at around £1,010. Flights from Heathrow to Kittila (nine miles from Levi), cost from about £380 with Finnair (0870 241 4411; www.finnair.com).
Thats a flipping good price as well for everything you get.
Dropping in uninvited, with a roar and champagne
01:00 AM EST on Monday, December 10, 2007
By Tom MooneyJournal Staff Writer
A hot-air balloon makes an unscheduled, but safe, landing into the yard of Michael and Joan Donovan, of 940 West St. in Attleboro, yesterday morning, delighting neighbors.
The Providence Journal / Tom MooneyA chase crew member steadies the hot-air balloon so that Tom Perry and ballooning instructor Beth Hamilton can climb out of the wicker basket after their impromptu backyard landing.
The Providence Journal / Tom Mooney
-->From front, 9-year-old Samantha Rose; her uncle, Tom Perry, and a chase crew member push air out of the balloon so it can be packed up for the return to Rehoboth-based Balloon Fantasies. The balloonists had launched from Hill-Roberts Elementary School in Attleboro about 7:30 a.m. yesterday.
ATTLEBORO — Working on the what-goes-up principle, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect a hot-air balloon to come down.
Michael and Joan Donovan just weren’t expecting one to drop into their yard yesterday morning.
And the local police — who dispatched seven cruisers, a fire truck and an ambulance after several frantic phone calls about a descending balloon in trouble over West Street — would have preferred that it drop in on any other town.
But for the three balloonists who emerged perfectly fine and happy from their wicker basket, it was a great flight and much ado about nothing.
“Worked out great,” said Tom Perry.
Perry, his 9-year-old niece, Samantha Rose, and ballooning instructor Beth Hamilton of Rehoboth-based Balloon Fantasies had launched into the gray sky about 7:30 a.m. from Hill-Roberts Elementary School in Attleboro with an intended landing spot at Attleboro High School.
But as all balloonists know, flight plans are susceptible to change.
At about 8:30 a.m., neighbors around West Street — a corner of town just west of Route 95 and north of Route 123 — heard a strange noise outside. To some it sounded like a sputtering furnace, to others a strange gust of wind.
They opened their doors to see a big yellow, gold and purple balloon slowly descending in the still air over the bare trees. A periodic tongue of flame shot into the open end of the balloon with a lion’s roar.
Gary Morse, who lives across the street from the Donovans, looked out the window in awe as the silent, slow-motion scene played across the pane.
“I was watching the whole thing, thinking to myself, ‘Okay, it’s going to hit those trees, those electrical wires, that roof.’ But there was nothing you could do — you had to wait to see what was going to happen.”
Cars along the road stopped and pulled over. A couple of drivers got out and yelled up to the balloonists — not more than 30 feet above the trees and still descending: “Are you okay?”
“Fine,” said Tom Perry.
“My feet are cold,” yelled down Samantha Rose, who was riding in a balloon for the first time.
As the balloon approached the wide-open backyard of the Donovans, inside their raised ranch Joan and Michael were wondering what that strange noise was they were hearing.
“We thought maybe it was the wind,” Joan said.
“I though it was the washer,” said Michael.
The balloon skimmed the tops of the trees along the Donovans yard before floating over the house and dropping into the driveway next to the backyard deck.
The Donovans, who live at 940 West St., came out in nightclothes holding cups of coffee — and smiling.
“Would you like some hot cocoa?” offered Michael Donovan over the sound of approaching sirens.
Patrolman John Hynes was not particularly pleased with the balloonists or their three-man chase team, which had been following the balloon in a pickup truck.
He walked into the driveway: “You all right?” he asked.
“Oh, yeah,” said Perry.
“You know we just had seven cruisers sent to you who came buzzing through the city thinking you’re in distress and your chase car never called us to say otherwise,” Hynes said.
The officer said the Police Department has received calls in the past from residents complaining that balloonists were “buzzing their houses” and waking the neighborhood. A case could be made, Hynes said, for disturbing the peace.
Hynes said federal regulations require balloons to stay at least 400 feet above the ground unless they are descending.
Perry said he was landing and had picked out the Donovan’s yard to land after the wind died.
The balloon would have had to cross Route 95 — no more than a quarter-mile away — had the balloonists tried to reach the high school.
Hynes asked that the balloonists or their chase team to call the police the next time they decided to drop in unannounced.
Back in his cruiser, Hynes said maybe it’s “balloon culture,” but “they check their common sense at the door.”
As the team packed away the balloon, Perry delivered bottles of champagne to the Donovans and an abutting neighbor — a common gesture of appreciation in instances of unscheduled landings.
