Home' The Canberra Times : See Canberra Autumn Contents Share the city you live in ... Autumn
Leaving home when the stars are
still out, shining brightly, never
seems quite right, but at such a time, the
temperature is chilly enough to get you
wide-awake quick smart. Driving to the
Hyatt Hotel, the empty streets continued
to make the experience surreal.
It was not until I walked through the
doors and was greeted by the cheery
Balloon Aloft team, who obviously have
much more experience being up at this
unnatural hour, that I felt my brain
finally shake of the dregs of sleep and
the excitement began to build.
Despite my inability to function well
at 6am, the thrill of flying in a hot air
balloon for the first time helped me to
quickly fill out of the required paper work
and read the safety guide. With warnings
that include a request to inform the pilot
of any close powerlines, horses or stock,
the guide was both highly informative
and entertaining, thanks to sleep-
e photographer, Rohan omson,
and I met the other passengers who
we would be sharing the basket with;
Ray and Robyn from Sanctuary Point,
and Val and Des, who were celebrating
Des' birthday. As we were loaded into
the back of the four-wheel-drive, the
excitement grew to a buzz of ner vous
chatting and laughter as everyone got to
know each other.
While we were supposed to take off
in front of Old Parliament House, the
test flight -- a helium balloon with a light
attached -- showed that the wind was
moving in a less desirable direction. So
we headed to the Causeway in Kingston,
to a rabbit-filled field, and soon got the
tick of approval to start setting up.
As the low-lying mist rolled around
us, we unloaded the basket under the
instructions of crew chief Alex Bell and
chief pilot Richard Gillespie. e men
unfurled the balloon with our help,
attached the wires and were soon in
business inflating the balloon. Despite
Val's jokes about getting out the straws so
we can start blowing it up, a large fan was
put in place to fill the balloon with cold air.
e loud roar of the engine broke through
the silence of the field and soon things
were quickly taking off.
For an autumn experience that will make you look at Canberra in a whole new light, join the
masses of balloons taking to the sky for the 2010 Canberra Festival Balloon Spectacular,
as JONI SCANLON did one memorable morning.
UP AND AWAY: (Clockwise from back left) Rohan Thomson, Des Musgrove, Joni Scanlon, Richard Gillespie, Robyn Dalleywater,
Ray Dalleywater and Val Musgrove flew over Canberra.
View fr om
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