- Hans Weber
- December 7, 2023
Flights in Lety with the Crown
From Wednesday 6th to Saturday 9th September, the first international competition of ultralight balloons will take place under the name Korunka Lety in Lety. Pilots from the Czech Republic, England, Poland, Austria, Germany and Belgium will compete in the category of smallest balloons. The competition will take place between Karlštejn and Lipenci, between Brdy and the D5 motorway to Plzeň in the morning and evening hours. It will end on Saturday with an entertaining afternoon at the PIVOTEL MMX in Lety u Dobřichovic with attractions for children and adults.
The uniqueness of these international races is that a similar competition has not yet taken place. We expect a total of 11 pilots and their balloons. With balloons and balloonists alike, spectators can meet at the end of the competition on September 9 at the Pivotel MMX in Lety u Dobřichovic with an accompanying programme. There will be aerial models, a flight simulator, painting gingerbread in the shape of balloons, a ride through the historic Tratra, and there will be no competition for a ticket to the balloon basket and snacks.
The ultralight balloons have between 20 to 40 kilograms of gas available, so they fly roughly 8 to 15 km, with a 15 to 20 minute flight remaining to make a comfortable landing after the competition is over. The range is adapted to the choice of disciplines. Several disciplines are available, among others the destination to which the pilots will fly will be limited, the maximum or minimum flight time will be limited, or one of the balloons will follow, indicating the target by landing. Pilots from six countries will take part in the competition, including David Head from England: “I’ve been flying balloons for over thirty years, I’ve flown all over Europe and much of Asia, but I’ve never been to the Czech Republic. I am therefore very much looking forward to magical flights over the beautiful castles, hills and valleys of Berounka. I will also be sure to visit Prague, a city renowned for its many amazing places and monuments.”
Balloons will fly in the morning and evening between Karlštejn and Lipence, between Brdy and the D5 motorway to Plzeň. “You’ll see us flying from September 6, every morning between 6:00 and 8:00, and in the evening at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. We will plan the take-offs according to the weather, i.e. in which direction the wind will blow so that we pass over the Valley of Berounka, flights in sight,” says competition organizer and enthusiastic balloonist Jan Smrčka. On Friday, September 8, in the afternoon, it will be the turn to take off from the stadium from the Berounka waterfront (along with the lethal footballers at their disco), on Saturday, September 9, from 1 p.m., the final fun afternoon will take place at pivotel MMX with the Korunka lottery, which is the main partner of the competition, involving all the pilots and with the possibility of a tour of the competition balloons.
Ultra-light balloons are the latest addition to aerial sport It is a completely new discipline that has only Czech legal regulation and we could afford a slightly looser approach when drafting the rules. Especially in that the construction of the balloon can be done by the pilot himself. It’s like you could build your own car. The rules for flying are the same, the training is different. People learn to fly very quickly and put the balloon, which is very much a storage unit, in the car or in the garage. The balloon’s packaging weighs 30 kg, the basket has a similar weight, so handling it is relatively simple.
The Air Amateur Association of the Czech Republic was founded on March 17, 1990. Its mission is to ensure the best possible conditions for recreational and sports flying pilots of sports flying equipment and, in accordance with technical requirements, also to provide adequate conditions for the development and construction of sports flying equipment. From 2019, the sport’s flying facilities include ultra-light balloons. “In 2018 we were approached by balloon pilot Jan Smrčka with a project of ultra-light balloons,” aleš Trtil, president of the Air Amateur Association of the Czech Republic, recalls the emergence of the new category. Within a short time it was possible to introduce this new aviation category and it started to gradually develop. “I would like to thank all those who are putting their time and skill into developing this expertise and I hope that even with this first International Competition of Ultralight Balloons, information about this beautiful sport will reach the wider public. The LAA CR slogan is “We fly for pleasure” and I can confirm from my own experience that flying in a balloon brings this joy,” added Aleš Trtil.
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- Hans Weber
- December 7, 2023