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David Hempleman-Adams Wins America’s Cup Race

31/12/2011 Jo Bailey News


David Hempleman-Adams, world class explorer and balloon pilot WINS America’s Cup Gas Balloon Race in

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

David Hempleman-Adams took off Sunday morning at 2.00 am October 2nd 2011, from the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in the America’s Cup Gas Ballon Race & won this year’s race.

They made a safe but fast – 35 knots! — landing at about 8:30 PM MDT (03.30 am BST) this morning near the Canadian border, about 64 miles northwest of Minot, North Dakota.
Unofficial results shows that the team flew 974 miles (1,568 km) and also has apparently set a new America’s Challenge race record for time aloft.  They were in the air nearly three days – 71 hours, 32 minutes, beating the old mark of 68 hours, 46 minutes set in 2008.
This would be the first America’s Challenge win for Hempleman-Adams and Mason, but not their first win for a gas balloon race in Albuquerque.  In 2008, the team won the Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett, an international distance race very similar to the America’s Challenge, bringing this great race to the UK last year for the first time.

For much of Monday and Tuesday, Hempleman-Adams and Mason flew neck and neck with the race’s defending champions, Albuquerque’s Peter Cuneo and Barbara Fricke (Team 4), and at one point were only one kilometre apart! This terrific high-altitude duel spanned three states and nearly 24 hours as first one team, then the other took the lead. Cuneo and Fricke landed about two hours before Hempleman-Adams and Mason, and finished only 46 miles (76 km) behind.   Cuneo and Fricke have won the America’s Challenge twice, in 2001 and 2010, and have finished second four times.

The rest of his team included Clive Bailey, from Bailey Balloons who is once again the Flight Director & the British Team Manager, and together with Luc Trullemans, (famous Belgium weather TV presenter & forecaster) they helped work out the best track, keeping an eye on fuel management, pilot rest time, navigation & of course the best winds and altitude that carried them to this incredible victory. The American team AC4 with Peter Cuneo & Barbara Fricke was in second place, with another American team AC5 with Andy Cayton & Bill Manuel in 3rd place.

A delighted David Hempleman-Adams said: “ We have wanted to win this balloon race since our Gordon Bennett win here in 2008. We were up against great competition from the top American Gas balloonists and the top German team with Wilhem Eimers, which has made it a really exciting race and the last 24 hours have been very tense. We are absolutely over the moon.’’

Luc Trullemans gave the team incredibly detailed, often hourly & accurate forecasting for David. Team Manager, Clive Bailey talked to David hourly whilst he was flying up until he landed, surviving on 4 hours sleep since Saturday morning! They are now all recovering well having a long sleep after their sleep deprivation!!
About The America’s Cup…see www.balloonfiesta.com
The America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race was founded by the Balloon Fiesta in 1995 by Mark Sullivan, former Balloon Fiesta President and recipient of the Montgolfier Diplome (one of ballooning’s highest honours), who wanted America to be identified with the world’s most prestigious ballooning sport and it was set up in 1995 and has been held in Albuquerque every year since.

The America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race is modeled after the Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett, but  it differs from the older event in allowing balloons from all countries, without limits on the number of entries from each. The team that travels the longest distance wins. Everyone has to use the same lifting gas and similar balloons. Only two balloon pilots can be on board each balloon. Once airborne each team tries to fly farther than any other team, non-stop through days and nights, dodging storms and fighting fatigue.

In 2008 David Hempleman-Adams & Jon Mason flew from Albuquerque in the Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race for 4 days and landed near Lake Michigan, North of Chicago, a flight of 1922 km.
Most Balloon Fiesta events feature hot-air balloons, which usually can stay aloft for only a couple of hours. Gas balloons, use lighter-than-air gases such as helium and hydrogen for lift, and can stay aloft for 60 hours or more. The balloon that flies the furthest – in accordance with the rules – wins. Some flights reach Canada and the U.S. East Coast. The gas balloons inflate in the late afternoon and take off in the early evening – timing that increases the balloons’ flight duration.



Clive supporting David Hempleman-Adams in his bid to win the America’s Cup Gas Balloon Race

Monday, October 3, 2011

Clive Bailey is once again Flight Director for David Hempleman-Adams as he is flying in the America’s Cup, a Gas Balloon Race taking off from Albuquerque. He and his co-pilot Jon Mason took off at 2.00 am on Sunday morning 2nd October and are one of five balloons left out of the original 8.
You can follow this exciting race on


One Show Balloon Week- Clive flies One Show Balloon

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Clive Bailey has been busy over the Summer flying the One Show Balloon for the BBC One Show.

They have done a series of short films telling stories from all over the UK from the air. They say all the best stories are told from above!

The first film went out on Monday 19th September about the tulips fields in Norfolk. The One Show presenter Christine Walkden who is a very knowledgable gardener.

