Balloonist Attempts To Tackle White Island
7 February 2006
Balloonist Attempts To Tackle White Island – A World First
Renowned balloonist Rick Walczak is set to become the first hot air balloon pilot in the world to fly out of a live volcano when he attempts to conquer White Island in the famous ‘An Egg A Day OK’ balloon.
The daredevil balloonist claims the stunt, scheduled for an early morning start on Wednesday 8 February weather permitting, is his ‘riskiest and most dangerous’ endeavour yet.
“Most balloonists wouldn’t attempt this because of the dangerous sulphur levels that could corrode the balloon combined with unpredictable wind conditions that could easily blow us out to sea,”
“But after 27 years ballooning I enjoy a challenge - either that or it’s a mid-life crisis,” jokes Rick.
To undertake the balloon stunt, Rick will need three helicopters, one of which will fly crew and the Egg A Day balloon into White Island and one of which will be poised to rescue the balloon in the event of an emergency.
After rising out of White Island, Rick will endeavour to fly the balloon to Whakatane where a large party will be waiting to welcome him back down to earth.
Rick says support from the public has been absolutely phenomenal.
Rick became the first man to fly over Mt Taranaki and Mt Ruapehu last year in the eggs balloon but narrowly missed an attempt at Mt Cook due to bad weather conditions.