Hot air balloon enthusiasts from across the globe are this month celebrating the 50th anniversary of one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious hot air balloon competitions. The World Hot Air Balloon Championships have been taking place every two years at locations around the world since 1973. Albuquerque in New Mexico was chosen to host the first meeting of the balloon extravaganza. In 2022, it was Slovenia who welcomed 103 balloonists from 31 different counties to compete in the event.
The hot air balloon competition is organised by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, which is based in Switzerland. The FAI organises competitions of aeronautical sports including gliding and skydiving at meetings around the world. The ballooning competition tests pilots’ abilities to navigate their balloon in terms of distance, speed, and precision.
Pilots have to train in all three of these skills and the competition usually takes place over several days, to ensure that as many balloons as possible get to take part. Tests usually take place at the beginning or the end of the day when flying conditions are at their most stable. The FAI verifies the achievements of each competitor, including world record breaking feats.
The competition has been held in countries across five continents, and usually in places which have an established relationship with hot air ballooning flying. Though the competition is yet to come to Bristol, we have a strong history of providing world-class hot air balloon flights over the sights of the city. We also offer hot air balloon flights in Bath and other areas in the south west.