5WC

G-CEGG Manufacturer Design Visual

I have always been drawn to cloudhoppers. Ever since I first saw one taking to the skies from one frosty morning at an Icicle meet they have captured me and my imagination. Their diminutive stature, their understated beauty, to me they are ballooning and thus, flying, in its most simplistic form. They are my passion, and where my ballooning heart truly lies.

After I became a pilot and got my licence it wasn’t a case of if, but rather when, I would buy a cloudhopper. Sadly though, there isn’t a large quantity available on the second hand market, and so purchasing new was the only real way to go. Now thankfully, their small scale meant a lower, but still not cheap, price tag and so it took a lot of shifts, a lot of overtime, behind the bar in my local pub to raise the money needed – but I got there!

And so, in 2006 I commissioned Lindstrand to build me a cloudhopper. This created a major problem – design. What should it look like? Originally the plan was to create a balloon we could use to advertise the public rides we offered and a design was created, which never quite looked right and so was rejected. Although we later recycled the colour scheme on to G-CCXD, when we bought a new balloon to expand the business. Having failed to come up with a design to assist the company, and having decided to change direction and make it purely a private balloon, for me, a lot of discussions took place with the visual designers at Lindstrand’s and a lot of options – 7 in fact – were created. Of course, as is so often the case with anything this personal, none of the designs felt right and were sadly all rejected. And so going back to the drawing board, two more were created, one by Lindstrand which was a play on their Demonstrator colour scheme and the other, by me, a homage to the Cadbury’s Creme Egg – a special shape balloon and product that held huge sentimental value.

Of course, sentiment won out and I went with my Creme Egg design. With the design now finalised and order placed, it was just a case of waiting for the balloon to be built and in October 2006, a few weeks before my 23rd birthday I traveled up to the factory to pick up the best birthday present I could have asked for- G-CEGG – my very own Lindstrand 25A cloudhopper. Now it should be pointed out that the registration, G-CEGG, is of course a reinforcement of the colour scheme and it’s connection to a chocolaty Easter treat!

One week after I picked it up, the weather was kind enough to allow me to squeeze it into my parents back garden for a quick tether to learn how it all fitted together and my first free flight took place at the start of November, when I took off from The Down’s School in Compton, landing 30 minutes later in Upper Basildon.

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