PREPARING FOR THE FLIGHT

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It only took about ten minutes to fill the ballon with air...

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Before long it was looking the right shape...

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The other ballon was filling out nicely alongside - two people failed to turn up who were booked to fly with us, so a couple from the white balloon were transferred to our coloured one.

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Soon the ballon seemed to be itching to get upright and into the air.

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The Butane burners generate enough heat to make the top of your head distinctly warm, so it helps to have a hat if you are thinning on top or worried about this. Our pilot still had most of his hair despite over twenty years of flights, so it can't be too much of a problem. The air is still - as you're moving with the wind - while you're in flight, so you only really need a coat for when you land.

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We used 200 litres of Butane in our flight, which lasted for just over an hour. Like all aircraft fuel, balloon Butane is duty-free so it costs just 17 pence per litre, but ballooning is still not a cheap mode of travel - that works out at about 18 litres a mile, or less than a quarter of a mile per gallon!

P.S. Apologies to chemistry enthusiasts for confusing Butane and Propane in earlier versions of this page, then mis-spelling chemistry in the first version of this apology. ;-)

The other balloon... The other balloon