Flight Report: G-CJXD ~ 5th July 2017

Posted on by 5WC in Bumble, Hot Air Ballooning

Having been working my way through the list of “promised flights” has meant that it’s been over a year since I last flew with Woody and considering that we used to do so much flying together in Lambert Smith Hampton 3 (G-CDYL) that is an amazing fact! Also, with the wind so predominantly coming from the North and/or West I hadn’t launched from Warborough Green since Bumble first took the skies on its maiden flight either! I actually find that the enjoyment of flying can get a bit stale if you’re only ever launching from the same few fields, flying over the same few miles and landing in the same few spots and so, with the wind coming from the East and Woody around and wanting to fly, the plan was hatched to return to Warborough and get back in the air together.

The reason that I fly from Warborough (or Streatley) when the wind is coming from the East is that it allows me to fly away from the controlled Airspace at RAF Benson, taking any pressure that would bring to flying out of the equation. Balloonists, where possible, will try to avoid flying on wind directions that will take them towards controlled airspace, especially if you’ll be reaching it around the time you are looking to land, and so, it was no surprise that with almost perfect flying conditions two other balloons that decided to join Woody and myself at Warborough.

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Flight Report: G-CJXD ~ 13th June 2017

Posted on by 5WC in Bumble, Hot Air Ballooning

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.

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Flight Report: G-CEGG ~ 1st August 2015 AM

Posted on by 5WC in G-CEGG, Hot Air Ballooning

It feels like I’m getting rather good at this precision flying. Once again I’ve manage to mirror a flight I’ve previously made – taking off and landing in exactly the same places – because, almost a year to the day that I flew from Hungerford to Chieveley, I’ve done it again. However, this time I even manage to predict it before I took off.

Conditions weren’t as good as the previous morning. Rather than light winds, blue skies and a warming sun it was a little grey, misty and with a marked surface inversion meaning any wind on the surface had yet to appear but also, any sign of summer temperatures, I took to the skies trying to convince myself that it really was August and not October. Read more

Flight Report: G-CEGG ~ I Believe I Can Fly

Posted on by 5WC in G-CEGG, Hot Air Ballooning

If you’ve spent any time reading the pages of this website or working your way through the mountain of blog posts you will have probably have come to a few conclusions. Firstly, I watch too many films; secondly, I have been suffering with a few trying issues over the last few years and thirdly, it’s been a while since I last flew a balloon.

Sadly the latter comments go hand in hand with one forcibly impacting on the other to a pooint that there have been times over the past few months where I’ve actually been wondering if I’d ever fly a balloon again and was contemplating selling, mothballing or even more drastically, destroying the balloons I owned. However, aviation and ballooning has been such an important part of my life that it isn’t something I could just turn my back on. I had to get back in the air and on the horse. And so with some good weather coming up and my father agreeing to crew today was the day. I was going to fly and nothing: panic attacks, anxiety or the weather would stop me. 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