The first day of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Air Games in Dubai got off to a flying start with German’s Sven Gohler and Markus Pieper battling it out at the end of the opening day of the popular Hot Air Balloon competition.
This was despite the fact that the opening day of the tough ballooning competition, which kicked off on Wednesday 9th December, had to be delayed due to strong winds.
This meant that the 69 participating hot air balloon pilots and their ballooning equipment had to be moved at the last minute to the nearby Sheikh Rashid School for Boys, located in Nad Al Sheba.
In the Hot Air Balloons competition, competitors must carry out a number of tasks set out by the lead pilot. Participants are then awarded points based on how accurately they are able to carry out the tasks they are given.
This year’s race began at 8:00 am, when pilots took to the skies in their colourful balloons, for a Hare and Hound competition – a task that requires them to place a streamer on an X that has been marked by the lead balloon.
In this task, Germans Gohler and Pieper took first and second place scoring 2,741 and 2,639 points respectively, whilst American Johnny Petrean took third place with an impressive 2,528 points.
Of course, you don’t have to go as far as Dubai to enjoy hot air ballooning – there are plenty of great hot air balloon rides in Taunton, Bath, South Wales and beyond, which will give you a taste of the air-based sport.