ALMOST 10 HOURS…
237 years ago on November 21st, the famous Montgolfier Brothers sent the first men into the sky in one of their hot air balloons – the dawning of manned aviation. Our lives would be no doubt very different if it wasn’t for these brave guys!
What better to celebrate this day in the air? The weather forecast in our area was perfect; cold temperatures, low winds, no fog. Both our longest hot air balloon flights with over 7 hours had taken place back in 2017, so the idea was to see if that could at all be topped. Necessarily, the launch had to be the earliest possible… so at half an hour before sunrise, we took off.
The first hour was quite chilly: About -5°C had been predicted, and my thermometer in the basket showed exactly that. But preparation is everything, warm clothes and hot tea kept me comfortable. The rising sun made a surprising difference in consumption: it dropped from 0.8 L/min to 0.3 L/min, flying in low altitude. This was not entirely unexpected, of course, as I myself had chosen dark blue as the main colour of the envelope! ;-)
Later on, we had to climb a bit to get a different direction – continuing low would have brought us to Memmingen Airport, which we wanted to avoid to be free in our choices in later stages of the flight. But still, consumption was below 0.5 L/min – an extraordinary performance of the Kubicek Lightweight Polyester.
With the sun sinking lower, all the steering tactics had worked out: The balloon was hovering over a wide, free area with lots of meadows and no powerlines, winds were low, retrieve was there and the consumption had dropped to an amazing 0.2 L/min. With the remaining 8 liters, I could have gone on for another 40 minutes – but 10 minutes after sunset, with retrieve right beneath me, I chose to end the flight, so we would not have to pack the balloon in complete darkness. All’s well that ends well! :-)
Thanks again to Kubicek Balloons Deutschland for their great support!