MAB 2011: Thursday 28 July

After the shortest night till now I drove to the airbase together with Sarah and my dad. We saw two gasballoons; they took off already before the briefing started. The gasballoon with German pilots Dominik Haggeney and Astrid Gehardt was about to take off when the briefing just started. No briefing for me; my still well working gasballoon magnet sent me straight towards this mysterious envelop filled with hydrogen. The balloon eventually took off carrying a Norwegian flag. What a lovely gesture. The hot air balloon pilots prepared themselves for another morning flight. The sun tried its very best to show up, but after 10 minutes it failed already again.
This evening the sun surprised us all. It was there, the whole time! That didn’t happen during any day before. In the hangar I met Dutch balloon pilot Hans van Hoesel. We eventually figured out that Hans has an apartment in Riga, only a few blocks away from where I normally live. What a small world! I was pleased to meet Hans his wife and her son later on; they’re from Latvia but speak Dutch perfectly.
A while ago someone from the France 3 television station contacted me and my dad with the message that they would like to interview us about our Mondial Air Ballons fansite My dad decided this would be a good job for me. We went to the studio, introduced ourselves and got all kind of information about how France 3 put this event in the spotlights, on television and on the world wide web. The interview is scheduled for tomorrow morning during takeoff, live from the launch field. Exciting!
American pilot Mike Shrum invited me and my dad to join him for the evening flight. He brought ‘Laristra’ with him; the biggest chili pepper ever. I was honored to step on board of this fascinating balloon. We took off accompanied by hundreds of smiling faces from the audience looking at us while applauding. Goosebumps! What a lovely moment. When my dad later on asked Mike why on earth he bought this difficult to handle balloon he pointed out that a happy audience makes every drop of sweat worth it. He’s absolutely right. We had a great flight with the three of us. Eventually 24 people helped packing the balloon. All these people later on stood in a big truck like cattle, going back to the airbase for some refueling. Another perfect day in France; a big thank you to Mike, Nick and their French help troops!
Laristra on the background, earlier this week

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