Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2009 Review
The 2009 press launch took place at the Bristol airport runway and balloons there were Blue Square G-CFXL, Sun Rise G-BSNU, BT G-GBBT, Snap Surveys G-CCTS, Visit Bristol G-CBHW, Redrow G-RROW (G-CFXR), 2 Cameron Balloons, Royal Navy G-OFAA, The Mall G-BZVU, Taittinger G-CEKS, Thomson Local G-CEEK, ABC Flights G-BYHU, Snow Business G-SBIZ/G-KAYI, Fishtank G-CDDN, BUHABS G-CDWD and New Holland G-CROP.
It was cloudy at Ashton Court, and it wasn't looking good for the special shapes rodeo to go ahead as planned. Due to this it was cancelled, so Exclusive Ballooning tethered their 2 brand new special shapes. These were Blue Square G-CFXI and UP G-UPOI. Exclusive had the Disney UP balloon contact for 1 year, and Cameron Balloons have been operating it ever since, taking it to the Bristol and Bath balloon fiesta (not seen from 2010 until 2012 shapes launch). Also G-CFXL was made too, a round balloon for Blue Square. This years title sponsor was Harvey Nichols, and like some previous title sponsors they decided to not get a new balloon manufactured. For example, IKEA did this in 2004 and they attended until 2008. Bailey Balloons had G-CDIT free with no artwork on the balloon, so they simply put a Harvey Nichols banner on it. G-CDIT was the original EDF balloon, and this is why it has an e on the parachute at the very top of the balloon. Bailey Balloons still have the contract for EDF, they occasionally fly G-CEDF and it was at the 2009 fiesta. Churchill G-CDOG and the Monster G-MSTR joined these 3 in the arena. They were both operated by the Airship & Balloon Company, and Churchill first attended Bristol in 2004 and the Monster in 2001!
The Friday morning mass launch was amazing, with over 100 balloons taking off and heading over Bristol. The Jaguar Car was the first special shape to ascend, and we hadn't seen this since 2007. After that Blue Square, UP, the Cockerel and Orbiter 3 all flew. Whilst all the flying was happening, Churchill and the Monster watched the balloons drifting into the distance.
For the Friday PM launch the wind had picked up, but the launch was called on with only 14 pilots going for it. Balloons that took off were: First Flight's House of Fraser and A-GAS, Royal Navy, Visit Bristol, the Ballooning Network's Bath Building Society, Taittinger flown by Phoenix Balloons, G-BZYY, G-CBMK, New Holland, Team GB, Edward Ware Homes, Blue Square round, EDF Energy and Royal Air Force. The Blue Square special shape remained tethered during the whole ascension.
Similar to Friday morning, Saturday AM was spectacular with again over 100 balloons taking to the skies of Bristol! The Jaguar Car took off near the start of the launch, followed by the Cockerel and Orbiter 3. The Airship and Balloon Company also went for a short hop in the Monster special shape over to near the mansion house. This was the last time G-MSTR ever took off at the Bristol balloon fiesta, and it won't be back. After loads of round balloons became airborne, Exclusive Ballooning's UP was preparing to take off alongside Mister Bup. Mister Bup OO-BUP is from Belgium and it tethered here in 2006 on Sunday PM. It was great to see the team back and this time flying! Both shapes departed and a small white balloon assisted the UP pilot. This year UP had a house cover on the basket, replicating the movie, and this meant that the pilot had difficulty seeing out of the top of the basket. So the pilot in the other balloon guided them until they landed. It wasn't the best design ever! G-BWKV landed back in the arena too.
Saturday PM was a smaller ascent compared to the morning, finished with the Airship & Balloon Company tethering the Monster and Churchill. The Piper G-PIPY and Mister Bup also tethered at the end of the day. The shapes that launched were Blue Square G-CFXI and Orbiter 3 HB-QOJ. It was a great end to a great day of ballooning.
Sunday AM also saw another mass launch going ahead, and Orbiter 3 and the Cockerel were the only 2 special shapes that lifted.
Sunday PM was flyable so the balloonists put on a show for Bristol for the last time in 2009! This was one of the best Sunday PM launches ever, with Orbiter 3, the Cockerel and Blue Square, operated by Exclusive Ballooning, flying. And it was finished in style, as Mister Bup took off and wowed the crowds. Then two of the best special shapes in the world took off, the Jaguar Car and the Piper, ending the fantastic 4 day fiesta.
The 2009 Bristol Balloon Fiesta was phenomenal, with 6 out of the possible 7 launches going ahead! All of the mass ascents were called on, and this is very rare. There were also great special shapes at Ashton Court this year like the Jaguar Car, Scottish Piper and Mister Bup.