President Richard Parry

January - Y2K

     A lot has happened since I last scribed a few words of hotair related news to the membership and my apologies for the delays with an update although anybody who has had a balloon or HKBAC related query should have received a fairly quick response, which brings me neatly onto the first item.


     Whilst the membership is broadly scattered over planet Earth, email and fax bridges the time differences at very cheap rates. I encourage all of you to make ample use of all the communication means available today and obviously of the Internet and its facilities. The more we communicate, the less problems will stay unresolved. I have to thank Nigel for his efficient liason via email to keep HKBAC matters updated with myself and our sponsors. The latest HKBAC membership list and contact address is available in Excel format from Nigel or myself.


     I mentioned in the last Newsletter that we were just about to head off to the Worlds in Austria, well we did and the Team gave a 
creditable performance in lacklustre conditions. I quote from the FAI newsletter:

14th World Hot Air Balloon Championship

     This Championship took place in Bad Waltersdorf/Austria from August 28th to September 5th. The well-organised event was unfortunately marred by bad weather and only 5 out of 12 possible flights were flown, some in marginal competition conditions. The competition was however very challenging and Bill ARRAS (US) is the new World Champion. Second place went to Uwe SCHNEIDER (Germany), and third place to Gintaras SURKUS (Lithuania). The top ten places went to competitors representing 9 different NACs.

     Although we found this event not well organised or sponsored, the Hong Kong team won the prize for the best Worlds Team and I collected 7th place in the Worlds rankings. Sincere thanks, to Nigel, Thi, Ernst, Len, Jackie, Chris and Barb for all their help and the great time we had.

     From there we shipped G-CXCX back via Hong Kong to Narita and headed to Motegi Twin Ring Race circuit, a new motor racing circuit owned and operated by Honda, for the third and final round of the World Honda Grand Prix. Masashi Kakuda's superb organizational skills, excellent sponsorship from Honda and nice weather provided perfect conditions for a great meet. The terrain and flying tasks were challenging but I was unable to improve on the United Nations team placing as I had done the previous year at Sendai. Thanks go to Nigel and Miho for the epic adventures.

     There was a 2 week break to change the suitcase, move G-CXCX to Kyusho and find our way to our second home, Saga, where the faithful support team of Top Gun and Morning Cuddle alias Sumio and Motoko, together with Ogata-san were waiting for us. This year Nigel and I tried the Japanese homestay programme and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience with our hosts Toshio and Kyoko and their family. We fared reasonably well in the competition but some "new rules" and "ambiguous" PZ's created some variable scores, like we either did very well or blew out big time! The weather was fabulous and the homestay made it it one of the best Saga experiences ever so Nigel and I are both looking forward to Saga 2000.

     SHELL was give an airing at Victoria Park for the benefit of the Commissioner for Transport on 5th December, in the capable hands of Nigel and few HKBAC stalwarts. Thanks to those who turned out and a warm welcome to the new recruits. Sadly that may be the last time we see SHELL flying in its present form as Shell have advised that the corporate colours are not quite correct for their present logo and they might not be able to continue sponsorship.

     Not exactly a HKBAC event but ballooning never the less, I flew at the Icicle Meet last weekend. Based at Warren Farm,on the eastern edge of the Savernake Forest near Marlborough and re-known for miserable weather and lack of flying I arrived on the Saturday morning along with about 10 others and had a wonderful flight culminating in an approach over a small wood with pheasants everywhere and the local shoot popping off at me and the pheasants. I'd heard about the Landowner Relations in the UK but this was my first experience!

     Another none HKBAC event, but worth a mention, was the first hot air balloon flight in New Caledonia at the invitation of sponsors, Agfa NZ and Peugeot. Why and how I ended up there is a longer story, suffice to say that it is a very pleasant place to spend a few weeks. Pics for those interested at my website Yes, we do have a website thanks to much assistance from my son Mike. Unfortunately he is now at boarding school and although I can sometimes update the pages I am loathe to fiddle with it too often in case I loose what we have got! If anybody wants to see more or less on the site then please advise me and I'll do my best. The Events page has been updated but it does not refer to events the HKBAC are going to, more to inform members what and where is happening when, with a handy link to many more events.

The Waikato Hot Air Balloon Club

     The Waikato Hot Air Balloon Club in New Zealand approached me last year to propose some sort of international club membership exchange. In principle we have agreed to exchange information about our clubs, the history, members, flying in New Zealand and Hong Kong etc. By sending them this Newsletter and the previous editions then they will be suitably updated and if anyone is planning a visit to NZ then contact Xandra Kraayenhof & Alistair Malcolm of the Waikato Hot Air Balloon Club at [email protected] for information on ballooning.


     Normally we manage to hold this annual gathering in late January but as I am not planning a visit to Hong Kong until March the meeting has been delayed until mid March and will advise all once the plot for Canberra clears and I can plan some dates.

LPG Bottles

     Last summer we were visited by the Gas Standards Office of the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department of the Government of HKSAR who inspected and after much convincing, would appear satisfied that our LPG bottles are approved to hold LPG. In a way it was fortuitous because recently Shell wanted to know if our bottles were registered with the Gas Standards Office and it was a relatively easy task to match up the two items!

HKBAC Events 2000

     Basically pretty similar to 1999. We were invited to the Philippines next month but it has proved difficult to get interest 
from sponsors and crew so I don't think we will be fielding a Team. In March, Nigel is flying G-CXCX at Canberra and I'm hoping to make an appearance with G-CAMP if I can find a cheap way to ship it to Sydney. No doubt some of you will have spotted my efforts in the Lai See column of the SCMP to wake up the HKTA to the fact that G-CAMP is actually "flying the flag" for Hong Kong! Motegi and Saga are local meets for us so no doubt we will appear again and we have tentative plans to fly 2 balloons at Saga so book now for an early seat in the land of sushi & Sapporo.

New Pilots

     We made good progress training Geoff & Linda Thompson in Canberra and Europe only to loose them from the Hong Kong scene in mid summer when they returned to Oz. (Not to mention the fact that Linda - Social Rep - was just about to announce the Social Plan for 1999) Let me know if you would like further info on how to get a PPL Balloons, it is not difficult nor megga expensive though it will consume some time and effort on your part and the club will provide limited funds to assist.

The President

     I'll finish this Newsletter with a few words about myself since there will no doubt be questions asked in the house! We are "camped" in the UK until we can find a slightly larger house, probably in the local area. I have upgraded my balloon PPL to a CPL and hope to find some more balloon adventures to participate in and enjoy life. In fact I'm heading to the States for 3 balloon meets between 21st June and 16th July so if any members fancy a "holiday" in the States then get back to me for more details. Nigel and I have a good working relationship with HKBAC matters and are prepared to stand for re-election at the next AGM, not an ideal situation, but with the fast communication links we have it has proved relatively simple to liase and sort out club matters although now and again we are reliant on a little help from the grass roots.

Happy days, smooth airs and safe landings.


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