A Virgin hot air balloon slowly lumbered over our house this evening before nearly landing in the allotments behind our garden. It seemed to come within a few tens of feet of touching down before wisely thinking better of it. There are lots of greenhouses, poly-tunnels, huts, etc. not to mention a row of houses on the other side.

I don't know if the pilot was seriously considering landing there, as it seems like a really poor spot that would have ended in disaster. You might get the basket down safely if you were lucky but the balloon envelope would be a nightmare to deal with amongst the allotments. Perhaps as dusk drew in on a fairly still night the pilot was getting a bit nervous about losing light and further opportunities. Or maybe it was just for fun, buzzing low over the houses. It rose quickly with a big burst of flame and then headed off to the fields just North of St Albans where I think it must have landed.


  1. Yes he probably was thinking of landing there. As dusk approaches your options are limited. But as he got nearer he would be able to see what you know are there, the poly tunnels etc. The houses look far enough away not to have been a problem. And when he decided to abort the landing he would climb out quickly, to get into the higher faster winds. For someone not claiming to be an expert you’ve pretty well got it right, except for your “near miss” title! How do I know? I’ve been a balloon pilot close to 40 years……..

  2. Thanks for the comment David. I did expect that the pilot was in complete control and able to shoot back up fairly quickly, but I was still surprised that he even contemplated landing there as it’s not that big a target to hit and full of stuff that would be damaged, even the balloon itself would be OK.

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