She talks about the history of tulips in England and there are some stunning shots of the tulip fields from the One Show Balloon.

She also gave out a good tip for planting your tulips – don’t plant them before the first frosts in November!


Other films will be going out each night Tuesday night is Stonehenge.


See the tulip film here at about 9 and half minutes in.

The British Team has landed after 20 flying hours in the Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

At 7.40 pm on Sunday evening September 11th David Hempleman-Adams and Simon Carey in their gas balloon Lady Luck landed in Worgl in Austria, due to thunder storms looking at coming in close proximity.

They had had an amazing flight over the French Alps, the Swiss Alps, and the Austrian Alps. Hempleman-Adams and Carey have been flying in the balloon since 10.40 pm on Saturday evening launching from Gap in France.

They reached a distance of 580.9 km compared to the winning 645.6 km flown by the German Team 2 who landed just outside Saltzburg. The German team 1 came in at second place. Flight Director Clive Bailey and Luc Trullemans, have spoken to the British team at regular intervals throughout the flight from the HQ in Bristol at the Bristol Hotel.

Clive said: “ We are especially proud of David and Simon given the competition they faced. They have had an exciting and stunning flight which was much shorter than last year’s flight due to the high altitudes that they had to fly at and bad weather but it was a flight that was hard work but ended with a perfect stand up landing.’

Speaking on a phone from the landing site Hempleman-Adams said; ‘We had to land as there were thunder storms all around. We had a truly spectacular flight with amazing views over the Alps, Mont Blanc, The Matterhorn…incredible. Nige and Bob, the retrieve crew turned up within a few minutes of us landing and we all then had to sort out the balloon After which they celebrated with some whisky and then retired to a local restaurant to savour some hot food.


Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race 2011 to launch with GB team aiming to win again

Friday, September 9, 2011

The International Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race, the oldest air race in the world launches on Saturday night 10th September 2011 from Gap in France with our award winning British team David Hempleman-Adams, the world-class epic explorer and Simon Carey, a senior airline captain. After his fantastic win in the United States in 2008, when he spent 4 days in a small wicker basket suspended under a gas balloon, David brought the Gas Balloon Race to the UK for the first time last year.

This race launched from Bristol with Simon and David coming 3rd in an amazing race of 21 balloons from all over the world which flew across Europe, the winner landing in Eastern Romania.

The gas balloons are controlled by releasing gas to go down and throwing out sand to go up. The pilots stand in small wicker baskets that have to be equipped with flight instruments and radios, food & warm clothing as flights can last 4-5 days in this cramped and uncomfortable space. The pilots will take it in turns to have short sleeps and rest periods.

Each team is backed up with a control centre based on the ground and for David and his co-pilot Simon Carey, they will have a core team of experts: Clive Bailey, his flight director who will monitor and calculate his every move, along with the weather guru Luc Trullemans. Clive and Luc will be based in the Bristol Hotel in Bristol and they will remain awake for most of time to help David find the most favourable track.

David said: ‘The Gordon Bennett is one of the most exciting of races, it is like playing a game of poker in the sky, with Clive and Luc helping to hunt out the best tracks for me to fly the furthest in the shortest possible time as the gas and sand can soon run out!’

Follow this exciting race online at http://www.hempleman-careygb.co.uk/ and see the teams’ regular blogs


Bristol Balloon Fiesta August 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

Well, what a Bristol Balloon Fiesta we had this year! The forecast was horrendous but being England the weather all changed and we had some truly fantastic flights across the city of Bristol! We flew BBC Points West twice over the week-end and they filmed some fabulous footage from our balloons.

We also looked after Carol Kirkwood from BBC Breakfast who presented the BBC Weather live from the Bristol Balloon Fiesta and from our balloons! We love Carol – she is an amazing presenter and always cheerful even at 5.30 in the morning!

On the Friday evening we filmed live from the Fiesta for the One Show with the BBC with the well-known newsreader and presenter Angela Rippon. We enjoyed having her with us and being on the show- she was a real sport!

The Saturday night glow was spectacular with 30 balloons glowing in time to a variety of up beat tracks co-ordinated by one of our lovely pilots, Ian Martin.

Sunday morning we had another stunning flight and then in the afternoon we saw the superb Red Arrows do a fantastic display over Ashton Court.

Cameron Balloons, the balloon manufacturers celebrated 40 years of building balloons by building a complete balloon including the wicker basket at the fiesta site in 4 days – what an achievement and they showed it off by tethering on the Sunday evening.

The Fiesta was rounded off by Clive Bailey receiving the Rose Ball Award for his services to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta for many years presented to him by his friends and colleagues, Don Cameron of Cameron Balloons and Muir Moffat, the Chairman of the Fiesta. Clive was completely delighted!

