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2015 National Ballooning Championship

Donna Tasker

2015 National Ballooning Championship

Lisa Simcock, ECU Reporter

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Northam will be looking up this weekend, thanks to 30 different coloured air balloons competing at the National Ballooning Championships in the Avon Valley.

Following the success of the 2015 National Ballooning Championships, the Australian Ballooning Federation has awarded the event to Northam, for the second time.

The field includes 30 local, national and international pilots who will be competing for national honours, and the Geoff Green International Memorial Cup from 2-9 September.

The task the pilots have to complete throughout the Championships is not a race, but a way to show off their skills. They do this by manoeuvring their balloons over a set course with goals, targets, scoring areas, time and distance limits. The pilots achieve these tasks by using the wind and altitudes to get to the targets. When they reach a target, crew members aboard the balloon drop markers (small sandbags) onto or as close to the target they can.

A highlight from the championships is the ‘key grab’ competition held on the last day where the pilots fly from point to point collecting foam keys.

Northam is a 90 minute drive from Perth and visitors are welcome throughout the eight days. On the first day of the competition there is a Balloon Fiesta held at Henry St Oval. Starting at 4pm, there is live entertainment, balloon glow, carnival rides, markets, food and drinks, showbags, a game zone, a balloon discovery zone, and fireworks to end the day.

Twice a day keen onlookers will be able to see the big balloons flying across the valley at dawn, and in the afternoon. Times may vary due to weather conditions.

You will be able to book a balloon flight during the event, exclusively from Windward Ballooning, to see all the action from the sky.

To get the perfect Instagram shot or the best viewing spots look at the facebook page. Due to weather conditions the viewing spots will differ each day.


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