Flight Report: G-ISOB ~ 25th May 2017

Less than 12 hours after the maiden flight of the Beat hopper, with the weather again perfect for flying, and still buzzing from the night before, it was back to a launch site for another flight. This time it would be a more private flight, the only balloon launching into the air, although this time I was being filmed! My friend Grant, who I’d swapped a flight in a plane for a flight in a balloon previously, owns a drone and whilst I’m becoming more and more adept at hanging, strapping and attaching action cameras from balloons to record the flight they always give you a ‘pilots eye’ as it were. You never get to see the balloon from the third-person perspective.

Grant was looking for interesting things to record with his drone, and living locally, it seemed the perfect opportunity to get together and record some external shots of the balloon during the preparation and initial take-off/flight phases. It’s strange how, when you start preparing and inflating a balloon you become focused on the job at hand and actually shut out the world around you. You can be in the main arena with a crowd of 100,000 people watching at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta, or under the constant surveillance of a drone and never realise it. I completely forgot that Grant and his drone were buzzing around the launch site with us and simply got on with the job of inflating the balloon.

Whilst the wind speed the night before had been quick in comparison to most balloon flights, this morning was very much slower. It was almost as though the wind had yet to wake up as I drifted North out of Streatley. Usually, when taking off from the recreation ground I would climb to height to avoid causing a disturbance to the neighbouring houses, but purely as a one-off, to allow Grant and the drone the longest possible filming time I decided to keep the balloon low and hop over the trees the line the edge.

Staying low meant I was drifting slowly West and well as North, taking me towards a group of houses, including the location of my childhood home. The current owners, who moved indirectly after us, flattened my childhood home to build the house of their dreams and this was the first time I’d seen it since the building work had finished. I thought I’d be sad to see the spot of all my happy memories gone, wiped away as if it never existed but I didn’t. I almost felt the opposite. It was nice to see new life and new memories being created on the spot, rather than somebody else recycling what was once mine into theirs.

Not wishing to disrupt the neighbouring houses more than necessary I decided it was time to climb up and away and in doing so picked up the tradition ‘Right with height’ alteration in track, drifting more to the East as I headed North. Whilst the extra right was pleasant I didn’t want to get caught up in it for too long, too much Easterly direction would push me out over maturing crops and problems later in the flight finding a landing site. By dropping the balloon low again, over open fields, I could head further North and head towards Moulsford, where two private schools and a recreation ground would provide potential, sensible, landing opportunities. As I descended it became apparent that the lower you went the more the tracked backed anticlockwise, actually swinging passed North in the last 50ft from the surface.

Posted on by 5WC in Beat, Hot Air Ballooning Updated On: 21st August 2019

Comments are closed.