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Up, up and away!

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Posted 15th June 2008 at 23:33 by Simo
Updated 18th June 2008 at 00:22 by Simo (updated with photos and text.)

Suie booked a balloon ride for the two of us approx. a year ago. The experience was a gift from Suies nana, Dorothy... it was something to remember her by. RIP.

We've been trying to book the flight for 11 months now. The way this works is you have to ring the pilot up at 11pm the night before your flight. Dependant upon weather conditions, he/she tell you if the flight is going ahead and from which site you will be taking off from.

We booked a dawn flight... and eventually, tonight, we got the all clear to fly! So... at 6am in the morning, we shall be flying from Whitchurch to where ever the wind takes us

We need to get up and out of the house by 5am, so I better get things packed and get off to bed!

I'll post some photos tomorrow!

It better not get windy over night, as we really don't want this to get cancelled again!

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UPDATE
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So... the balloon ride did go ahead! We had to wake up at 4am to get ready and leave the house by 5am. It took us just less than an hour to drive to Whitchurch.

We arrived at the hotel/golf club where the balloon was taking off from and waited for everyone to arrive. As quickly as possible we then all mucked in to get the balloon setup. when you see this thing laid out flat on the floor, its pretty shocking just how big it is!

The guys got some fans running... which were pretty damn noisy for the houses nearby, considering it was just past 6am!! Within about 15 minutes the balloon was almost air-filled and the pilot began to heat things up a little!

Very quickly the balloon was ready and the pilot 'Max' shouted all aboard! This next bit all happened rather quickly. We clambered into our positions in the basket and had a couple of changes to even out the weight... then before we knew it, we were soaring up into the skies above!

For the first few minutes everyone was looking around, trying to work out for themselves whether or not they were happy with what was going on... up and up we went... I recall the pilot said we were rising at 600ft per minute at one point. Ofcourse, whether we were happy with what was going on or not... we were only going in one direction... upwards!

Once we were at altitude and floating around, it was amazing how still the air was. I couldn't feel any wind at all... it was an ideal day for ballooning! It wasn't cold at all and when Max gave the burners a blast you really could feel intense heat from the large burners!

We were up in the air for about one hour. It was so peaceful it was unbelievable! It was great being able to see all of the countryside and landscape beneath us... it really allowed you to see things from a different perspective!

We'd drifted approx. 15 miles, as the crow flies and it was time to set down the balloon. Max picked what looked like a clean, smooth field and told us to brace for landing. The balloon literally did the hop, skip and jump, finally coming to rest on the third touchdown!

We waited a few mionutes for the chase-car to speak with the farmer and confirm it was OK for us to retrieve the balloon from his field. Apparently some farmers are pretty awkward and either refuse or charge a hefty fee for access to their property. Once we got the OK from the farmer, Max started to 'lay down' the balloon.

Laying down the balloon might sound quite simple, but believe me... it's not! Myself and another guy were asked to jump out of the basket and grab hold of a rope, which was attached to the upper-most point of the balloon. We then had to run down the field and try to pull the balloon over!

At first, we thoght we had it sussed and it was leaning over after our first big pull... then it decided to stand itself up straight again, literally dragging me and this other guy through the field, skidding on our heels! We got the buggar down on our second attempt, but it really was hard work!

Once the balloon was down on the ground we had to package it up and pack it all away, before having a champagne toast to celebrate our achievement! It was a fantastic experience, which I would most definately do again! If you;re thinking about going on a balloon ride... DO IT!

Here's a story board of photos of the day...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg balloon1_x.jpg (105.8 KB, 61 views)
File Type: jpg balloon2_x.jpg (86.9 KB, 60 views)
File Type: jpg balloon3_x.jpg (59.5 KB, 60 views)
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File Type: jpg balloon7_x.jpg (70.8 KB, 56 views)
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File Type: jpg balloon11_x.jpg (70.0 KB, 59 views)
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File Type: jpg balloon13_x.jpg (90.6 KB, 55 views)
File Type: jpg balloon14_x.jpg (87.7 KB, 59 views)
Posted in Simo' Says...
Views 3089 Comments 8
Total Comments 8

Comments

  1. Old Comment
    barrett's Avatar
    hope you managed to get up in the air!

    Looking forwards to the flame photos
    Posted 16th June 2008 at 14:34 by barrett barrett is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Simo's Avatar
    Ive updated my blog entry with a group of photos and also some details from the day.

    In sumamry... it was great!!!
    Posted 18th June 2008 at 00:24 by Simo Simo is offline
  3. Old Comment
    barrett's Avatar
    looks great!

    Really want to go for a hot air balloon ride now!!!

    Do you need a liecene to fly one?
    Posted 19th June 2008 at 22:17 by barrett barrett is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Simo's Avatar
    Yes, you do need a license... the pilot said the written part of the exam is identical to the one a Boeing 747 pilot would have to take.

    Obvisouly the one on controls would be a little bit different
    Posted 20th June 2008 at 09:58 by Simo Simo is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Amiee's Avatar
    Wow looks amazing tbh, You know the height you actually reached or rough estimate of the height you was flying around at?
    Posted 24th June 2008 at 17:00 by Amiee Amiee is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Nij's Avatar
    good pics mate - i will post some of mine from the air (in a little single prop plane) lol
    Posted 26th June 2008 at 22:28 by Nij Nij is offline
  7. Old Comment
    OLLYVTS's Avatar
    Wow those photo's look amazing from the air.

    I would love to go in a hot air ballon but i would be to scared to.
    Posted 10th July 2008 at 13:51 by OLLYVTS OLLYVTS is offline
  8. Old Comment
    Wow, lucky for some!!

    My boss made that Basket when he first started up his company ;)
    Posted 26th April 2009 at 15:35 by dannyboy2005 dannyboy2005 is offline
 
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