Bailey Balloons Gets Involved in You’ve Got a Friend in Bristol-

Friday, May 20, 2011

BRISTOL – 19 MAY 2011: Tourism officials in Bristol launched a creative new marketing campaign with a big bang and surprise ending, with Clive Bailey of Bailey Balloons chosen as one of the main characters of the campaign to represent Bristol.

Destination Bristol unveiled the campaign today at a press conference at the Avon Gorge Hotel, overlooking the picturesque Clifton Suspension Bridge. Those in attendance included tourism industry stakeholders, media and the new Lord Mayor of Bristol, Geoffrey Gallop. The marketing campaign is called ‘You’ve got a friend in Bristol’ and aims to encourage visits to Bristol through quirky, yet inviting characters who assure visitors to the city of a warm and friendly welcome.

At the press conference, John Hallett, Managing Director of Destination Bristol explained why the initiative is expected to raise awareness of Bristol, as well as a few eyebrows.

“Although the campaign uses a light-hearted way of telling Bristol’s story, the justification of the message has a strong business focus in mind”, Hallett said. He added, “We were looking at new and slightly tongue in cheek ways to raise awareness about Bristol ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games, and to capitalise upon the opportunities that being at the heart of this great city-region present during 2011. Our aim was to create a campaign that would be welcoming and attract attention, but one that would deliver very real economic benefits to the city. We have chosen a number of instantly recognisable and iconic characters from Bristol’s past and present to get the message across and promote our key visitor interests”.

The characters which include the likes of Wallace and Gromit, Blackbeard the Pirate, Mr Brunel, John Cabot, a Clownfish named Charlie, a Lemur, Clive Bailey, the balloon pilot and even a church cat named Tom are a few of the interesting friends that Bristol has to offer. Each of the characters share recommendations for visitors to experience activities related to the character’s online ‘friend profile’, linking them to the visitor interests of the consumer. The characters will even interact with one another on Facebook while educating visitors about their topics of interest from arts, events, attractions, shopping, dining and more.

‘It’s a great way for visitors to go to our website and learn more about Bristol through our characters,” said Jessica McDonald, Marketing Executive at Destination Bristol.

At the end of the press conference, the marketing team unveiled a surprise arts and music character to represent Bristol’s cultural and urban side, called Bellatrix. Belle Ehresman (Bellatrix) is the female world beatbox champion and a Bristol jazz musician. She gave a beatbox tutorial at the press conference and wowed spectators with her unique beat. Immediately after the Bellatrix performance, attendees walked down to a terrace overlooking the Clifton Suspension Bridge where all of the Bristol characters were holding the letters ‘You’ve got a friend in Bristol’ in front of the bridge. Organisers from Upfest, the urban paint festival, were also on the terrace painting a 16-foot wide graffiti art mural of the characters.

During the event, the marketing team also explained how the campaign aims to draw attention to key events taking place in 2011 and beyond. John Hallett added “We have an array of exciting new developments in 2011 such as the opening of Bristol’s new £26 million museum, M Shed; Bristol Zoo Gardens’s 175th anniversary, a new £1.5 million science exhibition in At-Bristol and more. We wanted to highlight more than ever the amazing range of things to experience and see in and around Bristol during this time and of course next year we have the 2012 Games”.

Another key aim of the ‘You’ve got a friend in Bristol’ campaign is to encourage those that have friends and relatives in the city, to visit their loved ones, a sector that accounts for almost 40% of domestic and international visits to Bristol. Up to 165,000 people outside of Bristol may receive postcards that Destination Bristol has offered to Bristolians in order to invite their friends and relatives to the city. The postcards include buy 1, get 1 free offers.

McDonald added, “It is always difficult to market a destination creatively so that it stands out from the crowd. We therefore came up with the idea to let the characters who have shaped Bristol over many generations tell our story in a unique way.”

An overview of Bristol characters includes:
Blackbeard the Pirate: Represents history, the Harbourside and Bristol’s pirating past
Wallace and Gromit: Represent At-Bristol, Aardman Animations and Bristol for families
John Cabot: Highlights all things Cabot in Bristol, history and Bristol’s ties to America
Clive the Balloon Pilot: A ballooning, sport and adventure enthusiast

Mr Brunel: Represents all things Brunel in Bristol including boats & bridges
Kat Walker: Bristol’s shopping and fashion guru
Charlie the Clownfish: Loves the Bristol Aquarium, conservation and all things water
Tom the Church Cat: A cat with an interesting story who loves Sacred Bristol
Larry the Lemur: Represents Bristol Zoo Gardens’ 175th anniversary and green Bristol
Bellatrix: Represents Bristol’s arts and music scene, urban Bristol and more

Ant and Deck fly with Bailey Balloons

Monday, April 4, 2011

More news on this exciting story and some great photos comming soon, watch this space!

