15TH Igualada European Balloon Festival 2011

Published on Hot Air Balloons Meetings

100% Success – Fifteenth Igualada European Balloon Festival.

This year’s Igualada European Balloon Festival, held between the 7th and 10th of July was special being the 15th event to be held. A 100% flying record was attained with all 7 slots being flown. Many old faces attended this special anniversary of the event with also a number of new entries coming from as far away as Chile. Without question, once again, the event was a resounding success due to the combination of the hard work of the organisers combined with near perfect weather conditions on most of the flying slots!


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.  The abundance of food and drink was enjoyed by all. Speeches were shorter than in previous years giving more time for everyone to socialise and also meet the new heads of local government recently elected.

The press morning flight opened the flying on Thursday morning in good flying conditions and two competition tasks were set with a Hare and Hounds and Judge Declared Goal. 


The Thursday evening flight similar to that of last year was less brisk than normal and attracted many pilots to take part in super flights towards Odena. All balloons landed safely in good conditions with plenty of time still to refuel and then enjoy the superb outdoor communal supper.

      Friday’s morning weather conditions were much quicker than normal morning flights with many pilots reaching the judge declared goal at the Ultramagic Aerodrome in less than 10 minutes from the launch site. Those who chose to follow the Hare for the second task enjoyed a super flight of more than 40km over the mountains to Manresa. In spite of this, most pilots ended the flight with a stand up landing.  Good conditions prevailed for the Friday evening flight with longer than normal flights being made. Once again after the flight some excellent food was enjoyed at the communal supper with plenty of wine available for those not driving!
World record holder Pierrick Duvoisin was in attendance at the meeting despite still recovering from a nasty motorcycle accident. Having a leg strapped up did not prevent Pierrick from making some spectacular long duration but low fuel consumption flights in his special all silver record breaking Ecomagic balloon “Balloon Concept”

Saturday morning’s wind conditions were perfect with excellent steerage. This enabled the balloons to fly out over the town and then back again to the launch field and then on to Odena or beyond. Many balloons had a number of intermediate landings with change of crew and pilots resulting in overall flight times in some cases of more than 2 hours – Igualada European Balloon Festival conditions at its best! 
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 perfect Saturday evening flight which was then followed later by a balloon glow attended by tens of thousands of people. The evening drew to a close with a superb fire work 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 with all of the balloons first flying across the town to the judge declared goal in the town centre and then following the Hare out to glorious mountain countryside to all land safely in large cut stubble fields!


 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 ALAIN CRUSTEANCHI from Monaco flying his Ultramagic M-77 Montecarlo SBM balloon. Second place went to local pilot JORDI RODRIGUEZ SANCHEZ flying his Ultramagic Racer Grup Jardi. JOSEP MARIA LLADO the Managing Director of Ultramagic took the third position flying his Ultramagic T-150 demonstrator.

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 and crew with 5 stars.


The event was concluded by the organisers thanking all those in attendance for their efforts to make the festival once again such a great friendly team event. Everyone present hoped that next year would result in a similar superb event they have all come to expect.