Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2014 Review
In 2014 the fiesta's title sponsors were Hardy's wine and they had a balloon made by Cameron Balloons (G-HRDY). It's operated by Flying Enterprises and it was seen at every launch either flying or tethering, promoting Hardy's Wine.
The 2014 Bristol Balloon Fiesta press launch took place at Queen Square, in the centre of Bristol. The pilot briefing began and Clive Bailey announced that due to the rain arriving earlier than expected, no free flying would take place. 6 pilots offered to tether at first, but as more teams turned up after, 11 tethered. Unfortunately it started to rain heavily when the tethering was taking place. A new balloon there was Visit Malta (G-MLTA). Lindstrand brought JLL's new balloon (G-CIGI) to Queen Square too. Hardy's wine's new balloon (G-HRDY) was also there, tethered by Flying Enterprises. The last new envelope was Above & Beyond (G-CIHG). G-CIHG had been made because they are the 2014 fiesta charity partner. Other balloons there were Taittinger G-CEKS, BWS Security Systems G-BZDJ, Cameron Balloons G-CHIO, CJ Hole G-CIHO, Pattersons G-CIHC, Omega G-OMGR and Bristol University G-CDWD. It was a good tether, even though it was done in the rain.
Thursday was a lovely day for ballooning so the decision was made that the special shapes launch would go ahead. Cameron Balloons got out a cold air inflatable that they tethered for around 20 minutes. After that Lindstrand stood the new JLL balloon up and then Hardy's, DatumRPO and Omega started inflating at the opposite end of the arena.
The Palletways balloons inflated too, and then the Smurf, UP, the Ricoh Cube, and the L.E Electrical Light Bulb stood up preparing for lift off. Sapper also tethered in-between this. The gun went, and straight away DatumRPO and Omega started their flight over Bristol! This was closely followed by the first of the special shape balloons taking off, UP, flown by Cameron Balloons.
The L.E Electrical light bulb G-LAMP then took off for it's first flight in the hands of Ballooning Media. The Smurf OO-BHC closely followed, flown by Cameron Balloons Belgium. First Flight's A-GAS G-CHVI launched too.
At this point a Belgium ride balloon took off, called ModeMakers OO-BGV. Most of the ride balloons and sponsor balloons started inflating as Visit Bristol G-CBHW took off.
JLL G-CIGI then took off, making its second appearance in Bristol that week. Virgin G-VBAE also followed. The fourth special shape then took to the skies, the Bristol favourite, Slick the Palletways Dragon G-PLLT. After some flying, the Palletways Dragon closely missed a roof and then got caught on a lamp post. This ripped the material at the bottom of the balloon (tethered Friday AM with the rip and then repaired and not seen again at the 2014 fiesta).
Bristol Balloons G-CGZR and G-CHXF then took off together. The Cockerel launched, making the special shape's eighth appearance at the fiesta since 2005! All of a sudden, Cash4Cars G-IBCF and Royal Navy G-OFAA shot up together, making brilliant photos for Elite Air, as that's their 2 balloons.
Exclusive Ballooning's Scottish Cup special shape G-WHIL launched into the Bristol skies! Some people may notice that the cup has holes in the bottom of the envelope. That's because ropes inside the balloon heat up and burn the fabric at the bottom. It's a design fault by Kubicek Balloons. Bath Building Society G-CERC and Park Furnishers G-CFCC went up together, flown by the Ballooning Network and Bailey Balloons followed in their very own G-CDIH, Anana G-TOPB and G-CDIT (One Show artwork removed).
The Ballooning Network flew Torex G-CBOW and Bailey Balloons flew Red letter days G-PRZI. After that, the Airship & Balloon Company's new G-CIHN took to the skies, followed by G-BTHF.
Exclusive Ballooning's second special shape, the Ricoh Cube then launched and this left them with Renishaw G-RENI and Fortnum & Mason G-FMGB(which was tethered at this point) to take part in the nightglow. Benfield Reinsurance was the last round balloon to take off.
Miss Daisy N-91046, that had travelled to Bristol all the way from America, started to inflate. Miss Daisy was the reason why the paddy power pants didn't return this year, as the pilot was helping out with this special shape. The Daisy is an old shape, being made in 1998 by Aerostar. After lots of inflating, Miss Daisy took off and this left Fortnum & Mason, Pattersons, Above & Beyond and Hardy's Wine tethered in the arena. The BBM&L didn't bring the Bowler hat G-OPKF, instead they brought along the Nescafe Mug to tether! The old special shape tethered for around 20 minutes and then deflated. Babette and Land rover then tethered for the crowds before they got pulled down for the night glow.
The night glow saw the title sponsors, Hardy's wine, tether high in the centre of the arena. Balloons that took part in the night glow were: Above & Beyond, G-JHAA, BWS Security Systems, G-FWAY, Snap Surveys, Cameron Balloons G-CGVV, Co-operative racer, Fowlers Motorcycles, Visit Malta, Penny Plant Hire, Taittinger, Fortnum & Mason, Dribuild, Fishtank, CTS, Discover Waterford, Kewtech, CJ Hole, Renishaw, DatumRPO and Sapper.
^ Photos courtesy & copyright JEM Ballooning ^
Friday morning saw 124 balloons take off, with most heading towards Nailsea, but a few went over Bristol. The Smurf, Babette, UP, the Scottish Cup and the L.E Electrical light bulb were the special shapes that launched. This was a massive ascent.
We arrived at Ashton Court at 4:30pm on Friday and it wasn't looking hopeful, with a few spots of rain not helping. It was flyable, but it was thought that rain could stop the launch from happening. At the briefing it was announced that the pilots could go flying! 50-60 balloons took off including the Smurf.
The Miss Daisy pilot wanted to fly the special shape, but people explained to him that it wasn't suitable conditions to do so, so it just tethered. As they prepared to tether, the Satzenbrau Bottle special shape stood up and tethered for the crowds as HS-BRT deflated. Then the BBM&L did the same with their Maxwell House Coffee Jar balloon. Meanwhile Exclusive Ballooning were tethering the Scottish Cup, Renishaw and Fortnum & Mason. Finally Miss Daisy stood up and Babette also tethered with Group First and Visit Malta.
Saturday morning saw perfect blue skies and 114 balloons launch. UP, the Scottish Cup, the Smurf, the Ricoh Cube, Babette and the Cockerel were the special shapes that took off. A new record of 90 balloons landed at Cadburys Keynsham, beating last years record of 78 on the exact same morning a year on.
Sadly Saturday morning was the last launch of the 2014 fiesta. Saturday evening saw showers surrounding Ashton Court, which forced the mass ascent to be cancelled, despite lots of balloon teams in the arena setting up their baskets. Renishaw tethered in the arena for the thousands of people in the crowd.
Despite the disappointment, the nightglow went ahead! Balloons that took part were: the Ricoh Cube, Renishaw, Discover Waterford, Benfield Reinsurance, G-JHAA, Visit Malta, CTS, Above & Beyond, Penny Plant Hire, Loughborough University, Brain Currie, G-DUGI, Cameron Balloons G-CGVV, Fishtank, Group First, Miles Architectural, Kewtech, CJ Hole and Vital Resources.
^ Photos courtesy & copyright JEM Ballooning ^
Sunday was a wash out, but the decision was made at 11am that the site would remain open. Looking at the weather forecast, it was also decided that the evening mass ascent would be cancelled due to winds of up to 50mph. This bad weather was caused by ex-hurricane Bertha sweeping across the UK.
Altogether we had 2 beautiful morning ascents, 2 evening ascents and 2 nightglows, making the 2014 an excellent fiesta!