Balloon Flight – over Kemnay

Subsequent to last weeks hot air balloon flight, by daughter SMS’d me this morning at about 7.15am to say that the balloon was up again and flying over our village – Kemnay. I went out to see if it was visible from our house and its was!

This view of the balloon taken from the street just outside our house ( which is in the right hand corner of the picture)

And this view from our recently installed new bathroom window.

Also, just over the weekend I received my certificate of flight and the photo of the balloon basket and all its occupants (at about 500ft) which was taken by the pilot during our flight. A “nice to have” memento of the experience.

Balloon Flight – it happened!!!!!!

Well after a whole year and 9 failed attempts to do the balloon flight it happened today. It was really worth the wait and the weather was just perfect for it! This was a father’s day and birthday present combined from the kids last year – a really special present and very much appreciated. So I first want to say a big thankyou to Fi, Rich, Linda, Phil and Abbie + Hollie ( the last two are actually the dogs but apparently it was from them too).

As you would expect I did take my camera along to take a couple of photos! I took over 250 throughout the experience and I have published a selection of them. See the link at the end of this post for access! I have picked a few to add to this post.

The weather was simply perfect for a balloon flight and the departure location is beautiful at the best of times. See in the photo below me with Castle Fraser in the background. As you can see the sky is blue with light cloud cover.

This was very much a team effort with all 16 of us passengers being given various tasks to do during the flight preparation stages! The photos below was taken during the balloon inflation stage when the pilot was checking the rigging. A hot air balloon is seemingly quite a complex device with lots of ropes and pullys which affect different parts of the balloon trim etc…. At this stage no hot air has put in it – just cold air which is blown in by two very noisy fans – this was the only noisy part of the whole process.

Once the balloon is more or less full of air but still lying on its side does the pilot apply the heat! This then causes the balloon to float upright! This is just what is happening in the next picture.

Then a few minutes later we were airborn! Very gentle – no turbulence etc…. The whole flight was a really pleasant experience and allowed me to take lots of photographs ( about 250 ) of teh country side in the vicinity of Kemnay, Inverurie and Kintore where I live. I provide one photograph below which shows the sort of views we enjoyed throughout the flight which lasted about 1 hour.

Below are three photos taken a different stages of the flight. The first taken about 3 minutes into the flight looking back towards Fraser Castle an its grounds.

The second taken about mid way through the flight which shows a shadow of the balloon with an apparent hallow around the basket – an interesting effect I thought. Around this part of the flight we also were able to look down of deer and other wild life grazing on the pastures.

Finally, we are about to land and looking for a suitable place to put the balloon down! At this point there was very little wind which is good news for landing a balloon. A windy landing can result in the basket being dragged along on its side with the occupants still in side – I am told 😉 No hair raising experience like that in this flight – we gracefully drifted down and came to rest upright without so much as a bump!!! This view shows the river Don complete with about eight swans and there was a fisherman – but he was just a little bit to the side of the shot.

This was a really great experience which I would recommend to anyone. It is definitely a great way to fly with none of the side effects associated with powered commercial flight like standing in check-in queues, and noisy flight time…… But then again we did have on this occasion near perfect whether which made the experience as good as it could be. I did hope that the flight route would have taken us over Kemnay where I live – but on this occasion the little wind that there was did not blow that way! Who knows, perhaps another time!!!

You can see more photos here

In closing I want offer a word of complement to the staff of Virgin Balloon Flights who certainly did all they could to make this a most enjoyable experience.