14th Igualada European balloon Festival 2010

Published on Hot Air Balloons Meetings

Perfect weather for the Fourteenth Igualada European Balloon Festival.

This year’s Igualada European Balloon Festival, held between the 8th and 11th of July, was blessed with perfect weather. However hotter than normal conditions did mean that morning briefing were held half an hour earlier than in previous years but an excellent free breakfast was still available on the launch site before take off! Once again the event attracted a large number of entries with pilots from all over the world taking part. Many had travelled long distances to enjoy this special event, some from as far away as India and South America. 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.      


The event started on the Wednesday evening with a welcome reception given by the town dignitaries for all of the pilots and crew which was held in the Town Hall in the centre of Igualada. Over 40 pilots attended the meeting however a number missed the evening reception as this clashed with the World cup Soccer batch between Spain and Germany! Consequently the reception finished earlier than in previous years so that teams that had attended could also disappear to see the match!

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, was supported by a unique aerial camera platform with a helium balloon which flew to over 100,000 feet taking photos and video footage all the way up! After rising over 33km in the sky the equipment was retrieved less than 10km from the launch site! This also shows what exceptional high pressure conditions existed during the festival.

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, which was less brisker than in previous years, attracted many pilots to take part in adventurous flights towards the mountains. All balloons landed safely in good conditions with plenty of time still to refuel and then enjoy the superb outdoor communal supper.

Friday’s weather conditions were very similar to those on Thursday, with gentle, easy competition conditions in the morning and slightly more challenging conditions in the evening. Views on the morning flight were spectacular with wonderful clear conditions.

Saturday morning’s very light winds and misty flying conditions gave a direction over the town creating some interesting and demanding flying. The traditional Paella meal accompanied by live music was held once again on Saturday afternoon. This was held outside the Ultramagic factory in fantastic weather.

This was later followed by a superb Saturday evening flight which was enjoyable but quite short due to windier conditions and the need to be back for the night glow. The flight commenced with the launch of two balloons flying between them a huge Catalan flag, much to the delight of the crowd.

The European festival’s enviable record of 100% success with the night glow was again maintained. Conditions were absolutely perfect and the 20,000 plus public who attended were enthralled by the glow followed by a spectacular fireworks display. After this the crowd were entertained into the early hours of the morning with an outdoor concert with live bands.


The meeting ended successfully after flying yet again in perfect conditions on the Sunday morning. Competition in the event had been really exciting with the final result of the winner being determined in the very last two tasks. Flying was then followed by a prize giving brunch with all of the pilots and organisers in attendance.

First place in the overall competition went to Carles Figueras (balloon SASI).  Second place went to Pep Julià (Balloon Yakari). Josep Lladó the Managing Director of Ultramagic took the third position with his brother Carles Lladó the Ultramagic Commercial Director only 100 points behind being just pushed out of a prize position.
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.
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, a special event as it will be the 15th. Here’s hoping that the track of good weather continues into the future.