Flight Report: G-DIPZ ~ Double Dipping

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.

These balloons were my childhood. I had to have it. I had to reunite them. And so, began one of the most stressful experiences of my life. I won’t explain it all now, buy me a drink and I’ll explain the tales of inspections, paperwork, the Belgian CAA, and in the end, the bending over backwards of staff at Cameron Balloons in Bristol, and our own CAA, to get my little balloon back in the sky.

And that day came on the morning 24th April 2013. 13 days after the correct paperwork had been issued a gap in the rain appeared and that was all the motivation I needed – I was going flying. G-DIPZ was going flying.

And so, with my father piloting G-CDYL so that good friend and nominated “official photographer” Ian Berry could fly alongside me and capture the moment, we arrived at Streatley Recreation Ground, set everything up and for 75 minutes in near perfect conditions, I realised a dream and flew out of Streatley, over my old family home – now sadly a building site – and on over the Berkshire Downs that have always been my home before coming in to land just north of Compton.

G-DIPZ Streatley - 24th April 2013AM Track

Photographs © Hilary Dobson, Keith Harbor, Ian Berry & Sidney Sevrin

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

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