Balloon Flight Detail:

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MADAGASCAR Ultramagic Balloon Experience

Apr 16, 2016

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 7th May Flight in Antsirabe and back home

No coffee at 4:30 when we get up, so we go directly to the launch field to check if all equipment arrived. Unfortunately the truck is not there  and for the information we receive, it will not arrive early.

So we have to manage to fly as much Balloons as possible for the equipment we have.

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At the end can fly 6 balloons with not much gas, but enough to make a wonderful Flight again. We have to use  the pingouins so more Balloons can fly and pilots know they are special Balloons that they have to take care even more. The landscape is very diferent and all pilots appreciate very much the Flight .


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We go back to hotel relatively soon to have a full breakfast and we do the picture of all group now that we have some time left.

We go with the buses to Tana like sardines in a can, but we are all happy at least most could fly.

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A short stop on the way to have a taste of the excellent “foie gras” is made in the area and when arriving Tana,  all the group stays for a couple hours in the center .

Later we go at the hotel near the airport to have a farewell dinner and we accompany all the teams to the airport to go back home.

We believe it has been a wondefful experience with both groups and we feel satisfied everybody has acted as part of the group to help in what was possible for him or her. This gives us energy to think in another Ultramagic Experience in the future, but this will be another story.

 6th May Travel to Antsirabe

We have breakfast at 8 a.m. and we know the missing team will arrive around 10, so we wait for them in the main road, to  avoid them the 20 minutes of bad road to hotel. So all team is joined again and some stories with the porters, trucks, pick  ups, etc. Come out. We make 50 km and one minibus is broken and we have to wait for ovver one hour the replacement. Then we realize how lucky we have been with so  much vehicles and very few stories.

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We see again the Balloon designed in the hills surprisingly.

A nice lunch at half way make the trip to Antsirabe easier and then we can take some pick ups so we can all go more comfortable in all vehicles.

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Waiting to make the convoy for the unsafe area for more than two hours and different problems with cars made us arrive at 1:30 a.m. at the hotel. So the vehicle’s story has changed a little bit.

We will see then how many Balloons arrive at the take off site and we will share them in the best way. Friendship  Balloon still not arrived in Bekopaka.

 

5th May Return to Morondava

After having  a good rest, we start organizing the come back to Morondava. The Kon-tiki team starts to move with the rest of equipment from the  landing point to reach the aerodrome where can arrive the truck to load it. By 12 a.m. we know all is there, except a Basket and some cylinders that are in te Tsingy parking  as was planned before.

The pick ups loaded with all equipment there in Bekopaka with all teams moves back to Morondava.

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Exceptional  good lunch before the big ferry and arrival at the evening  in Morondava . All equipment except Friendship Balloon is coming, but unfortunately the ferry in the night stops and team Kon-tiki have to sleep in the village.

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Comfortable evening in the hotel with cold Beer and relax as we plan not to fly the next morning. Then we know all the equipent of the 7 teams together is arrived to Bekopaka but the Friendship Balloon not yet.

 

 

4t May Flight over Tsingy and retrieve

We drop a balloon at 5:15 and the winds at low altitude are not much as predicted, but we trust that in altitude will be from N-NW so we decide to take off as we thi nk it is safe.

Low we go NW but as soon as we start to climb, we find a layer going NE so it is perfect to enter the Tsingy. It is so vaste that we can fly there easily. When we are deep in, we descend to be close to the ground needles and we have one of the most amazing flights ever. This is the sherry in the cake and we have done it. This are some of the pictures that make a little justice to what could be seen. We ill never forget.

 

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We continue flying low direction NW to go out of Tsingy with the idea when we are west enough to climb and go SE. Then we see  village in the “track” of the map where we are pointing and as we are all balloons nearb we decide to land near there. We hhave thought that if we are all together, the retriieve, even difficult, can be easier than if we are spread climbing and going south East because at the East of Bekopaka also is not easy landing.

After landing there and the villagers start to come and help, we take all the equipment to a good shadow so we join all the teams there except two. One comtinued far away north and the other is in the previous village very near, so we meet later.

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Once known th situation they tell us the road is not anymore ther and even cannot arrive the zebu chariots. So we start negotiation with them to carry all the material. The village is not big enough to have people to take all equipment, but we start to move until another village that there are chariots. 6 or 4 people for the envelopes, one for the each cylinder and 4 people for the baskets. They are  very strong and go faster than us even with bad tracks.

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We arrive at 4 p.m. to that village, but no chariots. Start negotiation again as it is getting dark soon and we are in straight line to the take off site at 5.5 km . We all  dream witth a cold beer in the hotel and this speed us to the Tsingy park site where we took  off in the morning and we have the  pick ups. I don’t know how they do to carry a basket in the night with just one lamp in front and the porters behind seeing nothing, but they do even the track is really not flat at all.

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Miquel, Carles and Joan have stayed in the first village to be sure all is taken and they will sleep there because  there are not enough porters to do it today.

Anyway the day has been full of stories for everybody and we are all happy to be back safe even the retrieve is still being complicated.

3rd May Tsingy visit and sleep at take off site

As there is no flight, we can get up later. Around 9:30 we start for the Tsingy. To do the full visit walking there to have a look and to camp for next morning flight if possible.

After more  than two hours to arrive the parking site, we organize several groups and check the take off spot. It needs some villagers to cut a big space for the balloons, and theye tell me will be done when we come back of the visit.

 

 

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It is one of the most interesting places visited and walking up and down is very amazing. No other place out of Madagascar has this impressive landscape.

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After arrival, we check and prepare all the balloons staying to try. We are 8 teams staying there and the good surprise is that we have tents and a nice dinner prepared by a cook there.

We go sleep early because we want to be ready for next day.

 

2nd May Flight in Baobab Av. And travel to Bekopaka

 

Breakfast at 4 a.m. and departure at 4:30 with all  lugagge so we have not to return to hotel when we finish the Flight and then we can continue in the same road to go Tsingy.

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Finally some balloons could take off  before sunrise. Wind direction to N-NE at a nice speed.

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A  lot of Baobabs in the area that makes the Flight again unforgetable. We stay low because direction up is the same, but with more speed.

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Landing of balloons is spread, and we pass over a very nice field near a lake and a road that after we blame we have not profit. Just a couple km away we have to land and the retrieve takes a couple hours more. It’s  a good advise for Tsingy.

 

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After refuelling in Baobab Av. We start driving to  Bekopaka. An interesting route with a couple ferries that make the trip very varied and absent minded.

 

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We arrive around 9 p.m., we have a  nice dinner and ready for next busy day.

 

1st May First flight in Avenue des Baobab

Target has been to take off before sunrise. We have coffee at 4 a.m. and departure at 4:15 to have enough time. Again has not been possible because we have had to distribute the equipments and we had just 4 fans. Tomorrow we will try again…

Anyway the flight wonderful. This landscape with the baobabs is incredibly special and we are all very happy to be here to fly. The forecast has not been precise, and we can fly in any direction, so the flight is relatively comfortable.

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Youngest and oldest participants in the Madagascar Ultramagic Experience have been flying together enjoying both with their particular  sensibility.

