From a pilots prospective some flights really do stick in your mind. Todays balloon ride over Norfolk proved to be quite interesting. After a misty morning the skies had cleared to leave one of those balmy autumnal afternoons, and still quite warm for the time of year. We had a local family party to fly so we rendezvoused at our base at Wendling.The balloon lifted at 3.50 p.m. and we climbed out to 3,000 feet. The rolling countryside of Norfolk was laid out before us. One of our passengers asked ‘can you steer the balloon’? Now… a balloon flies in a linear line with the wind, however at different altitudes the wind generally flows at slightly different vectors and speeds. So by climbing and descending you can alter the direction, this is where a global positioning system is essential as it will tell you speed and track.
We set ourselves a little task. Lets see if we can land near Walsingham up on the north Norfolk coast !! To do this we would have fly over Fakenham. At 3,000 feet we were heading 020 degrees at 20 m.p.h. The balloon flew over Bittering, Stanfield and Brisley, once into open countryside we descended to 300 feet and were heading 290 degrees at 7 m.p.h. As we approached the west of Colkirk we climbed out to 3,000 feet & turned to the right. The balloon was now over Fakenham, with the coast in clear view. Once clear of the town down to 500 feet & we turn to the left. We descended into the valley at Barsham and onto Houghton with Walsingham to our front. We flew over the Slipper chapel and to our front was a stubble field adjacent to the Egmere road where the crew were waiting and already chatting to the farmer who had given us permission to land. The balloon touched down at 5 m.p.h. It was a very pleasant end to the afternoon sipping champagne and savouring the views of Wells and the coast.
Mrs Frampton who had organised the flight ordered an ‘In Flight Photograph’ commented simply about the whole experience. ‘Fantastic experience, very enjoyable, expertly done’.