• Short Summary

    The largest air balloon to fly since 1785 took off from Cirencester in Gloucestershire on Tuesday (20 August).

  • Description

    The largest air balloon to fly since 1785 took off from Cirencester in Gloucestershire on Tuesday (20 August).

    With a capacity of half a million cubic feet (14,000 cubic metres) the balloon stood 140 feet (42 metres) high.

    It carried a double-deck passenger cabin, rather like a large cane picnic basket, with 17 passengers. The balloon -- owned by a large European brewary, soared to 600 feet (182 metres) and came down just under two miles (3.2 kilometres) away in a vegetable farm.

    The manufacturers -- a Bristol company -- said they were elated at the performance of the balloon - a jumbo compared to standard-size air balloons. They said they had been afraid that the balloon would not take off at all, or would drop to the ground shortly after taking off.

    It took the balloon 45 minutes to complete its short trial flight.

    SYNOPSIS: Cirencester in Gloucestershire was the testing ground on Tuesday for the largest air balloon to fly in almost two hundred years. The weather conditions were perfect with just a slight breeze. The balloon is owned by a large European brewery and was built by a company at Bristol. The first task was to unfold the balloon and fill it with air.

    The passenger basket, rather like a huge picnic basket, was made by the Bristol blind workshop. It had been a costly project and before the flight, there was some doubt as to whether the balloon would fly at all.

    The balloon has a capacity of half a million cubic feet and it took several pas??? burners to fill it up. Even during the flight, gas burners would be used to keep the balloon filled. For the owners and manufacturerers, this was to be a moment of truth.

    Beside a normal-sized balloon, the larger model was like a jumbo. Once filled, ??? stood one hundred and forty four high.

    The passenger basket had a capacity of thirty. But only seventeen passengers flew on the trial flight -- among them reporters and cameraman. When the rope were cut, the balloon lifted off, to the relief of everyone concerned.

    The flight proved its point, and belid the opinion of numerous experts. ??? wasn't a long flight. The jumbo balloon soared to six hundred feet then came down slowly on a vegetable farm just under two miles away.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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