Sunday, 9 July 2017

Enjoy some amazing photos of our Trans-Atlantic flight taken by Mark Albery

Rogier, or in short 'Rocky' and his friend Mark, flew their home-built RV across the Atlantic often flying in formation with us in the Beech 18. Rocky took some beautiful photos of our trip, which he kindly allowed me to share with you.

Please enjoy those photos all taken by Mark Albery:

Allie trying the survival suit in Wick (it was too large so had to do without it!)

Allie checking her balloon prior to flight in Iceland

first ever aeroplane balloon retrieve and drop off in history (Narsarsuaq Greenland)

Allie inflating the balloon in Egilstadir, Iceland

Bear island, Northern Canada

Betty the Beech flying along the coast of Greenland

The Beech over Greenland

morning mist over the Kulusuk bay

first ever hot air balloon flight Narsarsuaq, Greenland

spotting a crashed DC 3 north of Iqaluit

Ice in the bay of Kulusuk

kids playing in Qikiqtarjuaq, Arctic Canada

the village of Kulusuk

Allie taking off in Egilstadir, Iceland

happy girl with country no 84 in her logbook

approach to Narsarsuaq , southern Greenland as seen from the RV


free flight over Greenland

:Paula, Rocky and John on a walk

preparations for the balloon flight in Greenland

saying farewell to the burnt spats in Qik

Sam Rutherford at the controls of his Saratoga

John Herbert in the Beech (with us on board) and Sam Rutherford in formation flight over Greenland

the RV approaching Kulusuk airport

all in Betty during a taxi at Iqaluit, northern Canada

Timothy Allen playing with his drone in Qik surrounded by local kids

The best fish supper of the trip at Isafjodor,North western Iceland

Follow a new blog about our ballooning adventures!

Allie with famous balloonist Brian Boland
Having abandoned poor old Betty at Eden Vale, Canada, to give her a well deserved rest over the winter and to give us the chance to top up our empty bank accounts, I have now started to create a new blog which will talk about our ballooning adventures around the world.
Flying over Post Mills, Vermont and Lake Fairlee

If you are interested, then please check out my new blog at: 

In the meantime though I will continue to upload photos, videos and films of our Trans-Atlantic tour and keep you posted on new plans for another trip with the Beech in spring 2018!
our balloon will stay over the winter here with Brian
maybe we should try flying this one next time?

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Flight to Eden Vale near Toronto and a home for Betty for the winter

Sunday the 2nd of July
The Beech with Martin's balloon vehicle ready to go

The weather looked much brighter today even though there was a strong wind and still quite some showers in the vicinity, but it looked good enough to make preparations for the final flight of this trip.
Betty and a vintage Ferrari

As we loaded the aeroplane, a fellow balloon pilot., Martin Unsworth and his young son turned up. They had heard we were in the area and Martin couldn't resist to drive all the way from Montreal to see us. It was lovely to meet him and next time indeed, we should make a balloon flight over the city as Martin suggested!
Martin and his son

At ten past ten we took off and headed nearly due West across massive forest, more lakes and very wet fields. It must have rained non-stop here for weeks so wet was the ground.
heading towards Toronto

Dodging heavy showers, John skilfully landed the Beech at the Eden Vale airfield north of Toronto.
a wet landing

Our ever so kind local support team - mainly in the form of Chris Horsten and his partner Melaya - were already there and Bill the airport manager guided Betty with flashing lights to her new home in a fancy brand-new large hangar.
Bill and Phil in Betty's new hangar

We also met another Chris, the local mechanic and engineer who will look after Betty and later on the airfield owner himself (a nice man who indeed owns the whole outfit including several hangars and the entire huge property).
pushing the aeroplane

As soon as we had pushed Betty into her hangar – by the way next to a dismantled Lancaster ! – Phil and Chris shot off trying to find a hire car for us, whilst Melaya, John and I retreated to the local airport cafĂ©.
Betty in her new home

There was hardly time for a prolonged farewell when the men came back with the car, as John had to rush to Toronto to catch his flight to Seattle. (he made it – just!).

We then loaded the balloon into the car, tight but it all fitted in, and set off heading south east towards lake Ontario. It was the start of a long weekend with Canada day and the 4th of July coming up, so traffic was dense but after two hours we reached the little town of Whitby, booked us into an Holiday Express and called it a day.
Bye Bye beautiful lady!

What a relief to have found such a great place for the faithful aeroplane that had performed so well on this challenging trip. We felt really bad. Like parents who leave their child behind… nevertheless we found a decent bar and celebrated the successful adventure with a good bottle of Californian wine and Shepard’s pie!

Hard to believe that we won’t step into an aeroplane tomorrow but sit in a car driving on busy motorways heading for Boston…

The places we have seen were extraordinary and already make us want to visit more of those remote corners of the world. It makes me stand in awe how people survive and live in such harsh and desolate places but then there was also this unique beauty about them despite the cold, the isolation and the lack of bars and restaurants.

Thank you all who followed us on this Trans-Atlantic crossing! And thanks to everybody involved in the long and tedious and often frustrating preparations with this expedition! It's finally paid off.

We hope to continue the quest for more countries by balloon and aeroplane next spring with a trip through Central America and out to Cuba! Watch this space!

PS: I will update this blog once I have a few more youtube videos live and receive the footage of the other team members. There also will be a film released in  couple of months. I will post any links on this blog.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Stuck in Sorel!

                                             Saturday the 1st of July. Canada day and rain!
Betty and the Cadillac
Got up early and went running trying to find a way to jump into the river for a swim. Found somewhere and had my first swim in 2 weeks which was glorious and a warm 20 degrees.

Winds calm but clouds low and it started to rain soon after. We all enjoyed a huge breakfast at the Aeroclub and made some preps for the US entry and immigration paperwork.
Allies enjoys a huge plate of Crepes
Today being Canada day and a special holiday there had been a vintage car rally planned in conjunction with our aeroplanes and some more vintage aircraft. Sadly due to the bad weather only one Cadillac turned up and posed with Betty alongside for some photographs.

 By late morning the chase for finding a suitable hanger for the Beech was still on but it became clear what we couldn’t fly to anywhere in this weather. John though discovered a very fierce looking red snake - did we fold that one in when we packed the balloon away or how did it get in?

John the snake whisperer
By later noon we were back at our Hostel in Sorel Tracy. Out of all places to get stuck probably the best so far as the place had good wifi, a pub next door and cosy beds.

room nr 6!

A peaceful afternoon catching up with the blog, emails and sleep was actually quite a welcomed break from the rushing around in the previous days. Dinner was spent in a fancy hotel near the river with our very kind and helpful friends from the airfield.

We also finally managed to find a hangar: it’s north of Toronto in Eden Vale and Betty will be cuddling a Lancaster for the winter!!