The Generosity of German Pilots

Below is another photo of our gas balloon D-OWML (Oscar Whiskey Mike Lima) Hello to our new German friends – Alfons Volker and his son Ben responsible for organising this balloon for AUS1 Team. Once again the email train between Australia and Europe was rushing fast. More forms to be filled in to gain approval to fly the German balloon. More lists were prepared to seek new avenues to hire onboard equipment.

I had let my CASA Medical Certificate lapse but now was required to go through the process of renewal. A huge relief when another TO DO was crossed off our long list.

Our plan is to be in Europe for one month which meant one month’s accommodation to be found. I was dancing all over the internet seeking sufficient beds for our team of 8. At times so frustrating but always so expensive. Converting Euros or Swiss Francs to Australian dollars drove me to the fridge every time. Comfort food or the occasional evening vodka tonic became my lifeline. Persistence paid off. An apartment in Bottrop will be home for 16 days while we take practice flights and dedicate ourselves to general preparation for the big challenge scheduled for September 28th from Bern Switzerland. And sort through the equipment below and much more. And fly gas again with Wilhelm Eimers.

Penny York has come on board to manage our social media. This is totally new in my world of ballooning as I look back on my years of ballooning experiences and have so little to show in the way of photos or film, even video. Maybe this time we can capture the essence of the race plus images of Team AUS1 both in the air and the chase for posterity.

We have found our Balloon Meister – Detlef Goecke from Munster will oversee the inflation of D-OWML while the final responsibility for all aspects of our flight will remain as normal with the pilot – myself.

The elusive fuel cells that Rien Jurg recommended we use to power our electronics have remained elusive. Doubt we will fly with the light weight fuel cells so will launch with the heavy 12 bolt batteries on board.

Shopping for team memorabilia and gifts for our European support team now completed. The various aspects of preparation for this race has been challenging – but one lives in hope that at the final landing Tanys and I can hug each other and say ‘it was all worth it’!

What will tomorrow bring?


A small portion of the onboard gear required for the race.

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