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Baobabs coming out of a light fog makes a so special place to fly that we are all astonished. Also the rice fileds, some lakes, palms and villages make the flight unforgettable for all.

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All land in different locations, but all have a good retrieve. Drivers already have experience and they are smart to know the landing place  is not too complicated. So we are all for breakfast time and after we do refuelling for next morning flight , already much better organized the equipments and we will try again a take off before sunrise…

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In the afternoon we have gone to Morondava to see the sunset having a drink in the beach, relaxed. We have taken nice pictures, even sunset was cloudy.

A nice dinner and ready again to get up early for tomorrow flight.

 

30th April Travel to Antsirabe

As we know the trip is long, we get up relatively early and we start travelling at 8 a.m.

We can see the beauty of landscape as most of travel is in day light and It changes often. No power lines make them more attractive for the beauty and also for pilots.

We stop for lunch  at half way, so it has been a pleasant trip even we arrive a little tired after more than 10 hours.

 

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Arrival at hotel continues with the same bad road, but is compensated with a nice dinner and some beer before doing the briefing to prepare the flight of next morning.

 

 

 

29th April Group 2 arrival and travel to Antsirabe

All teams arrived safely even tired for the long trip. We have slept in the hotel and in this morning again examination to new pilots by Civil Aviation on Madagascar Air Law and Tropical Weather. They passed all the theorical test and have been given a certificate.

As we enjoyed the Lemur’s Park yesterday, we have gone again today because the travel to Antsirabe is reasonably  short and there is time.

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A good lunch in the way , with arrival to hotel just after sunset, has permitted us a relaxed day.

 

 

 

28th April GROUP 1 BACK HOME

Today we could sleep well in Antsirabe as there is a “short” time to Tana. We profit arriving early to go visit the Lemur’s Park just 25 km from Tana. It’s a nice park that even not totally free, the lemurs go around and you can see them quite close. We think is a good option so we can take some close pictures.

 

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We made a picture there of all the group. We enjoyed a lot being together and doing 5 wonderful flights in Madagascar. Everybody was very helpful and solving any problem by themselves and helping others. A 100 % satisfaction.

 

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We have had dinner in same hotel that they arrived the first night and that the second group will be lodging tonight. Farewell in the airport and ready for the new challenges for the second group.

27th April Last Flight Group 1in Avenue des Baobabs

As we knew the area, we thought could be nice to take off just before sunrise… We got up very early, at 4 a.m. so we had enough time, but takes time to prepare all and was late when we left for the site.

 

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Anyway, wind was nice to the North and we probably relaxed a little bit. Low fog after taking off and some speed to the North. Landscape of course again exceptional so we could fully enjoy it . When we were descending, the speed was about 12 knots near the fog, I was a little worried to not find a Baobab in the way.

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Fortunately the fog was a little high and even you could see the ground, was difficult to see in front and the distance to ground.

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After passing the fog layer, that it was high enough, we checked for a track and seeing other two balloons ready for landing we took same decision near a nice lake. All retrieves were more complicated than other days, and it made us the travel to Antsirave to arrive late including the caravan with soldiers to pass an area not too safe.

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We arrived tired to Antsirabe, but still could have a nice dinner at the
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26th April Returning to Morondava

After doing a nice Flight yesterday, we plan to arrive early back to Morondava. We need to fill some gaz for next morning and we decided to make 3 groups so the return is scaled and not to have to wait too much in the Ferries and also in the mud areas.

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Anyway starting to move between 6 a.m. and 7:30, we arrived the last group around 7 p.m., but again with a nice lunch on the way. We have prepared all the gaz for next morning Flight and now a good dinner and to be ready for the last Flight with the group 1.

25th April Wonderful flight in Bekopaka

 

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We get up early in the morning and first thing is to check if the truck arrived. Fortunately the second truck was sent , arrived at 3 a.m. even it coul;d not take all the equipment because it was smaller.

Anyway helium was there and we could dropa  balloopnb and Stefan told us about the different layers, so it was possible to return to the launch field or nearby. This cheer up everybody to fly as it is a complicated area. So we took off from the football field and at  about 400 m we were heading to East to approach the Petit Tsingy.

The landscape was very nice and we could see the gorge of the river that was some km East.

 

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The flight was challenging because very few roads, but 9 balloons managed to come back to the launch field after one hour flight. We were all satisfied of the flight as we had lots of numbers in the lottery that the truck could not arrive. Our truck is still stocked in the mud and hope it can be soon out of it, but as the truck cannot go around the muddy areas because it is too big, for the moment is there.

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We could well relax and in the afternoon we went for a visit to the Little Tsingy. All we enjoyed as it is a very spectacular and unique landscape.

24th April “Relax” day in Tsingy

It had to be a relax day. We have had breakfast around 8 a.m. to be ready to go to Grand Tsingy at 9 a.m. to make the visit there and have a look to find good spots to Take off and landing.

After a couple of hours waiting to have the guides, we started to move with some difficulties because some drivers were putting troubles to come there. The road is really bad and at the first difficulty, and get stocked in the mud, some teams decided to go for a good rest and go back to hotel.

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The rest we continued with a lot of stops because some 4×4 cars and drivers were not good enough and were getting stocked quite often. The last 2 km to the entrance of the park we went walking under a quite shining sun.

So we arrived too late to make the full circuit, but we had the possibility to have a look at this wonderful and incredible landscape . We learned a lot and was quite useful to know what is possible to do or not.

 

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In the meantime the truck that did not arrived the day before, was stocked when coming with the gas, fans, some envelope and the helium. Vincent was taking care and wew were sure he find a solution for tomorrow we can fly.

So the decision was clear to Take off next day from Bekopaka to try to approach the “Samll Tsingy” if the wind conditions were helping and the truck arrives.

 

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23rd April Flight in Morondava – Tsingy

Today we could arrive earlier at the take of site. The place is so nice that it was worth again. Also as it is in the way to Tsingy we decided to have early breakfast and take all the luggage with us.

 

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We all took off at the same time and we could take very nice pictures. Thre idea was to return to take off site after the Flight as soon as possible, so some landed there having done a perfect elbow. All pilots leave there the cylinders and started travelling to Tsingy as soon as possible.

 

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Jaume, Joan and myself flew together again in Africa and we were very happy we could do once more in this so beaiutiful landscape.

 

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The way to Tsingy has been a small adventure with some cars stocked in the mud, so we arrived around 9 p.m.

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22nd APRIL  FLIGHT IN BAOBAB AVENUE

Night  was short but it was worth to get up early again. Breakfast later than ordered and truck with fans and some balloons just arrived 6:30. So Take off was finnally at 7:15.

 

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Wind layers were very good so several pilots were able to return to field and continue for a nice Flight over the baobabs till the road of the hotel. It was good also because arrival road to hotel needs some repair and everybody liked the idea.

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The Baobab Avenue is one of the top symbols of Madagascar and it is very much reasonable when you arrive there.

 

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Today we had the opportunity to fly Joan, Maricarmen and Monica from the factory, so it was a very special flight after 20 years working in Ultramagic.

 

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Here some pictures of the flight, but everybody  has some anmazing one’s.

 

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After breakfast and refueling we had time to relax and go the afternoon to  Morondava.

