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The Gordon Bennett Cup, the oldest (gas) hot air balloon race was launched this weekend for the first time in the UK.
Unlike a normal hot air balloon race, the balloons are filled with hydrogen and so 20 took off from a site in Bristol.
The gas balloons are controlled by a primitive system - by releasing gas to go down and throwing out sand from sand bags to go up.
The pilots stand in small wicker baskets equipped with flight instruments, radios, food and warm clothing.
The Gordon Bennett website thanks to all sponsors and supporters, including Bristol City Council, Destination Bristol and J Bennett & Son.
Safety Officer Jonathan Harris said: "The launch sequence went without a hitch and, with the help of each team's crew, the pilots were sent off in to the cold starry night, with all their provsions on board and the sand ballast hooked over the side of the basket."
The Flight Control Centre is set up at Cameron Balloons Ltd. in Bristol and the team, including Air Traffic Control and weather experts are keeping a watchful eye on all the competitors as they fly across Europe.
Don Cameron states "Behind the scene we have a busy flight control team assisting with all the balloons' air traffic requirements."
Found in the Flightglobal archive....