Gunther (trailer_spot) wrote,

Up, up and away.

Two weeks ago, the 9. International German Cup for Hot-Air Balloons took place in my hometown. For three days 30 to 40 balloons took part in five competitions between Friday and Sunday. I'm not entirely sure why, but since its inception all events took place here. The most plausible reason I can think of is that the conditions for the event are quite good here and after all those years the organisation is a well oiled machine and everybody's satisfied with the people involved. I also don't think it's a very prestigious happening with real competition. It's more like a fun get-together in which balloonists from around the country meet-up for a friendly competition.

Up, up and away.

While I get up at around seven in the morning almost every day, it was the first time in quite some time that I actually left the house that early. It turned out to be a good decision to go early Friday morning since it was the first day of the competition and it seemed everyone was only slowly getting started closing off the meadow for the expected spectators over the weekend.

That way it was possible to get very close to the balloons that were being prepared for the start. I imagine that it would've been much more difficult during the weekend but that morning nobody cared.
This is what a balloon looks like on the inside. Over the weekend it was even possible to walk inside a balloon. First a strong ventilator blows air into the balloons ...

... and only towards the end a heater is used to heat up the air so that the balloons can lift off.

Photo series showing the inflation process.

What was interesting to see was that at the top side of the balloon there was always someone pulling a rope. I suspect that was to ensure the envelope was unfolding properly.

Video where you can see the flames heating up a balloon.

In case video doesn't show up, you can also watch it on YouTube.

Since one usually sees balloons high up in the sky, here again two pictures that show how big some of them were. Just look at the people.

The first balloons were leaving the ground, others were still being inflated.

It was getting crowded as the balloons left one after the other.

Heavy traffic in the sky.

A nice shot with the rising sun behind the balloon.

And yes, there was also a battery taking part in the competition. During the other days there were also the Orient Express and a small penguin. But I think they were just for demonstration purposes.

A balloon flying above me ...

... and a similar scene in a short clip with some flames towards the end.

Balloons across the city. You can find aerial views of the starting area and views from the balloons of the city if you follow the links.

I had plans to go to another event. Either to the Night Glow event on Friday night or the final Key Grab event on Sunday afternoon in which the balloonists have to try to grab a key that's mounted on a eight meter high pole on the meadow. I decided to go on Sunday but unfortunately the weather got worse and worse and the competition got cancelled because of clouds and drizzle. Too bad I didn't go to the Night Glow but you can find some nice picture from the event in this gallery.

A final photo taken the next morning from my apartment. It was once again early morning and the balloons flew in a different direction. You can see how some of them leave a condensation trail in the sky.

You can find larger versions and some additional photos in the gallery.
Tags: events

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