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21TH ABRIL FIRST FLIGHT IN MADAGASCAR

 

This morning after coffee at 4:30 a.m. we decided to follow the forecast and go the theTO site in the lake Andraikiba. Nice place with a big take off field and thinking we could take already there nice pictures.

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Flight was much better than expected as we had winds up to 20 km per hour not too high and in the good direction. Wind was following approximately the main road, so we could do a wonderful flight without trouble in the retrieves, even we had some to talk to farmers to carry out of the field the balloon because near the road, does not mean that the car arrives to the field. Pictures I hope make justice to the flight as we were all very satisfied. Here are some of them, but for sure there are a lot that will make all think we were lucky to be there.

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As the program was tight , we could just refuel 8 balloons, and then after a nice  breakfast and a picture of all the team, we left for Morondava.  10 hours with a nice landscape, but all happy that the Madagascar Ultramagic Experience started well. After so much months waiting for this, we are all happy.

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We arrived quite late to Morondava, but we have had a nice dinner all together. Now sleep for a few hours and let-s try for the Baobab Avenue. The totem landscape of Madagascar.

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20th April. ANTANANARIVO – ANTSIRABE : Preparing for the first flight

We are all excited that tomorrow we hope we can do the first flight in Madagascar. But before that, this morning all pilots had to pass an examination of Madagascar Air Law and Tropical Weather. All went well, even we were all tired because all pilots arrived from their homes the day before after a long trip. Including a delay to get the luggage due to some technical, we arrived at the hotel after 2 a.m. A welcome with the banners used for the Press  Conference in Tana were at the entrance of the hotel.

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So we started our trip to Antsirabe. Landscape is nice and interesting from the start to get out of the capital. It takes a lot of time because of traffic and high extended population, but with the buses , we were comfortable. Stop for lunch half way and taste of “foie gras” and magre de canard helped us to continue the road.

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All pilots looking at the landscape and searching for landing spots and tracks for the recovery while admiring the beauty af the area.

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A technical stop to buy some peanuts and apples made it shorter the trip.

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After arrival and having the rooms at hotel, we have gone to prepare the balloons. With a little bit confusion on the cylinders and equipments, after a couple hours we manage to have all loaded in 10 pick ups and a big truck.

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Evening dinner at the hotel has been quiet and we have made a briefing with some information for tomorrow. Wind forecast is for a slow winds from the East early morning, but we will get up at 4 a.m. to see how accurate are the web pages we check.

We celabrated also the 30th anniversary of Neus with a delicious big cake.

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PROLOGUE 16th April

Soon will be arriving one  group of balloon teams to participate in the MADAGASCAR Ultramagic Balloon Experience. We are sure will be an incredible experience in this wonderful country very unknown for most of us.

Now finishing with the preparation, thanks to Hans Rambelomanana and Vincent Dupuis, all is being orgainzed in detail also with the cooperation of the Authorities of Madagascar who are helping to what we are sure will be a succesful event.  Yesterday we had several meetings with the Authorities to coordinate the Balloon flights and all the trip.

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Today we arrived Antsirabe to check the balloons, test the gaz and organize the equipment. We checked the general GPS that will be following all the trip with points every 3 hours since the 20th.

 

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Tomorrow we will look for take off places in this wonderful area and check one of the GPS that will be active just during the flights with points every 5 minutes that will allow us make easier the retrieve and that will be possible to follow in the other map with a smaller area.

Landscape is incredible and I prefer just to put one picture (not the best) to not advance what will be a very challenging but at the same time enjoying experience.

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ULTRAMAGIC ALPINE EXPERIENCE 2016

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Friday we did as  the cherry cake,  a very nice flight in the morning where we could take again a wonderful picture (with a good Olympus camera) of the Eiger, Munch and Jungfrau with the ULTRAMAGIC Jaguar/Land Rover balloon

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This year we concentrated in Chateau d’Oex. Weather has been quite good up to now, but a little bit strange. Even there is still snow, the temperatures have been quite high and we have flown very comfortable all days.

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We have flown the Magic Tekno 70. With 2 people, 3 titanium cylinders of 25 Kg (12.5 gallons). With consumption of 1 cylinder per hour, we have made different flights in the area including flying to Zweisimmen going at 8-9000 feet and with the comfort knowing have an endurance of more than 3 hours.

 

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Finally this Wednesday we could do a really nice flight, heading East with a good speed.

Taking off three EcoMagic balloons together: Sintermetal, Vitogaz and Aconcagua, we did a flight to Silsersee near Saint Moritz. It has been for us one of the most amazing flights over the Alps, as we could fly over the Mount Munch that is between Eiger and Jungfrau.

 

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We could steer the balloon easily and the speed at FL 130 was about 30 knots which is a speed leaving enough time to admire the landscape and it allows to go relatively low over the mountains. Once crossing this wonderful mountains, you have to follow during some time the mountain chain as there are not much places to land because the valleys are narrow and deep with some powerlines on them.

 

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With the EcoMagic balloon you fly with the confidence that consumption will not be an issue. You can go up and down any time if you want reduce the speed to admire better the landscape or go higher to increase the speed or change direction. With the Aconcagua N-180, 3 persons on board, 145 Kg of gas and staying much time at 15.000 ft, we spent 95 Kg of gas in a 6:07 hours flight from 10:05 to 16:12. So still we had gas for at least three hours more, even it had been dark earlier. Basket was C-10 and double MK-32 with one side vapor+oxygen pilot light. Even was not necessary, we like to test the equipment when possible. The radio+transponder worked perfectly  and Ultramagic Flightpack App allowed the retrieve to be there in a reasonable short time, besides making easier the navigation.

 

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Landing was in lake Silsersee. We arrived to the valley some km south and we could follow the valley heading Northeast to land finally in the middle of the frozen lake. Before landing , as there were some people walking over it , we could ask them if ice was enough thick to support the balloon. Recovery till the main road was done gently by a snowmobile.



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Dinner in a nice restaurant besides the lake and returning after directly to the apartment closed this memorable flight we will keep forever in mind.

 

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Some nice pictures in the Valley of Chateau d’Oex

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FULL SOLAR ECLIPSE IN SVALBARD

20 MARCH 2015

Finnally the full solar eclipse. We were ready this morning, after checking again the weather forecast and seeing that was a similar weather from yesterday, we  decided to start near Longyearbye in the Adventalen Valley. Also as we had to carry the 360 º GoPro 6 cameras and the rest of the team had no snowmobile, has been the best option.At 9:30 we were ready for inflation, but our decision was to take off at 10:30, so we have been waiting for some time, even is difficult when you have good weather and think that maybe later will be more windy. Anyway at 10 we start the inflation and at 10:20 we are ready to take off. With all equipment ready, we take off at 10:30 and we climb slowly to 3000 ft. As we are near the airport , we comunicate with the tower, even we do not expect big planes taking off or landing. All people is waiting already for the eclipse.

At 10:50 , as planned we start to climb to 10000 ft, previous authorization of the controler of Longyearbyen airport, because this was the planned altitude to look at the full eclipse. We climb slowly because the small 42 balloon with 3 persons on board and 2 x 30 Kg cylinders, even the cold temperature (-20 ºC in the ground) , does not permit to climb fast.

