Sunday, 30 July 2017

The Beech in good hands at Edenvale

The Beech over Gloucestershire - photo by Richard Paver
Phil and I have been trying to catch up with domestic and social life back in Bristol but we also had discussions with RGV  regarding the future maintenance programme of G-BKGM. 

In the meantime, Chris the engineer at Edenvale/Canada has inhibited the Beech, put her feet warmers on and looked after her. A great relief to know that she is in safe and good hands for the winter!

I have finally replaced my lost video camera with a more sophisticated piece of camera and sorted tons of photographs and videos.

But we also received some wonderful photos from our friends which I would like to share with you here. The first couple of shots were taken by professional aviation photographer Richard Paver on the 18th of June flying in Andrew Holman-West's Yak 52 G-BXAK. 

photo by Richard Paver

Bristol Airways in formation with a Yak 52 - photo by Richard Paver
Our Beech was flown by pilot John Herbert and in the right hand seat was engineer Roger Shepherd. 
The back seats were occupied by Phil's son Nick Dunnington and myself. We flew for ca 30 mins up to Worcester and back via Cheltenham.

Rocky and Mark Albery at Narsarsuaq in their home-built RV
We also received some stunning photographs by one of the RV pilots, Rogier Westerhuis who has just relocated to Boston/US. 

Thanks Rocky for your marvelous photos of the Beech over the breathtaking mountain scenery of northern Canada!

The Beech over Arctic Canada - photo by Rogier Westerhuis

The Beech near Pangnirtung/Canada

photo by Rogier Westerhuis

And finally - journalist Paula Froehlich - has published an interesting article about our touch down at the spooky American Air base Bluie East 2 in Greenland. Read her story here:

Saturday, 22 July 2017

At the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, near Toronto, Canada

Niagara falls!
It's hard believe that we've only been home for a few days. Exactly one a week ago, Phil and I were still in Canada sitting in a Airbus H 130 helicopter cruising low over the stunning Niagara falls.

we were in one of those!

The flight actually turned out to be longer than average with 17mins and took us over right along the gorge, then a big loop over the falls before routing along the south side of the city back to base.

A great experience! And lucky we came early as the queues quickly expanded.
view to the falls from the helicopter
We then headed towards Toronto but stopped at the Canadian warplane heritage museum in Hamilton, As we approached the airfield, we heard some wonderful deep sounds. There they were: a Lancaster followed by a Catalina.
The Lancaster after its flight
The Catalina. Phil flew across Africa in one of those many years ago
What a great chance to see those rare aeroplanes flying! And to our astonishment, no other than celebrity rock star and keen aviator Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden stepped out of the Lancaster obviously having taken this opportunity to get some hands on flying prior to a late night concert in downtown Toronto.
The 'other' Beech on display in the museum
The Canadian Warplane Museum is certainly one of the best in the world in terms of historic aircraft but even more to the point: nearly all of their aircraft are still in use and flying!
If you want to have a ride though in the Lanci, you need to book about a year in advance and have a big bank account! Ours was empty and we were too late anyway...
Phil and Bill

But we enjoyed very nice chats with the chief pilot and some of the airport/museum staff and we saw Betty's sister!! This aircraft is also still flying and beautifully maintained by an engineer who funnily turns out to be from Bristol! (not the many other Bristols that you will find the States, but ours in the UK!)

We were kindly introduced to Beech pilot Bill McBride who talked about this aircraft but also seemed to know quite a lot about Betty's origins.
Listen to this short talk between Bill and Phil sitting in the Beechcraft:

It turns out that our aircraft would be better suited to the museum, because our saw 10 years or more in use as a navigation trainer for the Royal Canadian Air force. Oh well, maybe one day she finds a home here - at least she would be in brilliant company and in very good hands!

We then drove to Toronto where we enjoyed a final farewell dinner with Chris and Melaya Horston before boarding our BA flight back to London.
in the heli...
4 weeks away, 4000 nautical miles by air and 2500miles by road, 4 countries, 6 balloon flights and 35hours in the Beech! We had an amazing time and are extremely grateful and relieved that it all went so well!

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?