Category: Choc Dips

Streatley Nightglow 2015

Posted on by 5WC in Choc Dips, Hot Air Ballooning, Lambert Smith Hampton
Streatley Nightglow 2015 - Header

For over 20 years on the second Monday in August, or the Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday depending on the weather, hot air balloons have gathered on Streatley Recreation Ground and put on a tethered display. Initially this was started purely as a thank you to the local residents for allowing balloons to fly from the site, but slowly, it has grown into a well known local event, drawing visitors from across the region and with the aid of some local beer and barbecued meat, raised much needed funds to help purchase, maintain and develop the Recreation Ground into a much enjoyed and used facility.

This year’s glow was all about the forecast. Originally slated for the Monday, the “Met Men” were saying it’d be too windy, that the trees would thrash around and the conditions just too unsafe for tethering. And they were right, however, give it a few hours and you’d get the polar opposite. Push it back one day and it’d be slightly overcast but light winds. In fact, it’d be virtually stationary. So, without a moment’s thought the glow moved. Tuesday arrived just as predicted with a still greyness that justified the decision and preparations were made. Read more

Flight Report: G-DIPZ ~ Here Comes The Rain Again

Posted on by 5WC in Choc Dips, Hot Air Ballooning

While it would be nice to fly under crystal blue skies on a warm sunny evening as the chocolate box countryside basks in the last throws of a beautiful days memory, but we can’t always get what we want, or to be precise, we’d hardly ever fly if it did. Occasionally you have to grab a chance to get a flight in between patches of weather and accept, that even though it’s going to be cold, grey and overcast, a flight is a flight and an opportunity to take to the skies once again.

Now sadly, there is no video this time, purely because I’m not used to these early mornings at the moment and my brain wasn’t in “videographer” mode, so attaching the camera rig to the balloon while it’s inflating and leaving it lying on wet grass, results not unsurprisingly, in a wet camera case and therefore, footage that isn’t sharp and clear but rather mottled and hazy. Oh well, lesson learnt.
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Flight Report: G-DIPZ ~ Dropping In To The Berkshire Show

Posted on by 5WC in Choc Dips, Hot Air Ballooning

If you’ve read this blog you’ll be fully aware that my Father organises the hot air balloon display every year for The Royal County Of Berkshire Show. As a result, on the 3rd weekend of September, I have regularly flown out of the showground, but I have never flown into the Showground.

The weather forecast for the 2013 Show, from a ballooning point of view, wasn’t great. It’s the old weather forecasting delight of “sunshine and showers”, which usually means it’ll be a bit windy to fly let alone, the issues surrounding ballooning and rain. Especially unpredictable “showers”. So when the forecast for the night before was showing signs of being flyable, it seemed daft not to take it.
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Flight Report: G-DIPZ ~ Double Dipping

Posted on by 5WC in Choc Dips, Hot Air Ballooning

I think it’s fair to say that for a long, long time this day looked like it may never happen. The previous summer I had purchased a small, 17,000 cubic foot cloudhopper from Belgium – OO-BRV – which at the time, in a non-flyable state, not because of there was anything technically wrong with the balloon, but simply because, the paperwork wasn’t in order.

And after all, how much trouble can paperwork cause!? It turns out rather a lot!

The reason I wanted this balloon, the reason I was prepared to undertake this paperwork challenge was that this balloon holds a secret. It wasn’t always OO-BRV; it started its life as G-DIPZ, the backup balloon to G-DIPI – or the old Choc Dips special shape balloon I already owned.
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Flight Reports: G-DIPI ~ Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2012

Posted on by 5WC in Choc Dips, Hot Air Ballooning

Every August, Ashton Court in Bristol plays host to the UK’s largest free outdoor event (and the largest annual balloon meet in Europe) – the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. This year, we were asked whether we’d like to bring the Choc Dips special shape balloon to the Fiesta – a balloon not seen at the Fiesta for 22 years having last flown there in 1990! Of course, we said yes!

Mass Launches take place in the morning and evening on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday but to “open” the Fiesta in style they organise a Special Shapes Rodeo on the Thursday evening. Unfortunately, as you’ll have no doubt read in previous blog posts about my time piloting the Churchill Dog special shape – we’ve been unable to free fly from the Shapes Rodeo for a number of years – however, things were a little different in 2012…
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The Streatley Nightglow Is A Roaring Success

Posted on by 5WC in Choc Dips, Hot Air Ballooning

Every August balloonists from all over the Thames Valley descend on Streatley Recreation Ground to inflate their balloons at dusk when they glow like giant lightbulbs for the enjoyment of the local villagers.

Steatley Glow 2011

The nightglow was orginally started as a way for the local balloonist to say thank you to the village for allowing us to fly from the Recreation Ground but, over the last few years, has grown in size, to a point where it is a real focal event for the village with hundreds of people turning out and a BBQ that always runs of out food. Read more