Hot air ballooning (different from gas ballooning) has taken me to fly in many countries, world championships and rallies – United States of America, Japan, Canada, France, Austria, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Switzerland all long distance travel from Australia. Through this wonderful sport I have made many beautiful friendships in those countries as well as throughout my own that have stood the test of time.
What has also stood the test of time has been my hunger to experience flight in another Gordon Bennett Race. The concept of launching into a night sky and floating above various countries with their geographical and personal stories below with the uncertainty of the final landing space continued to feed that same desire in me. And then the Universe sent me a fellow aviator and adventurer who tuned into my desire.
Meet Tanys McCarron. An avid aviator since 1983 she used the sky for her playground also, at first with ultralights instructing many as she accumulated over 2000 hours at the controls. She has owned and flown a Spitfire. Ballooning found her in 1997 when we met. Weekends ballooning together over the rural countryside of Canowindra created many memorable moments for us both. Tanys can add ocean sailing yachtswoman to her CV.
I have lived my life with the belief that when the time is right my dreams will fall into place.
When I shared with Tanys my unrequited dream to fly GB one more time she jumped right in. “Let’s do it” she said and we will ‘do’ it soon.
In April this year we both flew to Germany to fly gas with one of the most fabulous and well known pilots in that unique hemisphere of Gordon Bennett pilots – Wilhelm Eimers. Any person who can remain in an open wicker basket for 92 hours to win the Gordon Bennett Race has earned respect and admiration. He had also competed in 25 annual races with a finish on the podium more times than not. Tanys was definitely seduced by the essence of gas ballooning – the quiet (no burner noise) the stillness – no aircraft vibration or engine noise.
This time in Germany gave Tanys and myself the opportunity to build and environment of trust between us. We talked at length about living together in isolation in a small basket suspended high above the ground for days. We reached an amicable agreement that all decisions particularly whether to fly an extra night or not had to be of unanimous consent.
Both of us will enter six gas balloon flights in our log books – six gas flights in six months – hard to believe if one’s home is in Australia where no gas ballooning occurs.
What will tomorrow bring?