11th European Balloon Festival Igualada 2007

Published on Hot Air Balloons Meetings

Record Number of Balloons attend Eleventh Igualada European Balloon Festival.

This year’s Igualada European Balloon Festival, held between the 12th and 15th of July, attracted a record number of entries with pilots from all over the world taking part. Many had travelled long distances to enjoy this special event.
The event was a resounding success due to the combination of the hard work of the organisers combined with near perfect weather conditions, thus enabling a 100% flight success record with all 7 flights taking place.
Morning conditions were also ideal for airship flying with Daniel Stuber from Germany flying his airship and Fernando Garcia Roldan from Spain flying the Coca Cola airship.
The event started on the Wednesday evening with a welcome reception given by the town dignitaries for all of the pilots and crew. This was held in the spectacular newly renovated and extended Town Hall in the centre of Igualada. Well over 60 pilots attended the meeting coming from most European countries, the USA as well as the home region of Catalonia and the other regions across the whole of Spain.
The event now has a track record for attracting a large amount of media interest and this year was no exception. The press morning flight, which opened the flying on Thursday morning, had superb coverage with most national and local TV companies present, as well as gaining lots of national and local newspaper coverage.
Weather conditions were ideal for competition for the Thursday morning flight with a Hare and Hounds and Judge Declared Goal both leading from the town centre launch site to the aerodrome where Ultramagic is based. Many balloons reached the targets and were able to land conveniently close to the Ultramagic factory where refuelling later took place.
The Thursday evening flight, whilst being brisker than the gentle morning flight, attracted many pilots to take part in adventurous flights towards the mountains. All balloons landed safely with many of the regular attendees of the meeting having enjoyed a new experience of evening flight conditions due to following the lead of the locally piloted hare balloon.


Friday’s weather conditions were very similar to those on Thursday, with gentle, easy competition conditions in the morning and more challenging conditions in the evening. Views on the morning flight were breathtaking through the broken cloud towards the mountains.
Saturday’s conditions again followed true to form with light wind flying conditions in the morning encouraging good competition in the event.
A traditional Paella meal accompanied by live music was held on Saturday afternoon. This was held outside the Ultramagic factory alongside the runway with additional entertainment given by flypasts from local fixed wing and glider pilots! This was later followed by a fast Saturday evening flight which was enjoyable but quite short due to windier conditions and the need to be back for the night glow.
The European Balloon festival has an enviable record of 100% success with the night glow and this year was to be no exception. Conditions were perfect and the 20,000 plus public who attended were enthralled by the superb orchestrated glow followed by a spectacular fireworks display. This spectacle even excelled previous year’s displays. After this the party then continued into the early hours of the morning with an outdoor concert with live bands.
The meeting ended after flying yet again in perfect conditions on the Sunday morning followed by a prize giving brunch with all of the pilots and organisers in attendance.
First place in the overall competition went to Iván Ayala (Balloon Pavial) from the Rioja region of Spain. Second place went to John Russon (Balloon Mondial) from the UK. Joseba Garcia (Balloon BBVA) from the Basc Country took third place.

The “Star” system of prizes was again awarded throughout the competition, which resulted in the presentation of large cash prizes to pilots or syndicates of pilots with 5 stars.

Friendship, combined with good flying as always is the theme of the European festival. It continues to attract a growing following of pilots wishing to take part in a fun yet competitive event where everyone gets to know each other. The event was concluded by the organisers thanking all those in attendance for their efforts to make the festival such a great team event. Plans are already under way for next year’s festival, hoping that the track of good weather continues into the future.