8pm, the Essener Club and Rolf Eck welcomed their guests at the first briefing and the countdown begun. The second briefing was fixed for 12pm and Willi Eimers had the latest weather and restrictions for a flight on 4000ft of the air traffic control. After this briefing, we started with a 3min interval.
Our starting time was 00:28am local time and we flu sprightly north. We saw a few competitors a long time right of us, they also stayed low over the Münsterland and the rest of the field flew more eastern. Eschede and Osnabrück passed and right on Bremen & Bremerhafen we crossed the Weser. Really unpleasant was the heat in the night and we were really happy that the morning mist stopped the sun.
At noon, at 35°C, Bremen radar guided us to Hamburg. We were not allowed to enter airspace “C”, so we had to do a hard job and crossed the Elbe near Glücksburg. Stefan and I were so happy, not to speak with Hamburg again, the wind changed to the heading 195° with two knots. We climbed up to find a better Wind with heading NE. Very slowly we reached the shores of Lake Plön. After a short discussion, we put out two sacks and climbed up to 2500m.
I asked Bremen Radar for further climbing and for enrolment at Kopenhagen Radar. We crossed directly the Fehrmann-Belt-Bridge and the Danish isles in heading 300°. We still saw the lights down in the darkness but up in the sky, it is bright till midnight.
With nearly 35 knots we striped along the Swedish coast, always radio contact with Mälmö.
Right trough Bornholm and the Swedish continent, we entered the Baltic Sea. Again and again we heard the pumping of the ship engines down on the sea. D-OCOL was running wonderful, at 3:40am the sun was rising and we knew that we now had heading forwards to Kaliningrad / Russia. The Swedish air traffic control gave us no answer to our calling, so we tried to reach Poland. Gedansk answered and helpfully they approved our position and enrolled us to Kaliningrad Radar. The NAVAL authorities were informed and we changed frequency after crossing the Polish territory. It was a absolutely wonderful to see straight forwards the coast line. We are ashore again. 3000m below a Antonow prepared to start and the wide air was vibrating. The controller asked us, if we have a flight plan, a insurance and how many persons were on board. We told him, that it´s our intention to land in Vilinus / Lithuania.
But also said that, because of the wind it could be a bit of Poland. After giving the permission we expressed our thanks in a warm “Spassiva”. South of Gusev we reached Polish territory again. We had a speed of nearly 80km/h and justified that deposited of strong thermic and proud winds had to land before the Belarus border. We sank very fast and after overflying some small lakes we landed near Suwalki in a field, 80m away from the street. 5 ½ hours later, our balloon and we are on the way to Ginteras Surkus. We had a wonderful night in Lithuania and the next day our friends drove us home to Germany, where we arrived on Thursday morning.
Many thanks to Rolf Eck and the Ballonclub Essen. Thanks to each controller in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Poland and especially Kaliningrad, Thomas Fink, Günter Oberseider, Marie-Luise Missel, Renate Braun, Gottlieb Blenk as well as our friends in Lithuania Ginteras, Rumas and Vitautas, the FVA and last but not least our families, they let our companies running.
Yours Bepperl & Stefan