Brazilian junior HAB team competes in Poland 2021
by Luana Mari Noda – Brazilian Balloon Pilot & # 5 Team Member
Ballooning has brought me countless opportunities to get to know different countries, experience new cultures and, of course, participate in major competitions. As a pilot and navigator, I have always tried to improve my skills to open new opportunities. So, when I was invited to join João Vitor dos Santos Justo's team and help him to fulfil his dream of representing his country in the 5th FAI Junior World Hot Air Balloon Championship, I accepted immediately.
The challenge had begun!
Organizing work, equipment, car, ticket, hotel, passport, balloon life, balloon sensor, vaccine, covid! The preparations, of course, were the most exhausting parts of the entire process. But after arriving in Poland, and with the help of the event's organizing team, we managed to overcome every adversity.
The 2021 FAI Junior World Hot Air Balloon Championship had 43 competitors, including 5 young women, representing the future of ballooning in the world. How happy it was to see so many talented young pilots, which raised expectations for the competition even more. With the check-in performed and the balloon tested, we started the competition.
And what a competition, five tasks right on the first flight. During the event the tasks were well differentiated, encompassing various aspects of competitive ballooning. With points available on flights at dawn and at dusk, the intensity and the quantity were intense. So, without realizing it, we were on the eve of the last flights. The cancellation of the tasks on the penultimate day and the bad weather on the last day, left the feeling that the great finish that this event deserved was missing.
Fortunately, the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the get-togethers of the delegations in the social regions of Leszno provided a great exchange of experiences. This also brought new friendships and generated expectations of meeting these pilots in future events.
I had the opportunity to know a little more about participants with the interviews I did. Being able to ask the pilots to share their expectations for the event, perceptions and achievements was an exceptional experience. Watch interviews here.
It is not possible to measure the personal growth that this world championship gave me. From the preparations, the adaptation to balloon competition life (surprisingly pleasurable) and even the frustrations with cancellations at the end of the competition, all were significant in my training as a pilot. All this unforgettable experience encourages me to continue growing in ballooning, so that in the near future I can finally fulfil my dream of representing my Brazil as a pilot in the FAI Women's World Hot Air Balloon Championship.
Luana Mari Noda, balloon pilot