Category: Lambert Smith Hampton

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-CDYL ~ The Perfect Morning To Learn To Fly

Posted on by 5WC in Hot Air Ballooning, Lambert Smith Hampton

After the perfect conditions of last nights flight and with the weather still providing near perfect flying conditions, it seemed foolish not to make the most of it and go for another flight. With the wind having backed overnight from the Westerly winds that gave us a track down the M4 from Hungerford, to a Southerly wind this morning, but still perfectly acceptable, we once again set off to Folly Dog Leg near Hungerford.

This time, however, rather than just going for a pleasure flight, we were flying with a purpose. Jack Kennedy, whose father has been ballooning and crewing with us for years, and in fact, has essentially grown up ballooning with us, is now at an age whereby he’s old enough to gain his own licence and with oodles of enthusiasm, is speeding through his training. Read more

Flight Report: G-CDYL ~ Sharing The Skies With Friends

Posted on by 5WC in Hot Air Ballooning, Lambert Smith Hampton

One of the biggest attractions for a lot of people towards hot air ballooning is the social side that accompanies it. Whether that’s with the passengers you share a flight with, being in the sky alongside other balloons, or simply the post-flight drink in the P.U.B. after. While I adore cloudhopper flying, there are times when it’s just nice to sit back, relax and partake in a flight with friends, rather than on your own.

Tonight was exactly one of those nights. With glorious sunshine, light winds and a balloon it almost appeared to be begging to take to the skies: my father, myself and good friend, Clive Brash set up for a flight from Folly Dog Leg in Hungerford. On arrival, not unexpectedly, we found a launch site full of other balloons and balloonists all having had the same idea.
Read more

Flight Report: G-CDYL ~ Perfect Conditions For The Perfect 21st Birthday Present

Posted on by 5WC in Hot Air Ballooning, Lambert Smith Hampton

Pilots’ from time to time have been accused of believing they are the most impotant people on an aircraft, whether it’s a commercial airliner or a simple hot air balloon, the reality is that no matter what the pilot thinks, without the ground crew, no aircraft would ever take to the skies!

When one of our ground crew asked if I could fly his daughter Rachel and her boyfriend as a present for his 21st birthday it was my absolute pleasure to say yes. Unfortunately, low cloud scuppered any chance of being able to fly them on his actual birthday, however, only two days later and in near perfect conditions, we were able to take to the sky over South Oxfordshire for arguably, one of the best flights I’ve ever had.
Read more

Flight Report: G-CDYL ~ Start Of Season Test Flight (A Pilot’s MOT)

Posted on by 5WC in Hot Air Ballooning, Lambert Smith Hampton

A hot air balloon is a registered aircraft in exactly the same way as a commercial airliner, fixed-wing plane or helicopter – as a result, you must have a pilot’s licence to legally fly a balloon. In the UK, we have currently have two types of licence for balloons – a Private Pilot’s Licence which allows you to fly a balloon as long as it’s not for hire or reward (i.e. just a pleasure flight with friends on a sunny evening) and a Commercial Pilot’s Licence which does allow you to fly for hire and reward and earn money from flying.

Holder’s of a Commercial Pilot’s Licence, however, and rightly so, have to undergo a test flight with a Civil Aviation Authority appointed examiner every year to ensure continued competency to the required high level of flying. I hold a Commercial Pilot’s Licence, and therefore, have to undertake a test flight at the start of every season. A flight I make with my local examiner, and balloon inspector,  Chris Dunkley. Read more

Flight Report: G-CDYL ~ Marching Over South Oxfordshire & West Berkshire

Posted on by 5WC in Hot Air Ballooning, Lambert Smith Hampton

Hot air ballooning is a very weather dependant activity and unfortunately some people can arrange balloon flight after flight only for it to be cancelled as the weather puts play to safe flight. For others, it sometimes just happens that you are in the right place at the right time and take to the skies at the first time of asking.

Chris Aram, an old school friend, was in exactly that situation when he rang me on a Friday afternoon to ask if would be possible to organise a last minute balloon flight for himself and his wife Hayley that weekend. High pressure was building across the UK and while Saturday looked windy, Sunday would be flyable.
Read more

Flight Report: G-CDYL ~ The Brrrrr-fect Way To Start 2012!

Posted on by 5WC in Hot Air Ballooning, Lambert Smith Hampton

It is possible to fly a hot air balloon throughout the year, flying is simply controlled by the weather. As a result, you won’t see many hot air balloons flying during the winter months simply because the weather is usually unsettled bringing high winds and rain. However, from time to time, a high-pressure system will arrive over the UK plummeting the temperature, bringing overnight frosts, low lying mist, and light winds.

While few and far between, winter flying can be visually one of the most beautiful conditions to fly in, and so with a small ridge of high pressure covering the UK I jumped at the chance to fly and get 2012s flying underway. The other nice thing about winter ballooning is that, due to the lack of thermal activity, you don’t get the gusting winds during the day that you get in the summer. This means that you can fly at virtually any time of the day, or go for a longer flight than normal. Read more

Flight Report: G-CDYL ~ Jo & Ben Fly Over The Thames Valley

Posted on by 5WC in Hot Air Ballooning, Lambert Smith Hampton

The weather recently has been rather confusing. At a time of year when people start to think about putting the heating on in their houses and digging out that winter blanket the UK has been basking in a true Indian summer. With beautifully clear blue skies and high pressure bringing light winds and perfect balloon conditions to the area, there have been ample opportunities to take to the skies.

During the summer an old school friend had contacted me to ask whether it would be possible to surprise her boyfriend with a flight for their 1 year anniversary. The weather annoyingly didn’t play ball and as a result, high winds and rain put pay to being able to fly them on the actual day. Read more