Thursday, 21 April 2011

Hot air balloon

French for hot air balloon is montgolfière (f), after its inventors. A company offers flights over a selection of Loire valley chateaux, and we went to enjoy the experience. The flights take place at dawn and dusk because there is less wind at these times, and we set off at dusk. Our target chateau was Chenonceau.

Steering hot air balloons is a bit hit-and-miss. The pilot relies on the likelihood that the wind is going in slightly different directions at different heights. We set off quite a few miles from Chenonceau, so we were very dependent on a fair wind. Four balloons were launched and we established different heights to try to determine which one was the best one to take us to the chateau. The wind direction turned out to be about the same at all heights and we ended up slightly off to one side. But not so far away that we couldn't take any pictures.

In the end though, it was the flight itself that was the fun thing; the destination was largely irrelevant.

















2 comments:

Phil said...

I’ve not yet been up in one of these, but I’ve chased a few around the Dordogne a few years ago in my car. I caught up with a couple of ‘Montgolfier’ balloon club pilots by the river in La Roque-Gageac one sunny afternoon as they drifted over with the up current heat from the cliffs. Had a brief and silly conversation with them from the ground. Clear as a bell. Keep meaning to upload the pics. Not the same sense of drama as a birds eye view though.

ReedBunting said...

Looks like fun. Hope the landing was a smooth one, not in someone's back garden or in a lake.

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