This site originally started as a history, covering the early days of hot-air ballooning in Australia. It begins around 1962 at Parkes in NSW, with the tiny 'Archimedes' making the first hot-air flight after a break of over forty years, and the start of the Aerostat Society of Australia.
Following that flight, a sponsor enabled them to build the huge Teijin.
In Oct 65, the first tests of Teijin at Sydney University resulted in a serious accident causing a fire and injuries. After repairs to people and the balloon Teijin flew free from a tether, at Cargo in western NSW. That was in April 1966, and later in June made the first ever free flight at Canowindra NSW where hundreds fly now.
Following that, the Aerostat Society made a few tethered flights at shows. That was the time when I joined the group. In June 67 the group returned to Canowindra and Ken Bath made a parachute jump from the balloon. All went well.
The next day I jumped, which resulted in Teijin tearing itself apart and crashing.
At that time there was no formal balloon training or pilots licences. In NSW, the only permissible free flying was outside controlled airspace. As a result most of our flights were on a tether legally no higher than 200 feet. There were no balloon builders in Australia.
We wondered if we could design and build something better than what could be purchased from overseas, and at less expense.
The entire history of manned flight has depended on the enthusiasm and energy of individuals. It has been a succession of joyous triumphs, and heart breaking disasters. The Australian story told here was no different. Phil Kavanagh, joined the group in 1968 and later began been building balloons commercially.