Forget Rosey and Jim it’s a Rosey and Woodsy triumph
Just got home and of all the great things to hear is a conversation with those novice gassers Rosey and Woodsy on the jelliebone. Now, for you indoor people, these two stars have, after only having flown gas balloons for a couple of years, at most, and having attained status of gas balloon pilots for an even shorter period, decided to go for it big time and entered the Gordon Bennett Race, survived it and came well mid-field. No one enters the GB half-heartedly. You do it, or you don’t, depends on your state of mind. It is as risky as it gets, no one can forget the tragedy of last years’ event. You’ve got to go for it. There’s a lot going on. Controlled Airspace, stuff in front and weather that may creep up on you and end it all, unexpectedly like. Speaking to them brought tears to me eyes and in tribute I opened a fine bottle of Macon Villages and drunk to their very good health under a very emotional sky, especially as they were in jolly Francais, mon petites. Most appropriate I felt.
It wasn’t that it was the last bottle, just that the sky was speckled like the MG Speckled Hen finish, a myriad of colours promising a fine day tomorrow. Rosey and Chris Wood spent last night in a field because they decided to while awaiting their retrieve. Fair play. Over me head went an Easy Jet Heading for Spain, as Elton John once said. So that’ll be a Daniel flight then. In an hour and a bit it would be flying over their heads. Suddenly as one silhouette went another crossed coming in and we were close. Diamonds the pair of them.
Taking note of the projected track into Spain and having to cross the Pyrenees at night, with some quite strong turbulence forecast, eight teams elected to land before them. This, along with some quite extravagant use of ballast by GB2, decided it for them. A very wise and sensible move on their part. Team Hempleman-Adams in GB1 landed closest to the mountains coming eighth. GB2, very cheerily and proudly, claimed ninth. This GB (not Great Britain but Gordon Bennett) has been an extremely tactical one. Sadly, it has to be said, the Swiss organisers’ tracking and website was pretty unreliable (pants actually) even managing to put a couple of teams in the Atlantic for a while. The news reporting wasn’t much better. We were clearly spoilt by the brilliance of the Bristol Organisations’ professionalism last year.
Blinding brilliance to the winning French Team, who fought off the Swiss to triumph in a totally tactical way. The French flew hard to miss the Danger Area that pulled up the Swiss (sticklers for rules). Not satisfied with that, in zero to nil winds they spent the next hours edging ever closer to take the lead. Unless I’m not mistaken ballooning started as a French thing so in two years time I’m presuming the French, in down-turn economic turmoil will actually really, this time, launch from the Champs Elysee in Paris. It might cheer the Parisiennes up. For, maybe, only the second time in history, I quite like the French (at least their balloon team). Like most English people I’ve never got over Billy the Conq but we did have their Parliament living here in the Second World War so that equals that out plus the fact that they never gave the key to the lifts in the Eiffel Tower to Hitler when he called by but it was then miraculously found when Paris was liberated. If they decide to launch from Paris then we’ll be there otherwise, once again they have wimped out, big time. Come on Paris Airport, give us a break, you know you can.
Now I have to call the really famous Robin Batchelor and see if we can enter in two years time. Neither of us have a clue about gas ballooning but we’d give it a go. Knowing my luck it’ll be a southerly but then seeing the Northern Lights from a balloon would be well cool. Even if Essex isn’t the next but one launch site, who cares? Essex boy and Oxford boy did very well.
We now need to set up a homecoming. I don’t know bugger-all about Essex pubs but last time we visited was for a wholesome brekkie so it falls to us to get a celebration organised at the Kings Head in Oxford. Details to follow. Team Great Britain 2, Triumph beholden. Totally well done. Of course an equally very well done to GB1.