Landscape is wonderful , but when it comes the full eclipse, we are all three astonished. Nobody talks and we all try to keep in the deep memory this 3 minutes that we can’t stop.

It has been a happy day for us and we are conscious of this privilege. This incredible sight we will remeber forever. After finishing the full eclipse, we think again that we have not excess of propane and we need to finish to pass the mountains to make an easy retrieve. So we stay still high enough to have a good speed and direction and looking at the nice landscape.

When we are already over the valley, we descent and wait or sme minutes flying near the ground to savour a little bit more the flight with this landscape. With 12 % on each bottle after 1 hour and 35 minutes, we land safely with Jacob, our guide for all this days on the side.

It has been a very special experience that we will remember forever.

 

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19 MARCH 2015

With a good weather forecast with wind from the north, we decide to go at half way from the valley of Adventalen to the valley of Reindalen. Visibility was perfect and it has been a good test for tomorrow during the eclipse. Today we could manage to fly over some mountain and also to fly near the ground in the valley without the problems from yesterday. As we had a good sunshine, there were some shadows that were helpful to see the distance from the ground.  So no problem to fly low, even the power from the burners was low because we did not pressurize. With a 42 and the new burner was good enoug to have power also for a distraction, that there wasn’t today.  A lot of filming, pictures, etc. because we had time to fly and admire the landscape with all the beautiness of this area. The retrieve were below the balloon before we landed, so it was an easy exercise today because the forecast was accurate to the reality. Let’s hope tomorrow is similar. We have already planned the flight for tomorrow and we hope we can be in the air during the full eclipse.

 

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18 MARCH 2015

Arrived yesterday afternoon to Longyearbyen with all equipment as passenger luggage, today we have had the pleasure to make our first flight in Svalbard. Arrival here with all equipment, has been complicated, but we succeeded. So yesterday after being installed in the appartment, we went to fill our 2 x 30 Kg cylinders of propane. Here propane is expenive as it has to be brought from mainland and at this time of the year, very few ships are coming. So the M-42 Double layer top 40 % was the right balloon to bring. At this temperature (minus 20 ºC) we thought we could fly with the 2 30 Kg cylinders and 3 persons on board. The Tekno CT-01 (0,8 m x 1,00 m) with the cylinders outside was our choice and after the first flight, we think it was a right decision.

The wind today was forecasted to not be strong, so anytime could be good, but at around 12 was expected to have poor visibility and in fact it happened.

We moved with the snowmobiles to a big valley south of the town, so not to disturb in the airport and also to have a wide nice area to fly. Counseled by Jacob , our tour guide who has solved several important points so we can fly, we drive to Nordenskiöld Land National Park . We prepare the balloon with some wind and we fly. It looks simple, but really we were lucky that the day after arrival we are flying with the balloon in a wonderful valley. It has been a flight so our guide knows how works the balloon and also we get familiar with the landscape and the balloon.

We could not find the appropriate conection for the nitrogen tank, so as we had already  tried already in Switzerland the new burner  MK-32 without presurization and worked quite well, we decide to fly anyway. With a small balloon M.42, we do not need much power, but flying at this temperatures, you need a minimum power that has been proved to be safe.

It has been a short flight of about half hour and we had the time to admire the special landscape of this latitudes. We were very happy to be flying here and we consider it as a privilege we can do and lucky enough to meet with the good weather.

Angel and Miquel from Kon-Tiki have a good experience also as they have flown in Greenland and advised specially to be carefull with the altitude as it is very dificult to know the distance when you are near the ground. Even that, because the visibility was not good, we had a ground touch without advertising any of us and taking it as a bad surprise. Fortunately all was OK and we continued our flight without problem. We asked the snowmobile to be near under the balloon and it worked well, but at the landing, which was a little windy, again we hit harder than expected, but at least this time we were all ready.

It has been a good test as with 3 pax on board with the 42 we just spent 20 Kg of gas including inflation, so we think we can do, weather permitting, longer flights in this wonderful laandscape.

 

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FULL MOON NIGHT FLIGHT OVER PYRENEES

On 6th March 2015 we have done a night flight over the Pyrenees with full moon. This has been a very nice experience that has taken some time to prepare. In fact we were in the same place, Vall d’Aran one month earlier and we discarded the flight. The reason was too windy and even was possible to fly we thought the time over the Pyrenees had been too short to enjoy.

So one month later, this last Friday 6th March 2015 , we go back again. As we had all work till late, we decided to go direct after dinner at home, without much sleeping.

The Valley of Aran is not very wide, so powerlines, river and  villages do not leave much places for take off. Also we did not like to disturb too much the people sleeping as with the fan starting at 4:15 is not nice. So it took us more time than expected to find the right spot to take off, but it had it’s premium. A nice snowed field enough far to not disturb the night to villagers in Arties. Also was enough big in case of changing the wind direction some degrees. So we had time to prepare well the take off. We were all excited and after being all ready we started the flight at 4:41 a.m. . As the wind was not strong, we could manage to go a little down to the valley approaching Vielha looking around as we were climbing gently. The landscape was wonderful and the pictures do not show the clarity we had on our eyes with the full moon and the snow reflection. This has been a mistake to not repeat. Before we need to prepare the cameras and take some shots at distance, so we check the pictures are good enough. Anyway we were climbing steady at 4 m/s until we had clear any rotor could not take us on the mountains. At about 3500 m we level the flight and we look at the beautiful scenary having the Aneto and Biciberri not far at our right and other wonderful mountains and lakes around. We took off with the Adriatic M-105 balloon with double layer up to 40 %, so with  6×25 Kg titanium  cylinders, we knew we should not have any trouble for the consumption.

After passing the Pyrenees, we start to climb to high altitude up to 21000 feet to test the new MK-32 burner. One side of the burner with the pilot light on vapour and oxygen and the other side with the standard  liquid pilot light. All went perfectly, though we had to descent fast as we were approaching the TMA of Zaragoza , and still no radio contact with Barcelona tower. Before entering TMA we could contact and put a transponder code, so we were well controlled during the rest of the flight.

Sunrise was another beautiful scenary. As you are high, you see a very large horizon with light. Very few clouds started to appear in the Pyrenees , but we could do the flight out of clouds when we were over there, so the light of the moon over the snowed mountains was incredible.

Balloons have this interesting particularity: You never repeat a flight. This makes all flights very challenging and surprising, as you have to change your mind many times and improvise according the new situation. That is part of the balloon appeal.

We could see the smoke of some factories not too horizontal, so we were expecting a nice landing. Fortunately we could find a good place near a highway exit, so the retrieve was not too late to arrive when we landed at 8:39. With a 105 climbing at more than 6000 m , and remaining more than 1 bottle of 25 Kg, so with a consumption of 125 Kg including inflation, we think was a good performance for the balloon. Adriatic M-105 is the recycled envelope form the older Aconcagua N-180 after being found in the Adriatic sea 10 days after sea landing. But that is another story.

 

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CATALONIA TOUR 2015

Week from 23rd to 27th February has been organized by Kon-Tiki a Tour by Balloon in Catalonia for some of its best scenaries .

