2nd FAI Women’s European Hot Air Balloon Championship 2012

Published on Competition news

2nd FAI Women’s European Hot Air Balloon Championship 2012

Congratulations from the worldwide ULTRAMAGIC team to Lindsay Muir from the UK on coming first and winning the 2nd FAI Women’s European Hot Air Balloon Championship held between 18 and 22 September 2012 in Frankenthal (Palatinate), Germany.

Lindsay won the competition flying her ULTRAMAGIC Racer with a total score of 13953 points.  Congratulations also go out to all of the competitors for an interesting close fought event. ( See Lindsay´s report below.) Special congratulations from the Worldwide Ultramagic Team go to Daiva Rakauskaite from Lithuania who came second and Kristine Vevere from Latvia who came sixth. Daiva and Kristine were also both flying Ultramagic balloons.
Lindsay´s Ultramagic Racer    Lindsay on target    Lindsay on target again!
Here is a short report from Lindsay Muir about her experience at the event in her own words. Thank you Lindsay.
  "I have been competing in hot air balloons since 1988 and was the most experienced pilot in the competition.  Having won the British Championship twice, the Women’s World Cup 3 times and placed in the top 10 in the Open World and World Air Games Championships on several occasions I was the hot favourite to win.  My other half (Graham Hallett) and long term friend Ges Bull were my only crew members.

The Women’s Championship is in its infancy but this year’s event attracted more competitors and from more countries than the previous one in Lithuania in 2010.  The experience of the pilots has increased and I had to fight from 5th place to win on the last day.  I had a great penultimate flight and made no mistakes, unlike all of those above me at this stage in the competition.  Fantastic results meant that I stormed into the lead and held this position after the last flight.  I never took for granted that I would win and I was absolutely delighted by my success.

The Event Director was Mathijs de Bruijn a highly experienced director.  Over the course of 3 days we managed 6 flights and 19 tasks.  The tasks included the following:  Fly In, Fly On, Hesitation Waltz, 3D Shape and Pilot Declared Goal.  The 3D Shape on the morning of day 2 required us to fly within a doughnut to achieve track points and the best way of staying within the area was to climb to 7000’ plus.  I was surprised to see how many balloons were up at this altitude this year.  The centred of the 3D Shape task was set around the three Judge Declared Goals.  It was impossible to achieve a good result on all 3 JDGs but a good launchsite meant that I could drop my marker in the measuring area for 2 of them.  The final task of this morning (you could fly them in any order) was a Hesitation Waltz which was unachievable by most pilots.  The penultimate flight consisted of 5 tasks FIN, HZW, JDG, JDG, FON.  The goals were a moderate distance apart and the end of the scoring period was at 10 am.  Even though I took off about 3rd and almost as close as I could do to the FIN, and did not mess around at all on any of the tasks I was still tight on time to complete all 5 tasks.  While the tasks appeared somewhat easy, the latter tasks were set on the extreme right of the available winds which meant that you had to climb quite high to get to the final two goals.  By the time you got back down near the ground the wind had changed and with no balloons near the targets ahead of me it was a difficult to judge the best place to make my approach from.

After the penultimate flight I was in the lead.  The final flight consisted of 2 tasks (3D shape, HWZ).  The 3D shape was like a wedding cake that you had to fly through to achieve as great a distance as possible.  This is an impossible task to determine how your result compares with anyone that of anyone else.  However the HWZ should have been easy.  I thought I had just missed the measuring area by a metre or two but it was only after I landed that I realised that I had not pushed my electronic drop marker button properly which meant that my result would have been 3 or 4 km.  When I checked with the measuring team I was delighted to find that my marker drop was 96.84 m! This final result saw me comfortably in first place.

The event took place in Frankenthal: a wine growing area of Germany.  The weather during the week was fantastic, clear blue skies and variable enough winds to make the flying challenging.  Although the tasks appeared relatively simple, (Fly In, Fly On, Hesitation Waltz, 3D Shape and Pilot Declared Goal) they were set in a way which meant that we had to hunt for suitable winds and had to climb to several thousand feet to achieve the goals.  The organisation of the event was faultless and there was great camaraderie between the pilots, crew and officials.  Despite being the hot favourite to win I never took it for granted and it was a great to feel that hard work and experience and a head in the right place finally paid off.  Thanks to everyone, especially my crew for a great event.”

Lindsay Muir.


Congratulations Lindsay for a great result!
Well done to all competitors from the Worldwide Ultramagic Team
Ultramagic Racer – The Choice of Champions
When the results must speak for themselves
When only the best will do.
“The Racer” – The original – only by Ultramagic