As seen in our previous blog post, the 2020 Bristol International Balloon Fiesta was cancelled due to obvious reasons, but the organisers and pilots were still determined to put on a show - but with a twist. A fiesta flypast and virtual glow were arranged, for the people of Bristol to watch from their doorsteps and online.
On Monday 3rd August, the third possible day for the flypast, just under 50 balloons gathered at Ashton Court fiesta field for 6am. The location was a ‘closely guarded secret’ and pilots were only told at 4am on the day of the flight.
43 balloons flew out of Ashton Court while some stayed in the park, with many forming a heart shape on hot inflation which was an impressive sight from the air. Anana, Taittinger, Hardys and TVE Group were first to take to the skies and around 20 teams took off just next to the fiesta field. Although the wind direction was far from ideal, towards Chew Valley lake, the flight was a great success and the balloons could be seen for miles around, gaining media publicity from all around the UK.
Add-on special shapes in attendance were Wes the Wolf, Simbaloo the Lion, Adelaide the Koala and the well-known Bristol based Panther. Cameron Sport-80 G-ROBX, O-26 hopper G-OCGD, Army Air Corps and Z-105 Belmont Estate also took part, as well as First Flight’s Pattertons for its first Bristol appearance since 2017.
Rich Goodwin flew his Pitts Special, drawing a massive smiley face in the sky, as the last few balloons became airborne.
Photos copyright MJ Ballooning. See our full photo album on Facebook, but we will upload to the website soon.
The night glow was filmed late on Thursday 6th August on the Ashton Court mansion house lawn and is available to watch on the BBC website. It had to be filmed nearly 3 times to ensure the photographers and people videoing got all the perfect footage ready to be edited for Saturday at 9pm, when it was made available to stream.
Thanks to Dan at Ballooning Pictures UK (copyright) for these great glow photos.
Watch MJ Ballooning's Fiesta Flypast Video
Click to watch our special 2020 Fiesta Flight video - sit back and enjoy!
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