Hamilton played down the police officer’s concern: “Most people are thrilled to see a balloon land.”
Michael Donovan certainly was.
“I’m glad I was here to watch,” he said. “The last time someone dropped in was last Christmas.
“It was Santa, with a lot of presents.”
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Call yourself a hot air balloon entusiast (did I spell that correctly)
The worlds best internet balloon group is to be found here....
Or even via the badge on the right nav of this Blog.
This Australian based Ning group is fast approaching 500 members and is full of top types, from all over the place.
If you are into ballooning then you should join!!!
Thursday, December 06, 2007
BY SARAH REYNOLDS, SUN STAFF WRITER
December 5, 2007 - 10:41PM
The Yuma City Council officially amended the city code Wednesday night to regulate the use of large balloons and other inflatable devices. This issue was brought to the city in March by representatives from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma and the Yuma International Airport.
Both organizations had experienced incidents where pilots were forced to maneuver around clusters of balloons that had broken away from their tethers and drifted into the flight path. "The real driving force behind the balloon regulation is the airport. That's how it really came to light," said Mayor Larry Nelson.
The City Council approved the amendment unanimously during its regular meeting. "It honestly does pose a flight hazard," said Craig Williams, airport director. "They float up in the sky and wind up in the path of aircraft. ... The flight path of an aircraft is much more than the runway. It encompasses what's a visual overhead pattern. ... It gets real complicated." Capt. Rob Dolan, MCAS Yuma public affairs officer, added that balloons could also be ingested into the engines of aircraft during flight, disrupting the craft's ability to perform.
Incidents like this were once not uncommon when car dealerships along 32nd Street, near the airport, were using extremely large balloons or long streamers of balloons in their advertising. However, after they were made aware of the issue, that type of advertising dissipated. Dolan said MCAS has not had a balloon-related incident since March. The case is the same at the airport. "About a year ago, when you drove down 32nd, there were balloons all over the place." "From my perspective, the car dealers have been very responsible. I think all we had to do was point out the safety issue," Williams said. Smaller, more easily tethered balloons are still used in lots.
Some provisions of the ordinance include:
• Individual balloons/inflatable devices or strings of balloons shall not be flown higher than the building located on the site.
• It shall be unlawful for any person to allow individual balloons to cross into the public right-of-way, whether in the air or on the ground.
• The first violation is punishable as a class 3 misdemeanor with a fine not to exceed $500, by imprisonment for not more than one day, or by both fine or imprisonment. A second violation is punishable as a class 2 misdemeanor with a fine not to exceed $750 or by imprisonment for not more than five days or by both. A third violation could result in a fine of as much as $1,000 and/or up to 10 days imprisonment.
Balloons help study radiation
Thursday, 06 Dec 2007 12:34
The Van Allen Belts encircle Earth containing high-energy electrons and ions
A flotilla of 40 balloons flying at high altitude is to become Nasa's answer to studying the hazardous radiation trapped by the Earth's magnetic field.The type of radiation in the Van Allen
Belts can be harmful to astronauts, orbiting satellites and aircraft flying in high altitude polar routes.
These belts are doughnut-shaped regions encircling Earth that contain high-energy electrons and ions.The new $10 million (£4.95 million) mission, named the Balloon Array for Radiation-belt Relativistic Electron Losses (Barrel), will provide scientific insights into how and where the Van Allen Belts periodically drain into Earth's upper atmosphere.
The balloons are set to launch in conjunction with Nasa's radiation belt storm probes satellites in 2011."The study of near-Earth radiation is very important," said John Mather, Nobel Prize recipient and chief scientist of Nasa's science mission directorate."This research will provide information to mitigate problems here on our planet as well as permit better design and operations of new technology in space and safer passage for space explorers."The balloons will be launched from Antarctica and will expand to roughly the size of a large blimp when they reach the near-space research altitude.
By releasing a balloon per day the research team aim to form a ring of balloons encircling the South Pole.
The Northampton Balloon Festival will go ahead on the Racecourse next year and not Franklin's Gardens, it has been decided.
