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14 December 2005

Gas balloon flight to Sweden

Schwedenfahrt

We have more information for you about the gas balloon flight of October 28th, starting in Stuttgart. Tomas Hora and Volker Lässhorn were the pilots on board of D-OSTZ Stuttgarter Hofbrau. Apparently it is their habit to make an important flight in the same period as the Gordon Bennett race; last year they were in the air before the participants of the GB in Thionville. This year they had to postpone their flight because Tomas acted as launch master in Albuquerque.

At 17:00 hr on October 28th they took off, direction straight to the north. During the night they kept the balloon at 1200m, during the daytime they enjoyed the beautiful warm autumn colours, with some descents very close to the ground. At home Stephan Handl and Dominik Haggeney studied the weather forecasts to guide the flight. And in the mean time we had discovered the tracking site to follow them via internet.

Schwedenfahrt

At sunrise the balloon was in the north of Germany and at an altitude of 1400 m. We came to the conclusion that their flight certainly wasn't going to end on German soil. 24 hours after their takeoff Tomas and Volker were flying about 30 km N/NE of Hannover. In the second night (around 1:00hr they left the mainland near Kiel and continued to fly above the sea along the east shores of Denmark to the north.

Schwedenfahrt

6:00 am. We had switched to wintertime and for 'normal' people this meant an extra hour of sleep. But not for us ... we installed ourselves in front of our computers to follow the balloon. During the night the German map had made way for the European map. D-OSTZ was still flying above the east of Arhus, heading 10°, speed 40 km/hr. With a protractor we measured the course of the balloon too; there was still a lot land lying in that direction, which was very promising. Of course we didn't know how much ballast the balloon still had on board. Later that morning we saw the balloon climb to 2000 m and change its course between 20 and 30°. Not bad, but not as favorable as the previous one to reach the top of Sweden! A little after noon Tomas and Volker reached the Swedish mainland, an hour later the balloon was flying at 1600 m and straight to the north again. But as another hour went by we noticed that they were obviously looking for a landing spot. D-OSZT was at that moment flying at an altitude of 400 m, east of Munkedal.

Schwedenfahrt

46 hours after its launch the balloon touched the ground in Tostane (Sweden), some 75 km north of G?org! They had 250 kg of sand left, but Stephan and Dominik had warned the pilots that the weather conditions were no longer good enough to ascertain a safe flight!

Tomas and Volker have promised to send us a detailed report of their flight... so ... to be continued later!

Posted by Marianne at 11:44 PM

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