Social – Hot Air Ballooning, July 2022
Dave and Cindy
Penny and Spence
Last year, Cindy and I went up for our first ever Hot Air Ballooning experience. It was amazing, so peaceful, just floating over the fields below, looking at the Canola fields, and the bright purple fields, known as the Paterson’s curse.
Sharing our experiences with other Club members, they said that this was on their “bucket list”, and if we went again, they would come too.
Fast forward to this year, Cindy and I decided to plan this into action. Sadly, some of those that said they would like to attend, couldn’t make it, and working around Penny’s holiday calendar, brought us to today.
Finding a holiday house for the night was easy and hard at the same time. I can’t recall if they showed the outside of the house in the ad, but lets just say, when I saw it from the outside, I did double check the address. Inside, the house was great, newly renovated, a work in progress, downside, no cleaners, the house still had the previous occupants, food and etc around the house. Anyway, pushing that aside, it was very nice, warm and comfortable, especially with the wood stove going.
Tonight was an extra special night. Congratulations to Penny and Spence on your 45th year Wedding Anniversary
Dinner for the night was at the local pub, The Duke’s Inn. Deb’s Aunty and Uncle had recently moved into Northam, not having seem them for a while, we had them join us at he pub for a meal.
Feasted out, tired and with an early rise the following morning, we headed back to our little home from home for a quick chat in front of the fire before heading to bed.
Whilst been rudely awoken by the 4.30am alarm clock, it was time to get up, pack up, inhale some wake up coffee juice before heading to the Northam Airfield.
Hot Air Ballooning is a full participation activity. Having been driven to our take off point/paddock, the basket is rolled off the trailer, the balloon has its cables attached to the basket and then gets stretched out in one big line. Volunteers hold the opening to the balloon open, while big fans blow into the balloon to, you guessed it, blow it up.
Once the balloon has been blown up enough, its time to turn on the burners. Right at that moment, the surrounding air was no longer cold.
Once standing, it was time to board. The basket is divided into 5 sections. The middle section is for the pilot and his bottle of LPG for the burners. The other 4 compartments are for passengers. With peoples weights taken into account, names were called out, and you were placed in certain parts of the basket for the best weight distribution.
Once loaded, it was
UP UP and AWAY.
Click on the image above to see our in basket take off vid
Here as some of the images taken during our flight. Pics taken are from our cameras, on board GoPro’s and the ground crew.
The flight was amazing, enjoyed by all, but sadly, all things must come to an end. Whilst you can’t steer the balloon, so to speak, you change your altitude to different levels to pick up other winds running in other directions. The pilot found a great spot to land. From here, once again, with everyone helping, the balloon was packed away and loaded onto the trailer.
As part of the package, we were taken by bus to a local restaurant for a nice Champagne breakfast before heading home.
Here is some flight details from our trip, and some details about our balloon.
Flight duration was approximately 1hr, max altitude reached as 3900feet, total distance covered was 12km
The big balloon on the left was our balloon. Named Zed, Zed stands at 14 stories high, dwarfing the 2 smaller privately owned balloons. Zed has a max take off weight of 3.5t
We were very fortunate, our ballooning experience was timed perfectly. With a massive weather front behind us, and another front on the way, this was the only perfect day available. How lucky were we, as we booked this day back in April.
Thank you to those that came out on this trip, for some of you, it was a tick of the bucket list, and to quote Windward Balloon’s, “We are now Balloonatics”.
Story by Dave F.