Thrill-seekers Mike Scholes and Debbie Day from Burgess Hill will make their record-breaking attempt to travel by hot air balloon from Dartmouth in Canada, to Dartmouth in Devon in July of this year.
If successful, they will be the first female-led crew to make the 2,800-mile crossing; a feat which is even more impressive considering that Scholes has been blind since 2007 when he lost his sight to Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. The couple will face high winds, lack of oxygen, and cold temperatures as they undertake this endeavor.
A former navy veteran, Scholes has developed ingenious ways to monitor the activity of the balloon in flight. By licking his wrists, he can judge the height of the flight by the temperature of the air and the speed of the wind outside the balloon. He intends to support Day by guiding the trans-Atlantic flight when she is resting.
Though Day will captain the flight, Scholes is a hot-air ballooning expert in his own right, having smashed five UK hot air ballooning duration records. He has also won awards for his aeronautical skill including the Royal Aero Club Bronze Medal in 2007, and in 2012 he was selected to run with the torch ahead of the sporting events in London.
If the flight goes according to plan, the couple expects the crossing to take between 5 and 10 days, during which time they will reach heights of 18,000 feet altitude. If you are tempted to get a taste of hot air balloon adventure for yourself, we offer (far shorter) hot air balloon flights in Bath, Gloucester, Bristol and other areas of the South West.