Britain’s Alicia Hempleman-Adams has set two hot air ballooning world records and ten new British records during a single solo flight across Calgary province and into Saskatchewan in Canada.
Landing just before nightfall Calgary time on Tuesday November 22, she had been in the air for an estimated seven hours and forty minutes, breaking the previous duration female world record for an AX4 class balloon by almost 15 minutes.
Earlier in the day, she set a new world record for distance by more than doubling the previous record of nearly 118 km, managing an incredible 303 km.
Together with the records she already held, Alicia now holds a total of three world records and 12 British records.
The 33-year-old who hails from Bath in Somerset said afterwards “It was a bit touch and go whether we’d have enough fuel, but hopefully we’ve broken both records”.
All records must be verified by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale’s (FAI) interestingly named CIA department – Comite International d’Aerostation.
Alicia was helped by father Sir David Hempleman-Adams, who himself has held 42 records over a period of some 20 years, as well as members of the Calgary Balloon Club who provided invaluable back-up and support.
One of these was 92-year-old Dennis Myrthu, who lives in Calgary and joined the team along with his wife Heidi in trying to keep up with Alicia as she flew into the neighbouring province of Saskatchewan, leaving them with a four hour return car trip. Back at fellow members’ Richard and Heather Clark’s house just outside of Calgary, Dennis said “I’ve been in this sport for 40 years and what Alicia did today was phenomenal.”
By comparison, Hempleman-Adams has been flying for just 10 years but has already racked up a highly impressive tally of records. As her father Sir David said later “It’s one thing talking about it, quite another doing it. It’s a magnificent achievement and I couldn’t be more proud of her”.
Words and stills by Johnny Green.