After organisers Northampton Borough Council raised doubts about the future of the balloon festival last month due to rising costs, Northampton Saints put in an offer of help. This year's festival lost up to £160,000 after appalling weather and falling attendance figures.Saints officials said they would consider hosting the festival next year after successfully taking on the Bonfire Night fireworks, which were abandoned by the council for being too costly.Now the council has agreed to keep the festival in its usual location, but thanked the club for their offer of support.The decision to go ahead with the festival, as reported in Tuesday's Chronicle & Echo, was made by the borough council's cabinet members. Councillor Brendan Glynane (Lib Dem, Delapre), the councillor responsible for the festival, said an admission fee, which was introduced for the first time this year, was set to remain but added the council was committed to making t
he festival break even.He said: "The cabinet agreed that the balloon festival will go ahead, which I'm sure is welcome news for Northampton residents."It's a flagship event, putting Northampton on the map nationally and internationally. But our challenge is to put the event on a firm financial footing. "The balloon festival cannot continue to make a loss and be a drain on council resources. We are going to put that right."We will now invite members of the Conservative and Labour opposition parties to join a working group to advise the cabinet on the long-term strategy for the event."There will be an admission charge for this event to continue. How much that will be has not yet been decided."The 2008 festival will take place on August 15, 16 and 17.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
by Jonathan SchofieldUFO hunters have been inundated with reports of strange objects in the skies above Mansfield, Ashfield and Shirebrook. A number of bemused locals have described seeing objects resembling glowing orange ‘balls of fire’ that hover for a while and then quickly disappear.
Witnesses have described the glowing balls zig-zagging across the sky and moving too quickly to be fireworks, planes or helicopters.
Now experts on the unexplained at The Ashfield Paranormal Investigation Team (TAPIT) have been flooded with calls from eagle-eyed residents claiming to have seen the strange sight.TAPIT team leader Lee Roberts said checks with East Midlands Airport and local air bases revealed that nothing should have been in that air space at that height at the times the sightings were reported.
Team members have ruled out lanterns and hot air balloons as an explanation because neither can change direction as described and balloons have intermittent flames rather than a constant one.
The mysterious balls were first reported in the skies above Alfreton last month, but they returned on Saturday when Warsop resident Tim Palmer spotted an unusual object at around 3.30pm.
“We were coming from Glapwell, towards Pleasley round-about when I noticed on the left over Shirebrook a large ball of flames,” said Tim.
“We pulled up in the lay-by to take a closer look. We thought it was a plane on fire as it was too big for a lantern or a hot air balloon. As we watched, we could see smoke behind it and another small ball following it.
“It was falling out of the sky at a 45 degree angle. After about 10 seconds it went over the horizon. It was very strange as there was no noise.”
TAPIT will continue an investigation into the objects and anyone with video footage or pictures should contact the team at email@example.com or through the website www.tapitcrew.info. [link]
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Sometimes Jeff Barlett drives and sometimes he flies during hot air balloon competition.
Last year Barlett was crew chief for his wife, Sandy, who was the pilot. This year, the roles were reversed and Sandy was crew chief and Jeff was the pilot.
On Sunday, Jeff Barlett, 44, of Sharpsville, Pa., was announced as the winner of the 2007 Holiday Balloon Fest.
He finished ahead of Pat Brouillet of Kankakee, Ill., last year's winner. In third place was Scott McClinton of Prospect, Ky., while Chase Donner of Fisherville, Ky., was fourth and Alan Blount of Palos Park, Ill., fifth.
Barlett scored the highest on Saturday's only flight of the weekend, a four-part task in some changing winter winds.
"It was pretty fun," Barlett said after the awards ceremony, held at the Heritage Dome in downtown Battle Creek. "We had a box wind so we climbed back up and made a second pass. It's rare when you can do that."
Lower level winds Saturday morning were from the southeast, and Event Director Derrick Jones placed targets at Kellogg Community College and then two more further west.
Pilots said they could climb to 6,000 feet and find winds that took them back to the east so they could drop back down and make a second pass, attempting to fly closer to the targets.
Barlett said he flew for more than an hour and the second pass paid off.
An engineer and a pilot for 12 years, he said he was trained by his wife who has flown more than 20.
He crewed for her last year so this Holiday Balloon Fest is the first time he has flown in Battle Creek.
He also is a fixed wing aircraft pilot and said, "I just like being up in the air, flying balloons or airplanes."
But he had an added satisfaction because in 2000 the couple built their balloon, named Aida, themselves.
"We were competing against some pretty good pilots and were flying something built in our garage," he said.
The Holiday Balloon Fest is not the first championship for Jeff Barlett.
In 2006 he won the team championship at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Festival Balloon Classic Invitational in Canton, Ohio, with teammates Paul Petrehn of Howell and Joe Zvada of Wadsworth, Ohio.
"He is a very good pilot," Petrehn said Sunday. "We just can't get him out to fly enough."
