To celebrate the Diamond Jubilee, Nick Langley of Airship and Balloon will be taking to the skies with a dozen other hot air balloons from Durdham Downs.
Nick tells us what to expect on the day.
Most of those attending are Bristol Pilots and we have all been lucky enough to land on the Downs occasionally, but it is a very long time since anyone took off from there – over 30 years.
Providing we have a suitable wind direction – a Northerly would be ideal – then we will take off and climb to 1,500 feet to get a panoramic view of our City. We will be able to see the iconic Suspension Bridge almost immediately, plus both Severn Bridges and the M5 Avon Bridge, closely followed by Concorde parked at Filton.
Barrow Tanks reservoir and Chew Valley Lake will soon appear on our southern horizon as we make radio contact and then visual contact with Bristol Air Traffic Control at Lulsgate. Bristol ATC usually allow us to fly through their Airspace, providing we maintain radio contact with them, although when they are very busy, we sometimes have to land, or fly high over the Airport to avoid disturbing traffic movement – it is great to watch an Airbus take off, 4,000 feet below you! I have been lucky enough to fly balloons over Bristol for the past 25 years – including a take off from Runway 27 at Bristol Airport when I flew back to Ashton Court – but at the moment of take-off you never actually know where you are going to land, we just know the general direction of the flight.
On June 4th. we will tether the very popular Churchill Dog special shape balloon during the late afternoon and at about 19:00 Hrs. we will be inviting the Lord Mayor to take part in a balloon competition with us. The competition is known as a Hare and Hounds, where the Hare balloon takes off ten minutes before the others and lands in a suitable field, after perhaps a 30 minute flight. The Hound balloons carry streamers loaded with a small sand ballast and the aim of the competition is to drop your maker as close to the Hare balloon as possible – the usual target is the metal Crown Ring at the very top of the balloon, which by now is deflated and flat on the grass. For the flight on June 4th. we have re-named the competition and we will be holding a Mayor and Hounds, so whoever the new Lord Mayor is, following their appointment in May, should be an exciting start their year of Office.
Members of the Public who want to enjoy this thrill can do so by booking a flight with one of the Public Transport Balloon Operators who will be attending the June 4th. fly-out. Prices start at £185 per person and further details can be obtained from email@example.com or you can book on-line www.abcflights.co.uk