This site started as a history,
covering the early days of hot-air ballooning in Australia. It
does not cover the early origins of gas ballooning in Australia.
It begins around
1962, with the first hot-air flight after a break of over forty years,
and the start of the Aerostat Society of Australia. After
the balloon accident in 1967 described here, the Aerostat Society
that time there was no formal balloon training. No pilots
licences. In NSW, the only permissible free flying was outside
controlled airspace, i.e as far out as Canowindra, Orange,
Parks, etc. Only tethered flight, up to 200 feet was legal.
As a result most of our flights were on a tether. In those not so
early days, there were no balloon builders in Australia. It was possible
to purchase from overseas, however lack of funds and lack of experience
added up to lack of sponsors offering financial support.
Balloons had to be designed and built here, which in a way
was re-inventing the wheel. Many of us obtained perhaps our greatest enjoyment
from designing and building these monsters. Perhaps we secretly believed that
we could produce something better than what could be purchased.
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 us in 1968 and began building balloons commercially. There
are over 150 pictures.
Students of the sport may learn from
our numerous mistakes.
Since May 2013, I have included chapters from my historical drama -