Our Balloon Ride over Suffolk launched from Eccles Hall School adjacent to the snetterton race circuit. The wind was coming from the northwest with good visibility. The balloon was soon aloft and we climbed up to 3,000 feet to view the rolling landscape of East Anglia. We had a steady 20 knots so we were going to able to travel quite a reasonable distance. At this height we could clearly see the wash across to Norwich and down into Suffolk with Sizewell power stations dome in view on the Suffolk coastline. Out to the southwest the town of Bury St Edmunds and Ely cathedral we visible. The balloon passes high overhead Banham Zoo and we eventually cross the A140 north of Pulham Market. A quick look at the map and our track will take us north of town of Harleston. I update the ground crew via a radio link. Barley an hour has passed and we are crossing the Waveney valley at wortwell, they are a lot of livestock here so we keep high not to disturb them. To our front at about three miles we spot a number of large stubble fields looking ideal for our landing. Once in open country and away from any livestock we descend down to 300 feet and set up our approach to land, still pretty quick though running at 13 knots. Passengers are briefed to stow their cameras and adopt landing positions under 100 feet we slow to 8 knots and we are down in the parish of St Cross, Suffolk. I knew the ground retrieve team would be under a bit of pressure with this flight as we had covered a lot of ground. Our navigator in the land rover was the youngest member of our team a young sixteen-year-old man called Peter Matsell. He had the responsibility to guide a skilled driver through all the roads and country lanes to find us when we had landed. I must admit I thought the ground team would lose us for a while as this evening as we had travelled quite a distance so rapidly. Moments later Peter is on the radio ‘ We are on the road behind you! ‘Have located the land owner and will be back with you in five minutes’. Blimey that does not get any better so a big well done to Peter. Our passengers were in good spirits and help the crew pack up the balloon and we were soon celebrating the flight with a chilled glass of champagne watching a stunning Suffolk sunset.
Dear Robert Peter & Rob
A big thank you for our balloon flight last week. The whole experience from start to finish was conducted a friendly professional manner which really did inspire our confidence. Explaining where all the towns and villages were really did add to our enjoyment. As I’m sure you are aware our children bought this as our Christmas present last year, and we can only apologise for not getting around to booking it sooner.