Special Shapes at Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2000-2019
Special shape hot air balloons always take centre stage at balloon festivals around the world. Many spectacular special shapes have appeared in Bristol every August throughout the last 19 years at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta, so here is a chance to view them with a little information about them too. See which ones you like, whether it's old classic Bertie Bassett or recent creation Stuart the Minion.
Which special shape is your favourite? Let us know on social media @mjballooning!
View the special shape balloons by clicking on a year of the fiesta. 2018 was a good recent year with many shapes attending for the 40th anniversary.
Special Shapes at Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 1980-1999
Click to view all special shape balloons that appeared at the fiesta during the 1990s and 80s.
We have picked some of the stand out special shapes to grace the skies of Bristol ever since the first ever event in 1979. There are so many to choose from, but these are truly remarkable. Click below to find out more!
Special Shapes at Midlands Air Festival & Sky Safari
Although historically the Bristol Balloon Fiesta has attracted the most special shape balloons, other UK events also have many attending too. The Midlands Air Festival had over 45 shapes in attendance at their 2019 event including Peg leg Pete, the Superbike, Snow White and Rupert Bear. Longleat's Sky Safari event in September has seen international pilots bring the Orient Express, Brandenburg Gate and new Alfred the Carpenter.
Click below to explore all the special shapes that have appeared!
Click to view hundreds of old special shape test photos from the 1980s and 90s! Photos courtesy and copyright Paul Churchill
Some of your other Favourites...
Special shapes in Bristol & Bath
Here are some of the rare occasions where special shape balloons have flown or been tethered around our region, not at the fiesta.
Panther G-PAWW: This striking brand new special shape will be flying across Bristol and Bath throughout the 2019 season. Built by Ultramagic in Spain, you can see it taking to the skies from Ashton Court, Bath, Maize and Keynsham. Don't be surprised if you see him, named Roger, drifting across the skies near you very soon!
Chubb Fire Extinguisher G-BZJA: 4 May 2018, Ashton Court AM - Sky High Ballooning secretly inflated G-BZJA to check its condition before taking it to Chatsworth and the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. Inflated by pilot Phil Hooper, this balloon was on loan from the British Balloon Museum & Library (BBM&L) for 2018.
Longleat Lion: 17 July 2017, Ashton Court PM - Exclusive Ballooning decided to fly 'Simbaloo' the Longleat lion over Bristol!
L.E Electrical Light Bulb: 7 April 2017, Ashton Court PM - Ballooningmedia flew G-LAMP because Southern Plasticlad didn't get back in time from the record breaking cross channel flight.
L.E Electrical Light Bulb: 23 May 2015, Bath Balloon Fiesta PM - Ballooningmedia got G-LAMP out for a short tether because the shape had been in its bag over the winter and it had got damp.
L.E Electrical Light Bulb: 23 August 2014, Bradley Stoke Carnival AM - Taking part in the Bradley Stoke Carnival, the newly owned special shape took off alongside Above & Beyond and Doombar. The last time G-LAMP was seen was at the 2014 Bristol Balloon Fiesta at the Friday morning launch.
Paddy Power Pants: 17 May 2014, Ashton Court AM - The special shape had a CofA at Ashton Court whilst 7 balloons took to the skies.
UP: Bath Balloon Fiesta 2-5 May 2014 AM & PM: Cameron Balloons flew G-UPOI over central Bath taking part in the Bath Balloon Fiesta.
Ricoh Cube: Thursday 17 April 2014, Maize Field AM - Exclusive Ballooning flew the Ricoh Cube (G-RCOH). G-RCOH took off before sunrise and it flew over the M4 and after a 3 hour flight it landed in the area of Henley-on Thames. It landed just before 9am in the morning.
Paddy Power Pants: Saturday 6 July 2013, Maize Field AM - Lighter than air flew the Paddy Power Pants (G-EGES). Lots of other round balloons flew here too. G-EGES sometimes flies over cities with a large population, but this may have just been for 2013.
Satzenbrau Bottle: Tuesday 25 June 2013, Ashton Court PM - Ballooningmedia tethered their Satzenbrau Bottle special shape (G-BIRE) in the grounds of Ashton Court. Just less than 2 months later, they tethered it at the special shapes rodeo at the 2013 fiesta.
Ricoh Cube: 2012 - Exclusive Ballooning flew their brand new Ricoh Cube 105 over the historical city of Bath. Built by Cameron Balloons and registered G-RCOH, it would become a regular for many years at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta, plus other UK events. It was flown alongside Exclusive's demonstrator G-UNKY, an Ultramagic S-50.
Monster: 23 July 2012 - This classic special shape had a CofA in the maize field and was hot inflated. This was the same evening that the Jones Lang Lasalle balloon G-CHDH had its maiden flight over Bristol for the fiesta title sponsorship.
Churchill: 4 June 2012 - A Jubilee tether was organised and it took place on the Downs. A-GAS, G-BRTV, Road to Mandalay, University of Bristol, Taittinger, Pollywallets, Bristol Balloons, Cameron Balloons, G-BWKV, Cancer Research and ABC Flights all took off to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. BWS Security Systems and Churchill tethered throughout.
Palletways Dragon: August 2010 - After being seen at Ashton Court a few months before, Lindstrand Media's Slick the Dragon launched from Bath's famous Royal crescent ahead of the 32nd Bristol Balloon Fiesta.
Jaguar Car 2010: The Jaguar Car was inflated on the 19th of July at Ashton Court and it was a CofA. Its next appearance was at the balloon fiesta two weeks later! Its fellow special shape, the Piper, made no appearance even though it was due to originally attend.
Palletways Dragon: Summer 2010 - Lindstrand Media's brand new Palletways Dragon special shape, registered G-PLLT, was launched at Ashton Court in front of the mansion house on a gloomy summer morning. Sadly conditions were not suitable to free fly.
Bass Beer: 2005: Bass Beer was seen at the fiesta in 2005 operated by Bailey Balloons and it flew across the city leading up to the event.
IKEA: Summer 2004 - After securing title sponsorship for the 2004 Bristol Balloon Fiesta, Phoenix Balloons flew their new IKEA special shape over Bristol on one evening before making its first public appearance at the press launch.
Choc Dips: 2003 - The owner of Choc Dips flew the special shape over Bristol, taking off from Ashton Court just before the 2003 fiesta.
Special Shape Photos by MJ Ballooning
Enjoy looking through some of our photos of these spectacular special shape hot air balloons. All below photos Copyright MJ Ballooning.