The weather has not been very helpful, but Angel and Miquel have squeezed their knowledges to profit it at most. So it has been a memorable week with 12 participants from different parts of Europe that have enjoyed this fantastic flights through out the country.

Thursday 26th February

Tuesday and wednesady have been relax days. Too windy to fly. As the group was in Ager, the teams  profited to do some walking excursions around.

Morning of 26th weather forecast is good and the direction interesting to follow some of the natural corners of the area. We missed enter the canyon, but most of the balloons they did. It is a very deep natural gorge with high walls both sides, so you need to be careful when entering. After passing Ager area, we decided to continue as we had enough gas (2×40 Kg+ 1×20 Kg)  with the double layer Aconcagua balloon to make a long flight. So we could arrive to Igualada in 4 hours and 10 minutes and could avoid returning by car. A very nice flight that I am sure all pilots enjoyed.

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Monday 23rd February

After an evening dinner all together on Sunday, we get up early in the morning to fly in Cerdanya because in this area the weather forecast seems good enough. We had a pleasant preparation and take off and with a nice speed and direction towards the coast at approximate 120 º direction, we fly over a part of the Pyrenees and nice landscapes  till near the coast. When you fly at 5000 m and ground is at sea level , it takes about 20 or 30 minutes, so at a speed of 80 Km/h if you start your descent 5 minutes late and you want to land near the coast, maybe you are in the water. To be on the safe side, we start our descent about 20 Km before the coast line, and when we see also that the smoke near the ground is going inland, we can be sure we will ot end on the sea.

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FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL de BALLONS, CHÂTEAU-D’OEX

31 January

As we were approaching Saturday, the weather forecast was improving for the morning. We had decided to leave already on Saturday, because Sunday again is to have snow, so we took the M-42 Double Layer to make a short flight in the valley. The morning has been wonderful and with a clean sky we took off at 9:30, so we could descend on the valley to Gruyere. As was all so snowed, the landscape is incredible.  We pass Montbouvon at a nice speed as usual, avoiding the rotor in the neck bottle. Then  we  go up to check if the winds not too high were enough to fly to Zweisiemmen. As we were with a small balloon and I did not want to overheat, we  went up just 1500 AGL but we could not get the wind enough fast to go back. Together with the intention to go home same saturday, we decided go down again and land in Grandvillard. Retrieve was already advanced there using the flightpacktracker, so we could pack all and leave just when started to snow again around 3 p.m. One hour and half with a 42 with 2 people and still half of the 70 Kg gas we took on take off, is a good performance for so small balloon in this conditions.

So the week  in Chateau d’Oex was finished. For the bad forecast we had previously, at the end we managed to do 5 flights all with particular interest , so we were satisfied to have come again to this magnific winter event.

 

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28 January

Finally we have had a nice day. Medium clear sky and not  much wind. With a good forecast, we decided to take again the Vista basket with the Aconcagua N-180 envelope. So we could stay in the air with four cylinders as much as we wanted. Again testing burner, also a new instrument that will soon come out and practicing again with the Vista basket, was an enjoyable flight. The first idea was to go down to Gruyere and then with the upper winds to go to Zweisiemmen. The catabatic winds did not take down the valley, so we stayed for some time around Chateau d’Oex and once we could know the different winds, we decided to go high and move East to Gstaad. Playing up and down and looking at the time left, we decided anyway to arrive to Zweisiemmen which we did easily following the  valley from Saanen. The track shown does not arrive to the landing point as I had it set for “short” flights, so you do not forget to stop it after landing. For long flights you can set the track not to stop and then it had been the full track. We landed with some wind , so I put the basket backwards and we had a nice landing near the Heliport. A comfortable flight with nice landscape, music, champagne, some biscuit with salmon and serrano ham made the day very enjoyable and worth the trip from Igualada.

With the Flightpacktracker, I could see also the balloon of Chris in the team umalps, so it helped to know each other the winds at different altitudes looking at both tracks. By the way, soon available in Ipad and Iphone as we are already beta testing.

After a 3 hours and 58 minutes including inflation, with 3×40 Kg + 1×30 Kg tanks we landed still with a lot of gas that could keep us up for another 3 hours. It’s quite comfortable to know that you can fly without being worried for the cgas, but only for geting dark and if not possible to land in a place, still have gas enough to climb and get into another valley (weather permitting).

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27 January

Weather unstable, so we decided again to use the small M-42 balloon double layer for the flight. The winds were good so we could manage a nice flight going first down to Les Moulins and after going up, to follow direction to Rougemont and Gstaad. We did a flight of 1 hour and 40 minutes taking of and inflating with a 1×40 Kg and 1×30 Kg. We still had gas at least for another hour, but as we were near Gstaad we decided to land after the aerodrome of Saanen in a nice field. The snow was high and we could not enter with the car, but with the light Tekno basket and a M-42 was not a problem to put all back in the car.

 

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26 January

With the snow starting to fall just after the briefing, we decided to fly with the M-42 with 50 % double layer and the Tekno 50. We have taken 2 cylinders (1×40 Kg + 1x30Kg) and we have flown for 48 minutes as we had to land before Payerne because it is a military area that were training with drones today. Not a good place to be around with a balloon.

It has been our first time to fly snowing, but we felt very safe. Not much wind and with the clouds in the top of the mountains was a good choice to have a small balloon. With 2 persons, including inflation we spent 20 Kg. which is not bad. So we landed with enough gas to fly for 2 hours more at least.

We could drop quite well the marker in the target of Les Moulins, but we forgot  them in the Vista basket. Next time we will be more aware with the checklist.

After Montbouvon in the valley to Gruyere, the wind increased, but we had the chance to get a nice field. We forgot to keep the radios, so were with some snow afterwards as we dragged some meters on the snow. An interesting flight profiting what was possible to do today. We expect bad weather tomorrow, but will be at the briefing in case forecast changes.

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24 January

First day and a nice flight with the Vista basket on a M-145 double layer envelope. Passengers enjoyed the flight because were very comfortable and at the end we could do a nicer flight than expected. We climbed at 1200 m AGL  having a nice view of the mountains, even was not a sunny day. We had cava on board for the passengers and a couple of biscuits with smoked salmon and “bellota” ham. Pilot had to wait for the brindis with the passengers after the landing.

We went down the valley and after climbing and going backwards we could manage to fly again over the launch field. A soft landing over the snow with  light winds, permitted to carry the basket with the balloon inflated on the  trailer.

A precise organization as we are used to have here, with excellent  information on weather, traffic control, etc. which all pilots apreciate when coming.

 

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DOLOMITI BALLOON FESTIVAL 2015

We have participated again in this wonderful event. We arrived Wednesday 14th January in the evening ready to fly next morning, weather permitting. We knew that on Saturday the weather forecast was bad, so we were ready to profit the next days.

15th January

After a morning briefing prepared by Gunter Binder  for the meteo, a group of friend pilots was ready to fly  in  the valley and some across the mountains.

We agreed with Ramses Vanneste he would fly the Aconcagua N-180 with 40 % double layer and we would fly the Adriatic M-105 also double layer profited from the previous Aconcagua….

We did a nice flight of just about 100 Km because the next valleys were foggy with few possibilities to disappear during the afternoon. Anyway was a flight to get in place with all the equipment and trying also prototype burner in altitude and different combinations.