Sackville is a GO-GO
Unless a large meteorite hits Sackville (wish I hadn’t said that as John has written it on the blackboard) Sackville’s famous Grassroots Meet is going ahead this weekend. The weather is looking good until at least Sunday evening so be there or be square. This is an truly independent meet organised (loose term) for private balloonists who just want to have a really great social weekend and if they choose to fly that will be a bonus. This year the Team have found sponsorship through Richard Penney and Ultramagic as the BBAc decided that they were unable to make any contribution to the meet as funds are shrinking to under six figures. Errr. Ultramagic promise that they won’t try and make anyone buy a balloon but if you want to have a look at their kit it will be there. Anyway, if you love ballooning and want to meet up with friends old and new this is the one event of the year you need to attend. Camping is free and there will be food, a bar (late), bogs, showers and all the stuff to ensure you have a great time. We will be there as ever along with Bishy and the Zebedee mob and maybe even bring a balloon or two. If you haven’t booked and suddenly decide to turn up don’t worry just book in on the day, you will be made most welcome. This year there is even the suggestion that there will be a runway line-up a bit Metz-like but more laid back involving bacon sandwiches (lettuce for the veggies of course) on Saturday evening (weather permitting and it does look like it will at the moment.com). We may well take Frank the Lorry to crash in so a roof if you bring your own sleeping bag. We all look forward to seeing you there.
On a dafter note dear old Rob sent us a piccie of a Thames Barge he took last weekend. Well surreal, I’ve got a pottery pint mug like that. He is now a full member of the Old & Rusty Club. He loves ships. Can’t knock that.
Delighted of Wendover – Lindstrand’s Simon Forse joins Easy Balloons
Easy Balloons is delighted to announce that Simon Forse of Lindstrand Balloons fame has joined us as an inspector in addition to his BBAc rating. This means that for the private pilot he is able to offer the choice of using Easy Balloons simple one stop service. For the Commercial Operators repairs and inspections can now be released under the Easy Balloon approval if required.
We are very pleased to be able to include Lindstrand Balloons in our scope of operations. We are confident that this will mean that airworthiness issues, especially for private pilots and owners, will become a whole lot simpler, easier and cheaper as a result. Along with the appointment it means that Lindstrands can now use our approvals especially in the case of new balloons or envelopes applying for the issue of Certificates of Airworthiness at no further cost to the owner. Love it.
Simon has been around ballooning forever and includes gas ballooning in his very diverse curriculum vitae (so much better than cv!). There is not much that he or his company cannot inspect or repair. His knowledge of the rules and regulations is second to none and he has endlessly campaigned for the rights and privileges that balloonists enjoy today. When it comes to keeping stuff simple he is your man. The choice is just getting better. Final details will be sorted in the next week or two.
Simon studied Aeronautical Engineering at Hatfield before going onto Cranfield University. Following a spell developing underwater weapons, flipping the coin somewhat, he joined Thunder & Colt in Oswestry in 1988 as their Senior Design and Airworthiness Engineer, later becoming Head of Research and Development. When T&C got taken over by Camerons he stuck with Per Lindstrand and in 1993 became Head of Design at the new company, Lindstrand Balloons. These days he is a Director of Lindstrand Balloons keeping the standards of quality and the Lindstrand name very much alive.
Travelling the World, as he does, his services have no boundaries and he can inspect and repair pretty much anything anywhere. Contact Simon on 01691 671717 or mail him directly through Lindstrands at http://www.lindstrand.co.uk/. You can now follow Lindstrands on Twitter, apparently, but I’ve no idea how that works but try using https://twitter.com/lindstrand_uk.
He can and does, of course, still provide the Lindstrand Service. Great product great company.
New Euro Trailer Regulations
Spotted by Andy Kaye in Germany (must be true) is this first glance of the new EU regulations covering trailer fire extinguisher regulations. Seems there has to be a choice of extinguishers for a variety of situations. Glasses of course are essential to ensure the full liquid content can be tested before application. Reserves are of course essential and being mainly a Eurofizz-type expellant it will need to be kept cool. In the event of a fire you need to get the front doors open, choose a brew, pour slowly, wait to settle, sup and stand back and wait for the fire service. It would probably be advisable to grab as much as you can but that is an option. For further information and a list of the full range of products and their application go to Warmeister at http://warsteiner.com/.