More than 50 balloons from 22 countries soared into the sky above Castle Howard in Yorkshire on Tuesday (13 September) during the World Hot Air Balloon Championships.
More than 50 balloons from 22 countries soared into the sky above Castle Howard in Yorkshire on Tuesday (13 September) during the World Hot Air Balloon Championships. Buffeting winds had prevented any from flying the previous day. This is the third world championship, the first ever held outside the United States and the largest squadron ever gathered at one place.
SYNOPSIS: Castle Howard was chosen because it's well protected and not under controlled air space. Being inflated here by blow-lamp is one of several Golli balloons owned by the sponsors, a noted English jam-making firm.
Bahrein's entry paid homage to its Amir, Sheikh Isa Bin Sulman Al-Khalifa. The nylon bags of the balloons can measure 70 feet (21.33 metres) high, 50 feet (15.24 metres) across and contain up to 100,000 cubic feet (2,832 cubic metres) of hot air. Certainly, the sport has come a long way since two Parisian sportsmen pioneered it almost 200 years ago.
The championships are divided into 10 contests. These include dropping markers close to compulsory and self-selected goals and racing to a line in the shortest time. In one, called the Elbow, pilots try to make the greatest change of direction in flight. In....another called Fly-in, pilots find their own launch sites an try to reach a set goal.
It's gentle sport. With two or three people aboard, a balloon drifts along at up to 15 miles an hour (24 kilometres an hour). A 35-pound (1.58 Kgs) cylinder operating the burner can last up to 40 minutes, though the burner is used only in bursts. This is the Australian entry, Winfield 25 piloted by a young real estate agent. The championships will run until 18 September.