In the spring of 2014 Hampshire based Hot Air Balloon Organisation Digital 21st Event & Hot Air Balloon Services – Specialists in the art of balloon photography, are organising a flight from mainland UK across the Solent to the Isle of Wight.
With anything up to 20 balloons anticipated to make the crossing, the event is named as the “ Isle of Wight (Balloon) Challenge 2014, the flight to the Island will be on a rollover basis between the 1st of April and the 2nd of May as a specific date cannot be guaranteed at present. Teams will be on a 48 standby as we wait for a suitable weather window on which to cross.
Digital 21st the source behind the “ Isle of Wight Balloon Challenge 2014 has been involved in ballooning and balloon photography for around 26 years. We have been privileged enough to been associated along the way with meets and events such as, The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, The Southampton Balloon and Flower Festival, Leeds Castle (Kent), Oxford Balloon Festival, Balloons Over Basingstoke, Northampton Balloon Festival, The Icicle Meet, Sackville - Grassroots, Harvest Moon (2005), Longleat Balloon Festival, Cardiff Castle Special Shapes Meet, Harewood House (Leeds, Yorkshire), Balloons Across the Mersey, Birkenhead (Merseyside), The Bournemouth Air Festival, Chateau D’Oex (Switzerland), Popham (Hampshire), St George’s Day Festival, Salisbury, Bath Festival, Usk (South Wales), The Tiverton Balloon Festival, Easter Eggstravaganza’s at both Swindon and Longleat, Littlecote House Balloon Meets, Guildford Balloon Festivals, The 2011, 2012 and 2013 Virgin London Marathons, and a few One Man Meets too.
Also we have been honoured to work with and alongside PSH Skypower, Cameron Flights Southern Ltd, Aerosaurus Balloons, Airship and Balloon Company, Flying Pictures Ltd, Air 2 Air, Virgin Balloon Flights, Cameron Balloons Ltd, Charter Ballooning, Bristol Balloon Fiestas Ltd, Southampton City Council Events Team, The Bristol Junior Chamber, & The BBM&L. and many, many, other individuals too numerous to mention.
To think it all started back in 1987 at the Southampton Balloon Festival with an old Zenith 12XP Camera.
The Isle of Wight Balloon Challenge is pleased to welcome aboard its co-sponsor The Ordnance Survey to the event. Ordnance Survey have as part of this, donated 25 Landranger maps (No. 196) “The Solent & Isle of Wight”.
These maps will be distributed to the participants at registration/check-in on the eventual morning of the crossing.
Landranger Maps are the choice of UK balloonists to note territories to avoid whilst on a flight, this includes crop fields and livestock usually but, the maps also give good indication to the location of private land, the Electricity network (pylons etc) and Military training areas as well as pending airfields too. All of these places are known as sensitive areas (SA’s)
Since the destination of the event, The Isle of Wight is not a frequently visited destination for balloon pilots in the UK, it may come as no surprise to anyone that there are currently no sensitive areas on the Island.
It is with that in mind we hope to return to the UK mainland with clean untouched maps!
The Ordnance Survey based locally to us on the outskirts of Southampton, had its own hot air balloons in the late 90’s early 00’s.
One balloon was a special shape balloon registered G-MAPS and built by Wrexham based Sky balloons, it was coupled by a more traditional tear-drop shaped hopper G-OSVY also built by Sky.
Both balloons are pictured below – Photo credits “Digital 21st Hot air Balloon photography”