The Pig Yard

Ballooning in Italy 2001...

Click for a larger image Pre-flight checks with Giovanni Aimo and Bobbo. We hadn't done this since September 2000 and there was a concern that we would be very rusty but it came flooding back.

Giovanni went along for the first flight just to make sure he was leaving his balloon in safe hands. Nick and Steve soon put his mind at rest.

Nick, beaming from ear to ear with the pleasure of being airborne again. The time was about 07:00 and we were wearing short sleeved shirts because it was so warm. Thank goodness for air-conditioned hotels. Click for a larger image
Click for a larger image Blu was a Cameron Z90 fitted with Sirocco burners which meant we flew the whole flight on the main burner because it was as quiet as the normal whisper burner.

Steve and Nick were making a low level approach with a ground speed of around 8 knots which was a bit fast for the small fields they were flying over. The countryside was beautiful and the farmers were inviting them to land in their fields which was so alien from our UK experiences.

Considering they flew in over a field of maize before touch down, this was not a large field by any stretch of the imagination. The farmer would not have been happy if Steve drifted into his runner beans. As it turned out pilots and crew were invited back to the farmhouse for salami and wine. Click for a larger image
Click for a larger image A hazy view of a wonderful Italian viaduct. Steve could not get the balloon down into the valley to splash and dash without drifting back into the trees which lined the valley sides. He later told us he learned a lot about valley winds from this flight. After fifteen minutes of drifting backwards and forwards he gave up and headed for the other side of the valley.
The early morning mist hanging in the valley remind us of what ballooning is all about. Flying doesn't get much more perfect than this and the fact that the farmers are very friendly, makes it all the more relaxing. Click for a larger image
Click for a larger image Magliano Alpi seen from the air. Apart from the power lines it doesn't look as though much has changed in hundreds of years.

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