Flight Report: G-CEGG ~ Hedgehopping

One of the nice things about owning a cloudhopper hot air balloon is having the ability to grab a flying slot at the last minute. Unlike a traditional balloon which requires a number of people to go flying (passengers, crew etc.) and the use of a big 4×4 to tow a trailer as the balloon flies ready for recovery once landed, you can simply throw a cloudhopper into the back of a family sized car and with one driver go flying. Perfect!

With a forecast of very slow westerly winds, I made a last minute decision that there was in face enough wind to safely fly and not risk becoming becalmed, I made a phone call, found a driver and headed up to The Dog House at Frilford Heath to join two other balloons in  taking to the skies.

Launching first, I climbed quickly to 3,000ft to assess exactly what wind speed and direction there was. While the old saying “Right with Height” describing how the wind veers in a clockwise direction as you gain altitude was true, the wind speed actually slowed to almost nothing and so I descended again to pick up speed.

In the end, most of the flight was undertaken between 1000-1500ft at walking pace. Flying on almost an identical track over Abingdon airfield as the previous morning, I skirted around the northern edge of Abingdon, actually tracking directly along the ring road for about 10 minutes!

Finally I managed to pick up the perfect wind to take me to Radley College and the perfect landing site of the edge of their cricket pitch. Unfortunately I don’t have a photograph, but I landed right alongside John Rose (flying the Oxford Balloon Company balloon) in almost the exact position I had started the flight in at The Dog House an hour earlier!

G-CEGG The Dog House 17th May 2012 PM Track
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Posted on by 5WC in G-CEGG, Hot Air Ballooning First Edition

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