Elated hot air balloonists break Irish record

HIGH flyers at the Irish National Hot Air Ballooning Championships showed yesterday they were not just full of hot air.

Before most people were out of their beds, the eager hot air balloon enthusiasts were up, up and away at Waterford Airport, itching to make history. Within minutes of take-off, they had successfully secured their place in the record books for the largest ever number of hot air balloons taking off in line at an Irish Airport.

The record-breaking feat was all part of the Irish National Hot Air Ballooning Championships which have filled the south-east skyline with colourful balloons since Sunday.

The successful record bid was made at 8am, with 23 eye-catching hot air balloons taking to the skies above the airport and booking their place in history.

The Irish National Hot Air Ballooning Championships are the longest-running such event in the world and balloons from throughout Ireland, Britain, France, Holland, Italy and the US took part in the visually spectacular aviation event which has enthralled spectators over the past week.

Commenting on the Irish record success, an elated event organiser and balloonist Joe Daly said: “We are delighted to have set the Irish record for a mass in-line launch at an Irish airport. We are even more delighted that we broke this record at Waterford Airport while Waterford is hosting the 39th Irish National Championships.”

Commenting on the site as the balloons landed, Graham Doyle, chief executive of Waterford Airport, said they, too, were thrilled to play their part. “Because hot air balloons are classed as aircraft, they are regulated under the very same aviation regulations as planes landing and taking off from here.

“Breaking this record just crowns what has been an amazing week here at the airport. There’s something very majestic and elegant about hot air ballooning and these championships definitely captured the imagination and the attention of the people of Waterford and the many people visiting this region over the past week,” added Mr Doyle.

The Irish National Hot Air Ballooning Championships continue in Waterford until this evening.

- Further information can be found online at www.flywaterford.com or www. waterfordballooningclub.com


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