Trans Alpine Hot Air Balloon Flight

Thursday, March 3, 2011

On 4th February 2011 Clive returned to Chateau d’Oex to carry out a flight from Switzerland to Italy with Marc Kegels, a Belgium colleague and six passengers.

The distance flown was over 140 km and a cruising altitude of between 16,000 and at 19,000 feet, both pilots and passengers were on oxygen.
The wish was to fly over the Bouquet of the Alps, the Monte Rosa standing at over 15,000 feet and the famous Matterhorn, a you can see by the photo, a wish that came true!
If you are interested in flying over the Alps yourself please contact us!


Flying Clients at Chateau D’oex Balloon Fiesta, Switzerland

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Every year Clive and Jo Bailey attend the Swiss Balloon Fiesta in a small village called Chateau d’Oex in the Swiss Alps. The Fiesta lasts 10 days and has balloons from all over the world that have a personal invitation to this prestigious event.

This January the weather was set very fair for ballooning and the balloons flew most days. In fact the weather was a bit too fair as snow was very scarce!  It is always a favourite event with both Bailey Balloons and their clients, as a good time is had by all!

It is a truly spectacular sight seeing all of the multi coloured balloons against a blue sky with the snow capped mountains behind. To fly in the Swiss Alps is breath-taking and quite different from a flight in the UK!

If you are interested in taking a group to Switzerland please contact us!


Bailey Balloons and The Red Arrows

Monday, January 10, 2011

We are very fortunate to have had a long association with the Red Arrows and it was fantastic for Clive and Sue, one of our pilots, to travel up to RAF Scampton together with Nick and Steve our trusted crew and fly them on the morning of their Family Day, after the flight and a good breakfast we put the balloon baskets on display and had many of the teams families trying them out, The day culminated in a private display by the Reds, fantastic.


British Balloon and Airship Club Award Clive

Friday, January 7, 2011

The British Balloon and Airship Club awarded Clive a prestigious Diploma for services to expeditions and the Bristol Balloon Fiesta.

Clive has been Logistics and Flight Director for David Hempleman Adams World record balloon flights to the North Pole, Atlantic and also the Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race which will be run from Bristol in September..

Clive has also been Flight Director for the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta for many years. The fiesta is the largest free event in Europe and the 2nd largest annual balloon fiesta in the world.



Bailey Balloons and The One Show

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bailey Balloons took part in the BBC One Show’s Balloon week. Bailey Balloons took the One Show filming from five different locations; Cheddar Gorge, Newbury, Salisbury, Worcester and Pewsey, Wiltshire to see some amazing crop circles. The One Show was great fun, Clive appeared live on the show several times and we managed to capture some fantastic sights from the balloon.


Bailey Balloons and The Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race 2010

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The magic of old fashioned Gas Balloons (complete with sand bags) took to the skies over Bristol in the world’s finest balloon <img race, the Gordon Bennett, which came to the UK for the first time since it began in 1906, with 22 balloons from around the world launching near Bristol. Clive Bailey was one of the key director’s of the Gordon Bennett, organising committee. Bristol gave the Balloons an amazing send off with the national anthem of each country being played as each balloon individually took off.

This year David was flying with, senior Virgin airline captain, Simon Carey as his co-pilot. Clive Bailey was again his Flight Director and together with Jon Mason manned David’s Control Centre at the Bristol Hotel, Bristol from the moment the balloon took off to when they landed.

David and Simon took off at 12:36pm on 25th September and landed due to deteriorating weather conditions, four days later, at 11:07am on 29th September 2010. They landed in Serbia, and had flown 2009km, making them come in third place. The Swiss team won the race having flown an astonishing 2435km and the German team came second landing shortly before the Great Britain team in Moldova, having flown 2313km.

Very sadly, Richard Abruzo and Carol Rhymer Davis, flying America 2 lost their lives in the race, its thought they may have been struck by lightning off the coast of Italy. Our thoughts are with their families.

Bailey Balloons and Jamie Oliver

Monday, January 3, 2011

We had the pleasure of flying Jamie Oliver from Bristol as part of his new show that will be broadcast later in 2011, The flight ended a day of cooking in and around Bristol including Avonmouth docks and Ashton Court, the picture is after the flight in Wick where we landed.


Bailey Balloons on BBC Watchdog

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ever get the feeling you’re paying the same but getting less? With some of the UK’s biggest food companies that might be right. Rebecca Wilcox discovered that Gu’s ‘Cheeky Pots’ of chocolate desserts now have fewer spoonfuls of chocolate inside.

The net weight on the packaging shows each pot is now 45g, compared with a previous weight of 50g, but the recommended retail price has stayed the same.

That’s not the only product where the contents inside have reduced while the packaging and recommended retail price have stayed the same… Bailey Balloons inflated one of their balloons for Rebecca Wilcox to fly in, showing how much air we are buying.

– See more at:

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