Nicola Scaife has soared to victory as the first ever Women’s World Hot Air Balloon Championship winner.
The Australian took part in a week-long competition, which saw her take to the skies over Leszno in Poland, where she competed with a number of other female ballooning experts to take the prestigious title.
The international competition was created in order to break down the barriers that women face in aviation. Hot air ballooning is still a male-dominated activity, but it is hoped that the championship will help to change that and show women that anyone can take part in hot air balloon flights. From Bristol to Bali, male or female, young or old, the activity is accessible to everyone.
Scaife, who works as a pilot in her husband’s ballooning company Down Under, had to work extremely hard to beat the competition during the week’s events. The pilots were only told of the activities that they would have to perform moments before casting off into the air, which was said to have made the contest all the more tricky.
However, she prevailed against the competition, with her performances in the designated tasks considered to be of a high standard. This flew her all the way to the top spot as the first ever Women’s Hot Air Balloon Championship winner, helping to break the glass ceiling for female pilots the world over.
It is hoped that her feat will also encourage more women to take up hot air ballooning.