Although we fly right through the year our main flying season usually runs from April to October, but this year we had some fabulous weather in March and so far it has been pretty good for the first half of April. We are planning flights during the week and at weekends and have plenty of availability so if you are thinking of taking a balloon flight in 2011 don’t delay – we’ve already had some Summer like days!
We were lucky enough to be part of the Cross Channel balloon flight that took place last Thursday (7th April 2011). The plan was to take off a few miles inland of Dover at Lydden Circuit and fly across to france with upto 75 other balloons. We were originally on standby last October waiting for the right weather conditions and wind direction but they never came together so we started looking at the weather again from the beginning of March. Although we had some lovely ballooning weather in March the winds were never right – the organisers had set a limit of being able to cross the channel in an hour and a half so we need quite specific wind speeds and direction.
We had given up hope of it happening as April arrived but late on Tuesday we got an indication that Thursday was a possibility. We had flights planned here and the weather was good so we must thank the passengers that were scheduled to fly last Thursday for being so understanding of the situation.
So it was an early start as we had to be at the launch site before 6am. We launched at 7.15am and flew across the white cliffs just to the east of Dover. It was a perfect morning with the sun shining and the wind taking us straight across the Channel and we crossed the other side directly over the port of Calais.
Most balloons landed within a few miles of the coast. The conditions were so good and we had so much gas that we flew on for another hour or so and landed just to the south of St Omer. The retrieve crew had only just got on the ferry at Dover when we had landed so we had a while to wait for them. The farmer came out to see us and somehow we managed to communicate that we had a really nice bottle of Whisky in the retrieve for him.
Once Paul and Peter had picked us up we headed back to Calais airport to rendezvous with the other balloonists. The crossing back wasn’t as exciting as the one out!
The weather has been up and down during October, but there have been a few days when the sun has been shining and the wind has been light. Once we get into November we start running our standby system where we only plan flights with two or three days notice, when we know the weather forecast is good. That way it avoids lots of disappointment when the weather isn’t right. Cold, bright, crisp Autumn days can be fabulous for ballooning.
Reach for the Sky Ltd is proud to support The Army Cadet Force who are celebrating 150 years of service this year. Throughout the country events will be taking place to celebrate this milestone. The ACF are a youth organisation for children aged 12 to 18 that is sponsored by the Army and run by adult volunteers who give up their time to support them to aspire to achieve. With over 131,000 cades across the country and 25,000 adults it is one of the largest and most successful youth organisations in the UK.
Captain Adrian Paice came up with the idea of The Cycle Challenge 150 and together with Captain James Davis, Major Terry Hayter along with 96.4 Eagle Radio’s afternoon presenter Kim Robson they will cycle 150 miles in 48 hours over 3 days, passing through every major town in Surrey.
Supported enroute by Cadets from all detachments they will be raising money for both Help the Heroes and the Surrey Army Cadet Force Association. They are hoping to raise £10,000.00 during the event.
During the ride on Friday 23rd July 2010 there is a charity cricket match at Felbridge and on Saturday 24th July 2010 The Big Pub Quiz will be held in Guildford. Reach for the Sky Ltd has donated a balloon flight voucher as a prize at one of these events.
We wish them luck with the challenge!