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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Some nice pictures in the Valley of Chateau d’Oex
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
18th January (first part)
18th January (last part)
Just another nice picture.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.