With the M-105 we flew heavy as we were three passengers, quadruple burner, 3×40 Kg. cylinders and 1 of 30 Kg, oxygen, equipment, etc. and climbing up to 5000 m. We could not climb higher because we had no clearance from Wien airport. Anyway it was a good flight and we were all back at 8:00 p.m. for dinner after a 2:56 hours of flight. Consumption was 100 Kg. including inflation which was not bad for high climbing and a little heavy loaded balloon.

 

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16th January

At briefing we were told conditions were good for long distance flight. Other pilots had been flying already several alpine flights, so we were the only team ready for a long distance flight. As we were told maybe bad weather could arrive in the afternoon, at 10:10 we took-off, this time with the Aconcagua balloon. We did send the flight plan and talk by telephone with Milano airport and after TO and trying to reach altitude directly, we started moving fast NE, so after trying during the climb to contact Milano, we were already in Austria. We contacted Wien Airport and we were told to stay maximum at FL 145. At this altitude we were drifting 60 º at a speed of 100 Km/h . So we were happy to be there as we were seeing, even that area was covered, that we could reach easily out of the cloud area in less than an hour. Unfortunately my transponder batteries were not well charged and we had to stay below FL 145. In the other hand, was  enough height to not get the turbulences of the mountains, and after one hour we could admire a very nice side of the Alps. We kept flying until we could find a good spot for landing. That was after 270 Km and 4 hours flight which was enough to enjoy a fantastic flight together  with Josep and Darwin. This time we knew we had more than enough gas :3 x 40 Kg + 1×30 Kg. We spent 80 kg (2×40 ) in the 4 hours flight including inflation, so we had remaining 70 more Kg, which means 4 hours more at least. More than we could need before sunset. We could have made a very long flight, but we did the best part in the Alps, so we were very satisfied of the flight. We waited the retrieve having a nice lunch in the nearby village Halltal after a ride given by a friendly villager.

We were back at Hotel Rosengarten in Dobbiaco at 2:00 a.m. As the weather forecasted for Saturday unfortunately was correct, we decided to come back home same Saturday.

Congratulations to Ramses Vanneste brilliant winner of the Dolomiti Balloon Trophy as his team flew 330 Km last Monday.

 

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SECOND FLIGHT IN JYVASKILA

Last night we did a second flight in central Finland. It has been very different from the first one and again very interesting. We were fortunate to see the sun in the sunset and in the sunrise. The colours of the sky and in the lakes were wonderful and here are some pictures to show them. We recommend to go some time to fly in Finland as it is very special. Few power  lines, not much air traffic, big wilderness , and an amazing countriside. Don’t think all is the same because landscape varies quite  a lot and flights are challenging you to decide when and where to land.

Today was a little warmer and we were loaded heavier. We were carrying 230 Kg of gas and flying 3 persons heavier than the day before. Even that, we spent in the Aconcagua N-180 170 Kg. without inflation flying 8 hours and 7 minutes. That’s a different flying when you burn after more than one minute.

 

 

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Here finish our Finish Experience. Thank you to Markku Sippinen and all his team that made possible this amazing story. We will come back again to fly in this wonderful country.

 

 

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AFTER A GOOD REST


Flight has been wonderful. There was not much wind, so we did not a long distance, but 7:30 hours flying over Finland landscape is very special.

The balloon was flying light, so consumption was good. We spent including inflation, 140  Kg. of gas. We were 3 pax on board and with 200 Kg of gas, so for sure we could fly for another 3 hours. It has been a very nice experience. All “night” with daylight , even the sunset. After more than 20 km without a spot in the forest (we were not looking for it), we found a good one that you can see in a picture.

Now we had a good sleep. Still not sure we fly again tonight, but we are ready. Depends also on meteo forecast.

 

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FINLAND LONG ENDURANCE FLIGHT

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Long endurance flight in Finland. 2 balloons: Aconcagua and Meyer. It is 1 am and we can still enjoy daylight.

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BACK HOME SATURDAY 2ND FEB

 

Today we got up snowing. Forecast was more snow during the day and just a possible window to fly on Sunday. As it was just a possibility, we decided to return today home.

Yesterday was raining all the day, so we had a good rest day visitin Chateau d’Oex and Gstaad and buying some of the excellent Gruyere cheese from the region.

With the Flight on Thursday, we close the season in the Alps. Here just one picture taken from the Sinmetal Double Layer balloon. To fly in the Alps with the Aconcagua balloon is a pleasure.

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LONG DISTANCE FLIGHT FROM CHATEAU D’OEX TO FERRARA

 

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We have been very lucky. Arrived evening 30th and next day very good for long distance.

Thanks to Stefan Zeberli and Chris Meyer that  were preparing the Flight that evening,  while we were looking the football match Real Madrid-Barcelona, we had the chance on the 31  to make a wonderful Flight.

We had a nice speed of 50 Km/h  at 10000 ft and up to 120 Km/h when flying at FL 170. So as the speed was high we had to mantain a bit separate to avoid turbulences.

 

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We flew together with Sintermetal Double layer balloon for 3 hours while crossing all the mountains. We had the oportunity to see quite well Matterhorn (Cervino), Monte Rosa, Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau a little further and Mont Blanc quite far, but with good visibilty due to an excellent clear morning.

 

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Here are some pictures that speak for the Flight. Help first from Chateau d’Oex, and trafc control from Switzerland and Italy made the Flight very pleasant as also temperature  was quite high (just -10 ºC at 5000 m). Also Chris and Stefan from the other ballon were opening contact with controlers, so I was not so busy with that.

 

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Again radio and transponder worked well, so it makes much easier the Flight. Unfortunately the new yellowbrick GPS was  stoped after Milan, when we were still flying, I need to check what happened.

 

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The descent was easy, but we had some fog for the last 300 m close  to the ground. As it was not windy we could  descent very slowly , knwing by the GPS Compegps the ground altitude  all the time, so the distance to the ground.

 

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We flew 4 hours and 20 minutes, spending 130 Kg of gas including inflation. 5  persons on board and 160 Kg  of gas. So we  left gas at least for another hour. We could approach moret he coast, but past experiences decided us to descent a little far from the coast.

 

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Weather forecast for 1st and 2nd February seems not good, but we will wait and see.

 

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NEXT FLIGHT IN CHATEAU D’OEX ON 30 JANUARY

 

 

Weather forecast for today was bad, so we decided to go back home.  We had 4 wonderful flights and we will come back the last days to the  Semaine des Ballons de Chateau d’Oex to fly if weather is good enough.

 

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FLIGHT FROM FILZMOOS TO EAST LINZ

 

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Briefing at 8:30 and forecast good to make a a Alpine Flight. So we prepare clothes, hook the tràiler and go to the launch field. We got stocked in the snow and after trying during some time to move from there, finally we got the help of several friends and could move to a spot to inflate the  balloon. Wind was down to the road ad we had a power  line behind far enough we thought. Balloon is inflated with no wind and when we were almost ready to take off a strong gust oposite to the direction of inflation, approached us to the wires. Fortunately again with the help of several people we could fix te  balloon after it touched the power line slightly. No damage, so we took off as soon as we could to avoid any other gust.

