41st Bristol Balloons, August 8-11th 2019. Ashton Court, Avon. Report by Colin and Sheila Coulthard. This annual event is the largest Balloon Meet in the United Kingdom; held at the picturesque Ashton Court Estate every year in mid August. Local manufacturer Cameron Balloons is famed worldwide for developing the modern hot-air balloon and creating many of the 'special shapes' that make these events so visually attractive to the public. In contrast to the recently completed French meeting the essential calm weather stayed away with storm force winds over the weekend restricting free flights to a minimum.
GEMAB19, Chambley Aerodrome, Lorraine, France - 26 July - 4 August 2019 Report by Peter and Kim Davison This, the sixteenth such meet, celebrated thirty years since the first in 1989. Metz born Jean Francois Pilatre de Rozier was the world's first aeronaut in 1783 and Philippe Pilatre still coordinates the event; supported by the Region Grande Est with a budget of three million Euros though the estimated local benefit is ten fold. Visitor numbers are estimated at 400,000. Although extremely weather dependent, after a rough start, 2019 brought hot dry days with light winds from Sunday onwards. On the morning of the Grand Line 456 balloons lifted within an hour in still conditions; filling the sky overhead and equalling a previous record. Similar conditions heralded the famous 'night glow' on the Wednesday evening.