G-BYIY Test Inflation

Tutti - Test Inflation

18th May 1999 – Oswestry, Shropshire

Tutti Frutti is a Lindstrand 56B made in Spring 1999 as a stock balloon to use up left over fabric from other jobs. To date, I believe it is the only 56,000 cubic foot “B-Type” envelope they have ever made, with larger volumes seeming more popular with customers; and with the B Type being essentially phased out of the Lindstrand production line-up it may well never get a sibling to share the sky with.

We came to buy it because at the time my father left Lambert Smith Hampton, a commercial property company and sponsor/owner of the balloon we flew. As a result, we felt there was a high chance that we would lose the balloon and so needed a replacement to allow us to keep flying. With the Lambert Smith Hampton balloon having been made by Lindstrand, my father spoke to their sales staff to see what was available and Tutti Frutti was the answer. A deal was done, a new basket and burner made, and G-BYIY came into our ballooning family.

Having collected the balloon from Oswestry and gathered together the necessary extra equipment, Tutti, as we affectionately call her, took to the skies for her maiden flight by pure chance, on 21st Novemeber 1999, exactly 216 years since the Montgolfier brothers‘ let two human passengers loose in their new flying machine! Now of course, and I’d prefer to think of it more in terms of “in keeping with those original pioneers” and not poor planning in the exciting by father and son, but, we managed to take off from Streatley Recreation Ground without any maps, deciding to land after a very enjoyable flight on Bradfield College’s golf course as we had landed there before!

Since that first flight, the balloon sadly hasn’t seen the sky as often as it should have. Fate, in one respect, conspired against us by allowing us to continue flying the Lambert Smith Hampton balloons meaning that Tutti Frutti became something of a luxury. I used her to learn to fly and then sadly, kept her hidden away, flying her on special occasions, happy to keep her “perfect” for future times. As a result, while I write this she is approaching her 15th birthday having amassed less than 70 hours, and due to her weighing a lot of the volume of balloon she is, we’ve placed an order for a lighter larger balloon built using the latest lightweight fabrics available. Once again she’s about to be resigned back into darkness.

When Bumble (G-CJXD) arrived, with the knowledge that we’d never fly Tutti again – she was smaller and heavier – we made the only decision we could. She deserves to fly and so, as of 15th December 2014, Tutti Frutti has left us, off to see the world starting in Thailand. Oh and in case you were wondering – Lindstrand named her!

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