18 Sep 2016

Briefing: 10am 18 September 2016

Pilots had a briefing this morning at 10am, where the weather was again discussed. Hot topics included probable landing conditions before the mistral, and a timetable for launch this evening...

Pilots had a briefing at 10am today and the first topic under discussion was the weather. Meteorologist Michael Noll focused less on the ‘final destination’ of reaching Crete, and instead discussed potential landing options before reaching the Rhone Valley and the effects of the Mistral.

Landing on Monday before Luxembourg is an option, and pilots could expect low winds and good conditions.

Landing on Monday evening west of Geneva would also provide good landing conditions, with light winds.

Later, as pilots fly toward southern France they can expect to meet the Mistral. Again, like yesterday’s evening briefing, that most likely means heading south out to the Mediterranean.

Noll discussed storm potentila in Italy. In summary:

  • Monday and Tuesday: Clear of storms
  • Tuesday night to Wednesday: Storm potential over Italy

In the launch field this evening pilots can expect wind and gusty conditions, but by the cloud that is there now – it is solid grey above – should have cleared.

The briefing then covered details about inflation organisation. Each balloon is 1,000m3, and takes 12-20 minutes to inflate fully with hydrogen. Pilots will start to inflate this afternoon.

Once the balloons are inflated, they stay in the launch field, like race horses in the paddock. When launch comes, each balloon is manoeuvred – they have neutral buoyancy and can be pushed around a foot off the ground – to a floodlit podium where it then rests while the crew makes last minute preparations to fly. With the team’s national anthem then playing the balloon then launches.

After that the razzmatazz is left behind and the balloonists are on their own.

Important times (all local) today:

  • 13:00: Ready to fly
  • 21:00: Pre-flight briefing
  • 22:00: Launch period starts

Photo: Event director Stefan Handl holds the room. Credit: FAI / Marcus King