Thanks to my interest in ballooning I have gone to places around the world I would not have otherwise - Luxembourg in 1993, Battle Creek, Michigan in 1995, France in 2002 and Austria in 1999 and 2008 for World Hot Air Balloon Championships. 

Above : Balloons flying into a tiny triangular scoring area at the Luxembourg World Championships. 

Right: One of the many spectacular take offs from the main launch field at Meysembourg Chateau.             Photos Les Springett

One of the fantastic sights at the '93 World's was the minimum distance task with balloons hanging just off the ground in the field adjoining the launch site, all trying hard to go no where. 

Slowly they drifted down into the lowest corner of the field  and flowed like a fantastic river of coloured balls over the bordering trees. 

Along the way I have met many interesting people, and am fortunate to have them as friends. 

Brian Boland is one such person - he lives deep in the woods in Vermont and makes and flies his own balloons including this blimp. 

Brian has flown all sorts of unusual objects as balloon gondolas, such as vintage cars and garden seats. He takes his collapsible canvas gondola, burner, tank and compact balloon envelopes by commercial passenger plane to meets all over the world.


Left:  Balloons approaching the scoring area in the demonstration fun competition flight, a game of "21" in which pilots had to score by dropping their ribbon markers on a combination of big playing cards to score 21. 

The Battle Creek World Championships in 1995, for all their excitement and masses of balloons, were not quite the same as Luxembourg. Maybe it was the scenery or just not being part of a crew, but I felt more like a spectator that a participant even though we did useful work for the Australian team spotting targets and ground winds.

For more about ballooning at other international events please go to the next page.