 

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Scenary was wonderful and much more clear sky than we could expect. So with this nice mountains we start to drift North. To stay some more time over the mountains, we climbed up to FL 125 after got authorization of Wien Info, so we changed direction to about 40º.

 

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We stayed for  2  hours at this level to arrive East of Linz, so we crossed the Danube river when it joins with Enns river.

 

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We had most of time clear sky and also mostly we could see the ground n the direction we were going, so we were flying very comfortably  all the Flight. Dark color in the picture is the  shadow of the higher clouds.

 

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After passing  the Danube, we started our descent and fortunately near the ground was calm. When approaching for landing, some unexpected gust changed sudenly  the direction 180  º. We were aware, so it was not a problem and we could land safely in a big field. Retrieve arrived just after packing the balloon, so we could go alltogether to have lunch in a nearby restaurant.

 

 

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Consumption after a 2  hours and 34 minutes flight with 5  persons  on board and 180 Kg of gas was 52 Kg. Always  including inflation and waiting time.

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Afternoon was to drive back to Salzburg to have th time to visit Hangar 7 and after have a nice dinner with Rudolf Schneider and family.

 

 

 

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DOBBIACO TO FILZMOOS

Today we travelled to Filzmoos. Snow has fallen this last days here , so now all around is white.

During the evening we participated in the nightglow with a Tekno thanks to Rudolf Schneider. That was much easier  and more bright because Aconcagua balloon is opaque.

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LONG FLIGHT FROM DOBBIACO TO SOUTH ZAGREB

Jan 13, 2013

 

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Track was cut during the flight. This is the complete one but you can’t interact.

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The forecast for tomorrow is not good and also we will be travelling to Filzmoos. So we decided today to go for a long Flight.

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Main direction has been from 300 º,  and we have pointed to go Ljubljana and further if conditions were good.

 

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We have crossed a very nice part of the Dolomites approching some sumits because wind in lower altitude was about 10 knots. So we took our time to do this wonderful part of the Alps

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After contacting Padova we requested permit to climb to FL160 and we have been authorized. The speed at that altitude was about 45 Knotts so it was enough to make a long distance Flight.

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We have stayed at this altitude for several hours, crosssing Slovenia and entering Croacia. Radar and Info  controlers from Ljubljana and Zagreb have been very kind to not put any trouble to our requests.

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After admiring for some time the cover of clouds, we could see the Adriatic Sea at some distance to not  forget a past experience 2 years ago.

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We have started the descent near Karlobag and we landed in a very nice village called Lesce where we found much expectation for the ballloon arriving. People has been very kind to help packing the balloon and translating to the Police about what were doing there passengers from Barcelona and Japan.

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Retrieve took some time as it was a complicated landing point. We arrive late in Dobbiaco thinking we have profited well this 3 flight days.

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Today we flew just 3 persons: Masa Fujita, Jaume Ordi and myself and consumption has been 100 Kg. For a 4:50 hours Flight. We flew very light but we stayed for moret han 3 hours at 5000 m, so performance were good with Aconcagua Balloon. We landed still with 80  Kg. Gas.

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DOBBIACO DAY 2

 

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Today we had another wonderful flight. Windspeed about 25 knt (40 Km/h) and direction 310 º above 100 FL.

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Most of the flight has been sunny, so we had a view of the mountains all around. We took  off flying low for some time to go East and after we climbed to take this 310 º. Landing near Udine and easy retrieve as we were back to Dobbiaco at 7 p.m.

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We were 5 on board with 180 Kg. of gas. Flight time 3 hours and consumption including inflation and half hour waiting to take off was 70 Kg. Still plenty of gas at landing.

 

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Here are some pictures that speak better of the flight.

 

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Can you find the balloon?

We had some time to celebrate with a cup of cava

 

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ALPINE FLIGHTS 2013

Jan 10, 2013

 

 

 

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This year we participate again in Dobbiaco / Toblach for some days. This is a very nice event with very experienced pilots participating. They already made some excelent flights and today  we did a long valley flight. We  flew for  2 hours and 45 minutes with Masa Fujita, Satoko Fujita and Yudai Fujita together with Josep Punti. It has been a quiet flight to get organized after a long trip yesterday of 18 hours coming from Igualada.

Flight was very interesting as we could fly relatively low and we had good chance to land in a not busy road. Visibility was not very good, but we could see some of the impressive mountains around.

Retrieve by Jaume Ordi was excellent as we had the balloon on the trailer in about 45 minutes after landing.  Aconcagua balloon behaviour make us feel very comfortable as we can forget about gas problem. Consumption was 69  Kg including inflation, and we had still remaining  81  Kg.

So now we are ready for longer flights over the mountains.

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ALL OUR ALPINE FLIGHTS JANUARY 2012 CAN BE SEEN

Jan 20, 2012

We are back home and our Experience in the Alps this 2012 has finished.

Here you can see the 4 tracks of our Flights in the Alps. You need to enter an email and any code to see the details. This is just a picture.

11th January

https://app.spidertracks.com/home.mvc/viewtrack?sid=uGfq_Zuwkpamqm3kxol8Trp65llfr7AOwYSCTSiKLOVnpr2K-SBA4J2qxNlmR3bJ

12th January

https://app.spidertracks.com/home.mvc/viewtrack?sid=MqIwGxcB71xn8XS-Fy5Tpt0NEZgHrDNVEQ4oH9KOBeLmPcbhWSIMg_pP_v858hPI

16th January

https://app.spidertracks.com/home.mvc/viewtrack?sid=BPPIFOkmnLEBFJ9fTxyJjQs6BE0PTaAt8UOnQnEgwepRCA39L4pI4QYyEcak2Wnf

18th January (first part)

https://app.spidertracks.com/home.mvc/viewtrack?sid=yTpDhNGARsRC7-F2A1hzzsq1T3RloH2kULpO-ns44-aY16W33YnlM8SbkRTLklpB

18th January (last part)

https://app.spidertracks.com/home.mvc/viewtrack?sid=adteBUtcCQZmC2IOnGmolemCUtQC8XZF546xjTqBxh8kBTRIFGHs9w_55JMKqWeY

Just another nice picture.

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34 CHATEAU D’OEX INTERNATIONAL BALLOON FESTIVAL

Jan 20, 2012

We are in Chateau d’Oex. We believe is the oldest Alpine balloon meeting. When we think on the conditions they were flying those brave pilots, we just can admire them.

It is snowing, so no flight today. Also tomorrow seems to be bad weather.

So probably saturday we will go home. It is almost 2 weeks  out, but we are glad to show the Aconcagua balloon and do several magnific flights during this days.

Also we have tested new things, so we hope soon can be incorporated for our customers…

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THURSDAY : MOVING TO CHATEAU D’OEX

Jan 20, 2012

After this nice flights in Filzmoos, today we are moving to Chateau d’Oex. The other “big” meeting in the Alps.

We will just stay Firday and Saturday and for the weather forecast, it seems we will not be able to fly.

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WEDNESDAY: A VERY QUIET LONG FLIGHT OVER THE ALPS

Jan 18, 2012

Weather forecast at the briefing has given good weather for today. Heading south East in lower altitudes and going South when climbing.
The temperature today at the launch field was relatively comfortable at -8 ºC. So we could prepare well the equipment.


