Images: Egg Balloon Flies Non-Stop Over Tararuas
For immediate release
January 25, 2004
The incredible Egg Balloon has achieved a world first with its historic crossing of the rugged Tararua Ranges early this morning.
The giant, five-storey high, hot-air Egg Balloon flew over the 3800-4000 ft. high mountains, and reached an altitude of around 7400 ft.
Despite several attempts no balloon has previously made this crossing, and balloon pilot and long-time egg aficionado, Rick Walczak, says his nerves were jangling as final preparations took place.
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The trip was many months in the planning, and with Civil Aviation Authority permission the flight lifted off from Shannon, north of Otaki, at approximately 6:30 a.m. this morning.
“We had to be at least 2000 ft. above the highest peaks, so we prepared a very detailed flight path to ensure a safe crossing,” Rick Walczak says.
“We used the latest satellite imagery which came direct to our laptops, giving us up to the minute weather information which my co-pilot and tactician fed me constantly.”
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Although the Egg Balloon had sufficient fuel on board for four hours’ flying time, the flight took exactly two hours.
“I took parts from four balloons to create one enormous egg balloon especially for this flight,” says Rick.
“We stowed 360 litres of propane fuel on board, and burned about 55 litres an hour. We put a nitrogen mix in the tanks with the propane to give us more grunt, and a faster response time. The balloon really outperformed itself - the mission was more successful than the British Mars lander mission, as we landed where we expected to!”
Two volunteer teams of four crew scrambled to assist the balloon flight – one stationed on each side of the ranges.
“The West team helped us with lift-off, and the East team assisted with landing in high winds.”
Executive Officer of Eggs Inc. (sponsors of the Egg Balloon) Peter High says, “This is yet another world first for New Zealand eggs, close on the heels of winning the world’s top egg marketing award. Once again, we cracked it!”
The giant balloon, which was produced in America, is a rich yolk yellow and features a dozen 3-D boiled eggs around its middle with two huge poached eggs on top.
Prepared on behalf of Eggs Incorporated by Publicis Drum
About Eggs Incorporated
Eggs Inc. works on behalf of New Zealand's many egg producers to promote the benefits of eggs, encourage positive awareness, and increase egg consumption.