At 13:30hr the 3 planned gasballoons were laid out, one netballoon and two netless ones. Very soon we were allowed to lend a hand in manipulating the sandbags. But as the English appeared to have brought the wrong valve (it was too big) and no solution could be worked out, Tom Donelly finally had to give in. The G-BWEO would not fly this weekend.
At 16:01hr the HB-QAT ‘Bazenheid’ with Alfred Nater (Switzerland) and Uwe Hackman (Germany) took off, followed by Eric Hallosserie in his F-BOSK ‘Jules Verne’. Right before he left Alfred informed us about the fact that this was his 870th flight, and that he still had to do 30km to inscribe his 100000th km in his logbook. So today would be the day! Dead slow the two balloons disappeared out of sight.
At the briefing of the hotair pilots we learned that there would hardly be any wind at all in the evening. They all had to rise as quickly as possible to 2000 feet to allow everyone to take off.
To our big surprise we saw one of the gasballoons appear again after 2 hours of flight, so we decided to go after it. By then it was already accompanied by several hotair balloons. Most of the hotair balloons landed outside the centre of the town but the ‘Bazenheid’ struggled on. 3 hours and 2 minutes after its take-off (19:03hr), it landed softly in an empty potatoe field in Tielrode. After the owner had taken his horses into the stable, the balloon was carried into a nearby meadow and folded carefully. The flown distance: 17,3 km; the distance in a bird’s-eye view: 5,89 km ... We’re sorry for Alfred, but he’ll have to make another flight before he can really celebrate his 100000th km. Even though he was slightly disappointed the champagne corks popped after the landing and Alfred swallowed his disappointment in good style.
Luc & Donald Buyle