So we started the flight not climbing much to get a more southeastern direction.

The flight in this are has been wonderful as we could approach very much the crests because it was not too windy at this altitude.

 

After we have climbed to head south and cross the big valley of Villach. That is a nice valley with several lakes that keep you looking the scenary.


When approaching the border of Slovenia, we had in front a nice sharp mountain thata again we could approach relatively low to have a different view that was incredibly spectacular.


We have been authorized to pass the airport of Ljubljana and the town itself heading south and approaching the border of Croatia.

We finally landed in a very nice valley where the peasants came to see  curious.

Today we have been 4 persons on board with 2×40+3×30+1×20 = 190 Kg of gas. We have been flying for 5 hours and 12 minutes spending including inflation 115 Kg. This gives again a consumption of 20 Kg/h which allowed us still to fly for 4 hours more . This balloon gives a comfortability to be sure that the gas will not be a problem that we think we can enjoy better the flight.


Anoyher exceptional flight from Filzmoos that all on board will never  forget.

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AGAIN SNOW TODAY

Jan 17, 2012

This morning we got up snowing. So the flight has been canceled again.

In the afternoon we have viewed the film of the flight over Kilimanjaro and we had some questions on the Experience.

Hope tomorrow to fly as the forecast is good.

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MONDAY : IT HAS BEEN WORTH TO WAIT

Jan 16, 2012

After 2 days waiting for good weather, finally it arrived. It is worth to wait.
After a short briefing thanking for the night glow and telling us the wind forecast for today, we went to the field to prepare the balloon.
It has not been easy as we were at -18 ºC. The hoses difficult to bend, but all was working without problem.


Take off at 10:10 and landing at 14:15. A long flight with avery different scenary. Lots of snow nearby Filzmoos, as it has been snowing a lot the last week. So a wondereful landscape where you do not get tired to look at.


Heading SSE, we crossed the border of Italy and finally landed near Cisterna  at about 20 Km West of Udine.


This time we shared the flight with 2 balloonists from USA Henry and George. So we flew 5 people in total.

Gas on board was 2×40+2×30+1×20 = 160 Kg. and in the 5 hours we spent less than 100 Kg, which is really good. This do not include the inflation as we used the same 30 Kg tank we had for the night glow.


Another terrific flight that make us  think we are privileged persons we can do it as balloonists. Speed again was around 50 km/h which for me is the best to fly in the Alps to have enough time to look at the landscape.

 

 

 

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33 INTERNATIONAL BP GAS BALLOON ALPINE TROPHY IN FILZMOOS

Jan 15, 2012

Weather this Sunday has been again too complicated to leave more than 40 balloons to take off over the Alps. So we have to wait until Monday where is expected good weather to fly.
This afternoon all the balloons have done a night glow. Very successful as a lot of public was attending even the temperatures have been very low.

 

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MOVING BY CAR TO FILZMOOS

Jan 14, 2012

Today we have been at the briefing of 8:00 a.m. for the weather and again the wind was too strong.

Nice weather, with almost no clouds, but windy and turbulent enough in altitude to not take off.

Now we are moving by car to Filzmoos.

It is one of the most known Alpine Winter Balloon meetings with a long and experienced trajectory. It is the first time we go there and we are very excited to participate.

Weather expected for tomorrow is better, so we hope tomorrow we can do a nice flight in the area of Filzmoos.

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WINDY FRIDAY

Jan 13, 2012

We assisted at the briefing this morning and the wind is too strong to fly over the mountains. Some are flying in the valley, but we will wait for tomorrow.

After the briefing we passed the film of Kilimanjaro, so it could be seen for all pilots in the meeting.

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FLY OVER THE ALPS TO SLOVENIA

Jan 12, 2012

The forecast was really good to have a pleasant flight at reasonably low speed to Slovenia, so we decided to fly together with Joan.

The prediction was perfect and at a speed around 40 Km/h and direction East or EastSouthEast we have done a very nice crossing of the Alps in direction to Lubjana.

As the speed was low enough , we had the opportunity to fly relatively low. So most of the time we were below 3000 m and just climbing to go more East sometimes to have nice mountains around.


Sometime very close to the mountain, but always having enough time to climb in case of any turbulence. We did not notice any in all the flight, so we could admire the beauty of this part of the Alps.


We found the radio did not charge well and we just had the walkie to contact Lubjana Airport when approaching. We could land still 30 Km before the airport, so it was not a problem.


You can find the shadow of our balloon in the picture.

We flew Joan, Jaume Cuatrecases, Jaume Ordi and myself and we had plenty of gas. 2×40+3×30+1×20 total 190 Kg. We flew almost 5 hours and spent 110 Kg including inflation, so we still had gas enough for about 4 hours. That means in case of trouble not finding before sunset a good spot for the retrieve car to arrive , we had gas enough for another flight next morning…. So we were flying very comfortable admiring the landscape. Here some pictures of today.

We found a nice field after flying some time near the ground.


We have had a nice dinner coming back in Bled in front of the lake and with a nice viewing of the castle in front. Here a picture with its reflection in the lake.

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DOLOMITI BALLOON FESTIVAL : ONE OF THE GREATS IN THE ALPS

Jan 11, 2012

General Information

We will explain a little every day (when possible) our experience flying in the Alps this January.

I hope it will be of your interest. You will be able to follow the track in life every day we do, but in 2D to simplify.

In winter we use to take off late, so don’t worry you will have not to get up early to follow it.

 

 

 

 

11th January 2011

We arrived yesterday late night after 17 hours driving from Igualada. So in the morning we were a little tired.

Short briefing for a perfect weather to cross North South the Alps from Dobbiaco.

We took off a half hour later than the others because we had to prepare all, and most of other teams were  waiting for this weather for some days because the meteo in the precedent days was bad.

So at 11:35 we took off climbing up to FL 135 that was the maximum allowed in the Notam. To go higher, you need to ask permission to Padova. Anyway that was a wonderful altitude to fly not too high over the mountains and also because the speed around 40-50 Km/h allowed us to do.

Pictures speak by themselves, though when flying, the scenery is still better. Dolomiti is one of the best scenery not just in the Alps but in the entire world, and we feel fortunate to fly over.

We took off with 2×40 Kg + 2×30 Kg + 1 master of 20 Kg witconcagua balloon. A N-180 with 40 % double layer (still missing 2 more panels to cover and not much time in the factory to do it).

We climbed at a maximum of 4500 m. The balloon was flying light because we were just 3 on board. So the consumption after almost 3 hours has been of less than 70 Kg. With the inflation we have to add another 10 Kg. approximately.

We decided to go down near Belluno, but we had to climb again to almost 2500 m to move more out of the mountains and the powerlines because that area was plenty of them.

We were so fortunate that we could land in a small airfield in Torch where is an amateur ultralight builder Mr. Dalborgo that had a very nice airfield where has stored the ultralight he built during 12 years.

He offered us, after showing the ultralight, a very good cheese homemade  and wine and beers to celebrate the first crossing of this year.

All happy we came back to the hotel after refuelling for next flight.

 

 

 

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