Barlett said the difficulty is finding a crew so both he and his wife can fly at the same time, something they want to do more frequently.
"We take turns but we both enjoy the competition," he said.
Although weather forced cancellation of four of five scheduled flights, Jones said the event remains a success. Crowds of people gathered at the college both Friday and Saturday night for scheduled balloon glows, concerts and children's activities even though winds prevented the pilots from inflating their envelopes.
"Despite the challenging weather, I think the people enjoyed it," Jones said.
"I was shocked (Saturday) night that we had a decent turnout in the wind and snow and freezing rain.
"I think it shows there is a passion to enjoy and see the balloons," he said. "They wanted to see a glow. They come out and they look forward to it."
Jones said planning for the 10th annual event has begun, scheduled for Dec. 5 through 7, 2008.
Trace Christenson can be reached at 966-0685 or firstname.lastname@example.org
It was his that made a blimp for freedom a few posts ago.
Escaping not once, but twice.
I just love his blog and ahem.... "Worldwide Search" typical Americans!!
They play rounders just like girls here and call is something I have forgotten and have a World series because Canada turns up. Anyhow I'm going off topic.
Good luck Brian, I hope it comes home soon, can't help noticing that eveything to the right of the map is blue.
I will watch eagerly.
Although I suspect the chance of me finding it and claiming the $2000 dollar reward on the Western Shores of South Africa are quite slim.
(And for the blimp, keep going the worlds a big place to explore)
Must admit to a bias here as most of the balloons I have flown have been from his stable. The rest from Phil Kavannagh maybe Sydney will do the same for him.
Pair offered Freedom of the City
Dr Cameron is closely associated with the Bristol Balloon FiestaTwo men who have made "extraordinary" contributions to Bristol are to be offered the Freedom of the City.
Bristol City Council will offer Dr Don Cameron and Paul Stephenson the honour at a specially-called council meeting this afternoon.
Dr Cameron, 68, will be honoured for his contribution to the art and science of modern hot-air ballooning.
Mr Stephenson, 70, will be honoured for his public service and race relations work in the city.
The ceremony will take place in the council chamber where council members will vote to declare the two men honorary freemen of the city.
They will then be invited by Lord Mayor Royston Griffey to sign the book of honorary freeman and receive commemorative scrolls.
Dr Cameron is the founder of balloon makers Cameron Balloons and is closely associated with the world-famous Bristol Balloon Fiesta.
In 1964, Paul Stephenson led the campaign to secure equal opportunities for the black community to work for the Bristol Omnibus Company.
He won the support of Harold Wilson, the then Leader of the Opposition and later Prime Minister.
He is also a founder member of the Bristol Black Archives Project, which is credited with building closer relations between all the communities of Bristol.
Monday, December 03, 2007
NEW DELHI: Floating over the sand dunes of Thar desert or the blue-white beaches of Goa on a hot air balloon may be just a fantasy now, but the dream is all set to turn into a reality. The government has initiated steps to commercialise ‘ballooning aviation’ to herald a new era in adventure tourism — balloon safari. The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) would soon notify guidelines for ‘balloon aircraft’ and incorporate them in the civil aviation requirements (CAR) which guides the entire civil aviation industry in India.
The ministry of civil aviation recently granted no-objection certificate to the Delhi-based E-factor to start commercial ‘balloon safari’ operations in Rajasthan. DGCA is likely to give non-schedule operator permit (NSOP) to the company by the end of this year.
This permission is usually awarded for chartered airline operations. “We have created a separate category in CAR to encourage ballooning and airships in the country. The move is aimed at promoting several forms of aviation in the country.
This would help turn various hill stations in the country into tourist spots,” an official in the ministry of civil aviation said. A company planning to start ballooning is required to have a start-up capital of Rs 25 lakh.
A hot air balloon is also considered an aircraft which travels by moving with the wind. On the other hand, an airship is a buoyant aircraft which is propelled through the air in a controlled manner. E-factor has leased two balloons to begin operation from early next year. “Once we succeed in making this adventure popular in few states,we would multiply the number of balloons in the next few years,” E-factor chairman Harish Garg said. “We propose to charge $350 per hour per passenger,” he added.
Hot air balloons are the most common balloon aircraft across the world. The balloon gets airborne as the air inside it is heated, making it lighter than atmospheric air.
Depending upon the size, price of a hot air balloon varies from Rs 30 lakh to Rs 3 crore. The ideal weather for these flying machines is winter when outside temperature is low and air-pockets are rare.
While a small balloon can take off with two passengers in its bucket, a bigger balloon may fly with 25 passengers.