We attended the 2019 Sky Safari last weekend, which took place from Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th at the beautiful grounds of Longleat, Warminster. Organised by Ariel marketing specialists Exclusive Ballooning, the event saw almost perfect flying conditions which allowed 6 out of 7 mass ascents to go ahead.
Winds were too strong to fly for the special pass holder night on Thursday, but after that blue skies and light winds greeted us every day. Following the same structure as last year, there were 2 launch sites; 35 balloons either side of Lodge Drive and all others in Fisherman’s Field across the water.
172 balloons flew on Saturday morning beating last year’s record for the UK’s largest mass ascent of 169 balloons. Later that day an incredible 84 teams took part in the country’s biggest ever night glow!
Spectacular Special Shapes
Taking centre stage were Longleat’s Simbaloo the Lion, Adelaide the Koala and Duma the Cheetah, seen alongside their friends Roger the Panther, Wes the Wolf and new Scarlett the Macaw.
Last year saw both Bertie Bassett special shapes attend with Ronald McDonald, the Scottish Cup, FT Tablet, plus others, but for 2019 many more of these weird and wonderful balloons were booked to attend with Longleat advertising Sky Safari’s last day as ‘Special Shape Sunday’.
Team for Old Balloons from the Netherlands brought all but one of their fleet of special shapes, which included 2 strawberries, a Fuji film canister, a teapot, a forklift, the Orient Express and the Brandenburg Gate. It was a real treat to see these inflated in the UK. The star of the show, the incredible Orient Express is 1 of 2 of these special shapes built; G-LOKO created by Cameron’s in 1996. D-OLOK is the more recent and is still flying in Germany.
Exclusive Ballooning also brought the Scottish cup, which finished its commercial work in 2015, along with the Lindstrand-built Hunter Boot, both of which appeared on Sunday evening, and the Ricoh cube. On Saturday evening crowds were treated to the first public inflation of their new guinea pig G-GPIG built by Lindstrand Technologies.
Other special shapes to attend included the first of 2 Panasonic batteries, the Emoji, UP, a Fox, Snow White, Aston Martin, an Orange, a Football, G-SATL and G-SATI spheres, an Owl, the Barclays house and new Kubicek envelope Anton the carpenter.
The Disney UP balloon was a particular favourite with the crowds along with Longleat’s animal shapes, glowing on Friday night and flying twice.
Sky Safari 2019 was the second UK event this year for Snow White and the Kubicek Fox OE-ZOX after attending the Midlands Air Festival at Arbury Hall in May. Both are now back in Germany.
Thanks to Exclusive Ballooning and Longleat for a great event and we’re already looking forward to next year.
Here are some of our favourite photos we took.
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