A members’ ballooning club in the East Midlands has recently turned 40 years old.
When Nottinghamshire businessman John Webster started the Nottingham and Sheffield Hot Air Balloon Club in 1978, hot air balloons were still a rare sight in the United Kingdom, and hot air ballooning was an unusual pastime.
Now known as the Nottingham and Derby Hot Air Balloon Club, this is thought to be the only hot air balloon club in the country which is open to amateurs and members of the public. The club does not offer commercial flights; instead, members take it in turns to act as ground crew for others who fly in the basket. The club also trains its own pilots.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the club, which has participated in hot air balloon festivals around the world, including India, Germany, and France. Indeed, in 2005, members of the club took part in a daring aerial crossing of the English Channel as part of a fleet of 28 balloons.
With a huge increase in hot air balloons festivals springing up around the globe, in particular in the global south, the hot air balloon market has seen an average annual growth rate of 6.45% between 2014 and 2017. By 2022, the market is estimated to be worth $450m.
For an opportunity to get a taste of this popular hobby closer to home, we are proud to offer hot air balloon rides in Bath, Bristol, Gloucester and other parts of the South West.