Hot air balloons make Derby history

Fittingly in the run-up to Balloons Around the World Day today, two hot air balloons recently made history when they took off from Derby city centre.

This was the first occasion that a hot air balloon has taken off from a parkland location in a city. The balloon flight was conducted by Nottingham and Derby Hot Air Balloon Club members, from Bass’s Recreation Ground in Derby, on Saturday, October 1.

Speaking prior to the event, the publicity officer of the balloon club, Robin Macey, said that hot air balloons rarely take off from a city centre location. He added that about 17 years earlier, a balloon had lifted off from the Market Place, which is outside the Assembly Rooms. He had managed to capture some amazing photographs from that experience and was hoping to do the same this time, including some aerial views of Derby.

Prior to the event, permission had to be granted from officials of Derby City Council, so that the balloons could take off from the recreation ground. In addition, the pilots had to inform East Midlands Airport to ensure that they were aware of the event. As the location for take-off was so close to the flight corridor, there was a danger of being blown towards the EMA flight path, so the pilots had to ensure that the weather conditions were safe and that there was a northerly breeze.

Nottingham and Derby Hot Air Balloon Club does not offer commercial balloon rides, but members of the public are permitted to apply for membership. The organisation is nonprofit and has two balloons, set up in 1978.

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