Flight Report: G-CJXD ~ 13th June 2017

I’m sure I’ve written before about how I don’t really like to promise my friends balloon flights. It’s not that I’m anti-social and don’t want to fly with other people, it’s just that I hate saying to people “of course you can have a flight” and then letting days, weeks, months even, go by with no sign of actually fulfilling that promise. It makes me feel empty and almost dishonest, and so, whilst I am happy to fly my friends, and there is an option invitation to them all that if they ever want a balloon flight to just let me know, I try to not to physically say “yep, lets do this” and instead prefer to just ring people up when the weather looks good and say “fancy a flight…?”.

Tonight I was flying with two friends – Tom Reddy and Matthew Rogers – who fall dichotomously onto the two branches of my passenger philosophy. Tom was very much a last-minute phone call, offering him the final free space in the basket, whilst Matthew, on the other hand, had been patiently waiting for me to actually do some flying having been promised a flight a long time ago.

After such a long wait for a flight, the weather couldn’t have been better and was bordering on chocolate box perfection. Light winds, blue skies and a warm mid-summer sun made for visibility that stretched for miles and miles and a sense of time being stretched as the evening grow older.

Taking off from The Dog House at Frilford Heath, we were heading to the South, drifting slowly to the East as we went. This line meant initially we were heading towards the village of Marcham and our line took us directly towards a new housing development that the company Tom worked for had been involved in building. The winds were providing the tradition “right with height” steerage that meant that as we climbed our track swung more to the West. Not great for later in the flight when we’d be over open, maturing arable land looking for somewhere to land. So, contrary to my usual “go high early” flying technique, I kept the balloon low and just after the village, dropped it back to the surface to ensure I got as much of an Easterly drift as possible.

The descent work and soon we were heading East towards the A34, forcing me to climb high to ensure I cleared the road above the minimum legal height. The knock-on effect though was to reintroduce the Westerly line I’d previously avoided and, as I passed the village of Drayton, the line was actually running essentially parallel to the A34 as it winds down from Oxford to Newbury, forcing me to stay high for longer than I would have liked and ruling out possibility to dropping low to get a track, back to the East, and potentially to land in the same field I landed G-BYIY in April 2012!

Posted on by 5WC in Bumble, Hot Air Ballooning Updated On: 29th September 2019

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