All eyes will be on the skies in Northam this September when the National Ballooning Championships descends on the town in the heart of the Avon Valley creating a spectacular aerial display. After successfully staging this majestic event in 2015, Northam Aero Club won the rights to host again this year. From 2 to 9 September 2017, hot air balloon pilots from across Australia and around the world will descend on the Avon Valley over five days, testing their skills at varying winds and altitudes. Approximately 30 balloons will be in flight during the course of the event. To see so many colourful balloons in the sky at the one time is a spectacular treat for spectators. Enthusiasts can see the balloons flying across the rolling hills and valleys on competition days at dawn and again in the afternoon if weather conditions are suitable. The Balloon Glow is another opportunity to see the competition balloons in all their glory when they gather for a stunning display on the ground fired up after dark. The event concludes with the ‘key grab’ competition where pilots race from point to point, collecting foam ‘keys’ from the end of 10m poles at several locations. The keys represent a key to a prize. There are a number of great community events organised by the Shire of Northam to coincide with the Championships.
How does a balloon competition work?: The Championships consist of a number of competitive hot air balloon elements including 5 days of competitive flying including morning and afternoon flights, a specialised balloon event known as a Key Grab and a private awards ceremony/dinner. Balloon Competition challenges the skill of pilots where an experienced international director sets tasks requiring the pilot to fly to targets using only the varying winds at different altitudes. These tasks are set for each flight based on the prevailing conditions and could involve several target locations and activities. The Key Grab is again a highly skilled ballooning event requiring the balloonists to select a take-off point that will allow them to fly a minimum distance targeting a foam key mounted atop a 10 metre pole. The key represents the key to a prize. This requires skill, nerve and a highly competitive spirit and provides a magnificent spectator event
CALENDAR FOR PILOTS Friday 1 Sept: 3.00 pm - 5.00 pm: Formal Registration and Check in. Saturday 2 Sept: AM Practice flights (Weather permitting) Northam Balloon Fiesta: 4 PM to 8 PM, Northam Recreation Centre: Balloon Night Glow and Displays. Sunday 3 Sept: AM Practice flights, 2.30 pm General Briefing Bert Hawke Oval. Monday 4 Sept: AM Task Briefing and Flight PM Task Briefing and Flight Tuesday 5 Sept:AM Task Briefing and Flight PM Task Briefing and Flight Wednesday 6 Sept:AM Task Briefing and Flight PM Task Briefing and Flight Thursday 7 Sept:AM Task Briefing and Flight PM Task Briefing and Flight Friday 8 Sept: AM Task Briefing and Flight PM Task Briefing and Flight Saturday 9 Sept: (Reserve Competition Day) AM Briefing for Key Grab Task or similar. 6.00PM Presentation Awards Banquet, Northam Recreation Centre, Details TBA
Withers Street - Northam WA
The Northam Aero Club