Traditionally the first weekend of the Warsteiner Mongolfiade is reserved for a gas balloon competition. And so it happened this year too. The mission was: fly as far as possible...
Sunday evening, September 4th, 7 gas balloons were inflated. Three of them took off by 21:00hr. These balloons also obtained the best results. The other balloons took off in the second part of the night.
Because of the south wind the balloons went in the direction of Sweden. Four teams crossed the water, while the last three teams chose to land in the north of Germany. Marcus Pieper put his balloon down on a small island, Heinrich Brachtendorf chose to land on Swedish soil.
Astrid Gerhard and Dominik Haggeny got in a more western current and landed in Riga.
Wilhem Eimers and his copilot Ulrich Seel ... that was quite another story! Once they had crossed the water they didn't find a suitable landing spot. They had to continue and to spend a second night in the air, flying low over the water. Direction: Finland, where Wilhem had never landed before! After almost 60 hours in the air, a flight of over 2000 km and a final result of 1790 km, they not only scored a well-deserved victory but also set up a new German distance record.
The local police and fire brigade helped to retrieve the balloon and to transport balloon and crew to the nearest railway station. Two buoyant men landed at Schiphol on Thursday (the balloon followed later): they had had a magnificent experience and a very good preparation for Gordon Bennett 2005...