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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Weather forecast for 1st and 2nd February seems not good, but we will wait and see.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Track was cut during the flight. This is the complete one but you can’t interact.
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.
Main direction has been from 300 º, and we have pointed to go Ljubljana and further if conditions were good.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today we had another wonderful flight. Windspeed about 25 knt (40 Km/h) and direction 310 º above 100 FL.
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.
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.
Here are some pictures that speak better of the flight.
Can you find the balloon?
We had some time to celebrate with a cup of cava
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.