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18 August 2004

Little white gas balloon...

Sunday, August 15th, at about 17:15 and while a thunder storm was approaching I suddenly saw a small gasballoon. I quickly grabbed my radio and contacted the balloon. The famous Leys brothers (4x winners of the Gordon Bennett race) were flying there!

Immediately it occurred to me that they were not going to continue their flight very long because of the imminent bad weather. I put on my "ballooning clothes" and jumped in my car, intending to try and find them before the landing and eventually to assist in putting away the balloon.

I could follow quite easily and heard over the radio that they were going to land soon. In Desselgem (near Waregem) I caught a last glimpse of the balloon and then ... it started raining cats and dogs. The pouring rain diminished the visibility to 50m and I did not see the balloon anymore. I sincerely hoped they were okay.

A little bit later I finally found the balloon and its pilots. Luckily the brothers had managed to land safely a couple of minutes before the storm broke out. The material, the pilots, the crew and the field were soaking wet. Many helping hands were necessary to carry the balloon out of the field.

Those Leys brothers are very sympathetic guys. They gave us lots of information about their gas balloon(s), they explained why they're not going to participate in this year's Gordon Bennett Race and why a Belgian team will fly their "Petit Prince" instead. They also told us the balloon would be cleaned and dried thoroughly the day after.

Gino Ciers - Distri Europe

Posted by Marianne at 10:32 AM

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