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Teijin at the Royal Easter Show, March 1967

As the only ballooning group in the country, the Aerostat Society of Australia was invited to launch Teijin I at Sydney's Royal Easter Show.
It was late one evening in the centre arena of the old Sydney Showground, now Fox Studios, when a trial run took place.

I'd been invited by Ken Bath, my parachute instructor, to go along and perhaps help out as ground crew; and that's when I first met Terry McCormack and had my first glimpse of a balloon.

A large gas burner began to roar and I was mesmerised as hot air poured into the balloon's mouth and an unimpressive pile of fabric grew into a huge globe towering 23m above us. A few minutes later the burner was shut down and the balloon gently lifted and hovered silently in the gloom, above the ground mist. I could move it by hand. What other flying machine could grow from nothing, and then just float there in complete silence? The balloon bug had bitten me.

So, it was with that balloon, in front of large crowds at the Royal Easter Show, with one or two of us on board, it would rise into the afternoon sky almost invariably as the wind also rose. It suited the Show's timetable, but it was the most dangerous time of the day to launch a balloon. No longer was it the gentle giant I'd met on that first night.

In the wind it was a struggling monster seemingly bent on both our destruction and its own personal escape from the 60m tether. On one flight, Terry was caught inside the balloon itself as it began to lift to the vertical, and he was almost "poured" onto the roaring flame. In the arena we had it tethered to a large water tanker, but even then, unless filled with water, the tanker's wheels sometimes lifted off the ground.

 

Thanks to the Archives of British Pathe Newsreels ,after a few Easter show items,

Teijins' Flight is displayed.

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After joining the group, I discovered that the group and the balloon had quite a history.

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