Gas Balloon World Record

Uploaded by nottinghamscience on 01.10.2009

Everything is going fine and we are world record
holders, so…
We are currently at 10, 000 feet at 12 o’clock on
Tuesday now, Tuesday, the 8th of September. Been
flying since Saturday, the 5th of September, 11 o’clock
at night and it’s now 12 o’clock, so you can work it out, I
can’t work it out. I think it’s 60 hours, it’s just over 60
hours or so. And we’ve had our world record for 2
So here we have the infamous port of Dover, queuing
for the ferry at Dover, having driven down from
Nottingham via a certain point to pick up some life rafts
and life jackets, so we are waiting for the ferry to take
the car across to Calais and then Germany. Currently
this is the Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race, the initial
briefing in Geneva, we are in a hotel and we are being
told all the things we are going to have to do and not do
and this is the opening ceremony. We have the FAI
opening it. We are welcomed and the national anthem of
the FAI is being played.
The race is called the Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon race
and it’s the longest distance from where they take off,
so in this case it’s the longest distance from Geneva.
The balloons take off and they go wherever they want to
and they just end up, they can go over any country they
want to, within the rules, and they just land the furthest
distance from Geneva.
We are in the preparation stage here, but let’s move in
for a closer look and see if they have any…
We don’t have any… LOUD BANG
What was that?
A balloon going up there…
I thought a balloon must have over pressurised and
gone up, I didn’t hear a flame but I just thought it’s got
to be a balloon popping, but I couldn’t understand the
sound at all. And what actually happened was, one of
the pipes supplying the balloon with hydrogen burst. And
they are very, very expensive very well maintained pipes, so it’s quite unusual for one to
go but it did. MUFFLED SPEECH
Well here, we have all the sand bags on the outside of
the balloon. There is more than we are actually going to
fly with, but the reason there’s so many is to stop, to
make it stable, so it just won’t take off on its own.
So now, we’ve just launched, it was almost immediately
after launch , unfortunately, I couldn’t show you the
launch because I was busy, I had my hands full. But now
this is a view of Geneva, just after takeoff.
I am flying with Anne Webb. Anne works at Manchester
University and she is a hot air pilot, she does not have a
gas license, this is her second gas flight so for her it’s
quite incredible. We have just flown through the night
and this is dawn just coming up over the French coast.
This is a place called Montpellier and then we fly on to a
place called Beziers, where we go out to sea for one and
a half days. So this is our view of land currently. We
didn’t realise till later that this was going to be a very
significant view because when you have flown one and a
half days you want to see the land and would be
grateful, so this is us about to leave land.
We are looking at the Swiss team. This balloon, I don’t
remember exactly which one it was but I think this is
either the one that stayed with us and did a very similar
track to us or the one that ended up coming second. I
don’t quite know at this stage, I need to look at this
footage more, but anyway, this is another balloon. We
have flown I don’t know how many kilometers, maybe
400 kilometers by this stage and there is another
balloon right next to us.
But now we are over the sea, so all is calm and the
balloon is heating up, so it’s all a different story really.
So we’ve got past the, well you wouldn’t say dangerous,
but the place where you need to have a bit more skill.
During the day it’s a bit easier, so hopefully we are
going to sunbathe and relax now. So here we are, we’ve
got a view of the coast which is fantastic, we didn’t have
that view for a lot of the flight, most of the flight, a lot of
the flight, we didn’t see the coast. And we spent, as I
say, we went out I think it was about 7 o’clock in the
morning we headed out to sea and we didn’t arrive back
until the following day at about 4 o’clock in the
afternoon, so a lot of time spent over the water and a
very slow flight over the water as well, which was fine
until the last day, well, until about 2 o’clock when we
could see land but we were going painfully slow towards
it. We were going about 5 miles per hour and I kept on
thinking, what happens if the wind changes and we have
an offshore breeze and we get blown back out again, but
we made it, so that was fine. So this is how we fly, we
have the sand and the scoop, and we just throw it out.
And this is me ballasting a little bit of sand. You can see
that sea down there and at some point we ended up
being closer than we would like to the sea, so we just
throw some sand out.
This is Lancashire hot pot with potatoes, onions, carrots
and celery. Have a look. Do have a look, it’s quite
saucy. Yum, yum, yum, yum!
Sunday dinner(!)
Well done. I think that’s the coast I can see behind you.
How are we doing?
Well, I am not going to say anything, cause it is the fatal
last minutes but, we are still approaching the coast
which is good, so we do hope to be coming across the
coast which is a massive relief because we have been
over water since… forever! LAUGHS
Well this was sunrise but what was incredible was that
ridge line, I don’t know if it comes out on the camera
but that cloud was just flowing over that ridge line and
coming down the side of it like a waterfall, like water
over a waterfall, just incredible. MUSIC
So at this point we have just discovered that we’ve
broken a world record. It was 11:56 and apparently the
longest duration flight had been 60 hours and something
and we had broken that so this was a point which was
amazing in the flight just to know we had broken a world
record. We broke the world record for the women’s
world duration so we are the two women who have been
in a balloon for the longest time.
We’ve had our world record for two minutes! It is a
ladies world record, so now we’ve got to beat the men’s
world record. I don’t know what that is but I think it is
considerably more so, so we’ll see about that one.
We’ll work on that
Maybe for the next flight, we’ll go gently PLANE ENGINE
At this point in time, it was a couple of minutes after we
broke the world record, we heard this incredible noise in
the sky and it turned out to be an F 18 fighter jet. And it
had been sent up to come and signal and say hello to us
and congratulations for getting the world record, but it
was just incredible.
We think our race control contacted the Spanish authorities, told them there was two women
in the sky and one of my friends said that there was
two unescorted females, so the Latin blood said
that they had to go round us and have a look at us.
So it was fantastic, absolutely amazing.
So here we are, still in the air, after 60 odd, 9 hours or
something, and we have decided to fly on through the
night, but we started using ballasts, so I suddenly
decided to land, so I am sorry I could not show you the
landing but it was a very last minute decision. And here
we have it, we have landed in a field in Toledo near
Urda, in Toledo, Spain. Here we have the only problem
with my landing and I thought they were cows, but of
course we have landed in Spain, so those black things at
the end of the field are bulls. So here we have the
farmer and he has come out to protect us from the bulls
which was great.
Amazing! 1000 and I don’t know how many kilometers,
60, I don’t know how many hours of flying and a beer
from this wonderful gentleman.
We discovered at the end that we had come sixth, and
we had flown for 69 hours and 22 minutes. APPLAUSE
So now we’ve landed, we’re safe and sound and we are
at the awards ceremony. We have driven all the way
back to Geneva and we are getting presented with our
certificate for sixth place and also congratulations for
having the world record.