5WC

Rebranded Visual

Sheep (G-BYYYE) - Rebranding 

In 2008 I made a decision that, as a result of having a few friends who wished to learned to fly and not owning a balloon capable of supporting their interest, I would purchase a second hand balloon with the plan to potentially sell advertising space on the side to pay its purchase costs.

So after a search of the 2nd hand market, a potentially suitable envelope was found. A green Lindstrand 77A – G-BYYE – called Sheep. Owned at the time by Dugi Cook in Norwich, he had purchased the balloon to use as a “winter envelope” so that he could keep his main balloon clean and fresh during the summer months. However, with the British weather being as poor and unpredictable during the winter months as it is, the balloon had seen very little use, spending most of it’s life sitting in storage awaiting another day.

This lack of use had been compounded further by the fact that before Dugi Cook bought the balloon from the Lindstrand Balloons, who manufactured it, they had kept it as a stock balloon. Sitting unregistered and unused on a shelf in their factory. Originally built with the idea of artworking the base of the balloon with cartoon sheep (hence it’s name) for various reasons, the ovine applique never happened and instead it was eventually sold to Dugi. Essentially, the same start in life as Tutti Frutti – G-BYIY.

My first flight in Sheep was from The Woodcote Steam Rally, taking off from a local Recreation Ground early in the morning and flying south towards Reading. Conditions were great for flying and with landing sites in short supply, I ended up flying on and on, even contemplating landing in a supermarket car park before ultimately, flying for 2 hours landing a long way from home but in a lovely grass field south of Reading.

Sadly though, the plans to rebrand the balloon for a local organisation fell through when they changed their logo/colour scheme, and while over the course of 18 months I made 12 free flights and 2 tethers in the balloon, the fact that I never managed to repay the initial purchase cost through sponsorship meant that the balloon had to be sold to recover the initial costs. And so, in December 2010, Sheep was passed to a new owner – Christopher Wilkinson – who was after a private sports balloon to fly. Since then, Christopher has passed ownership on to Kenneth Kalstrom of Virgin Balloon Flights. Sheep as a balloon had plenty of idiosyncrasies: a singular colour scheme, wonky load tapes and even a “scroop”; but that made it all the more special. There was just something about it as a balloon that meant it got completely under your skin and even today, I still miss it!

Flying Sheep… Memories by Jonathan Harris

Coming soon…