We were up bright and early today. Our Norfolk Balloon Flight passengers were all from west Norfolk. The wind was coming from the northeast so we launched from our base at Wendling with the intention of flying back into the area of Methwold. There was a shallow vale of mist covering the ground that would quickly burn off as the sun came up. The balloon was aloft at 07.15 Hrs. The surface wind up to 200 feet was taking us in a southerly direction, however once up above 1,500 feet the wind direction had changed. The balloon turned to the right by forty degrees we were now heading towards Swaffham. This part of the county is very picturesque and rural. Climbing again to 2,500 feet and turning a little more to the right. A quick look at the flight map so indicated we would be clear of Stanford Battle Area passing it to the North, very important to avoid today as they are live firing!!!
We soon cross over Great Cressingham and Hilborough. Our passengers were totally engrossed with the views, and using up their camera memory cards with alarming speed. As we approached the village of Methwold we were now clear of the military airspace, forest and livestock. Time to descend. We spotted smoke from a bonfire beneath us, it was clear that the surface wind direction would turn us to the left a good 60 degrees. As we passed through 800 feet we could feel a good flurry of wind as the balloon negotiated a wind shear/ inversion. (This is a common feature especially with early morning flights.) The flight direction had now turned to the left and we were heading towards Feltwell. Now down to 200 feet the wind had increased to 12 knots. We landed with a bump and a good 30-meter drag in stubble filed outside to village of Feltwell. What had been a real bonus this morning was to fly so close to many of the passenger’s homes. A great start to the day.
Dear Robert and Claire
I would like to thank you all for this mornings balloon flight that will stay in my mind for a long time. My daughter was a little nervous before the flight, however you and your team were so confident and friendly any misapprehensions soon passed allowing us to enjoy one and a half hours of breathtaking views. Roberts’s informative chat during the flight about local history was a bonus too.