FIFE BASED BALLOONING FIRM FINALLY SET TO TAKE TO THE SKIES AGAIN
With hopes dashed of any flying in the Spring of 2021, Kinross based Webster Adventures has finally been given the go ahead from the Scottish Government to resume its hot air balloon flights over Kinross, Fife and Perthshire.
Daniel Webster has been running the business, which is now the premier supplier in Scotland of hot air balloon flights, since 2014. The business holds two world records for its ballooning prowess. Daniel revealed that Webster Adventures last flight was at the end of 2019.
“There’s a season for hot air ballooning in Scotland which obviously does not cover the winter,” said Daniel. “So our last flight was actually at the end of 2019. Due to Covid-19, we have been unable to fly since. It’s been a very hard eighteen months for the business as we did not qualify for any grants or support funding from The Scottish Government. This support was apparently for “land and sea” activities only, so please make of that what you will. Like many businesses, we’ve battled through it and managed to keep going, including retaining all of our staff.”
“We had a non commercial flight a few weeks ago on a Saturday evening over Kinross, just to get us back into the swing of things,” said Daniel. “It felt fantastic to see the balloon flying once again, although we were keen to start taking our passengers again.”
Webster Adventures will resume commercial flying on 14 June, when it will release its flying calendar for the season, with passengers able to book in dates to fly through the website.
Pilot Pete Forster, who has chalked up an impressive tally of more than 15,000 balloon passengers over his twenty eight years of flying, has been the Webster Adventures pilot since 2018.
He explained that, with the typical flying season for balloons falling between mid March and October, he tends to be regularly looking at multiple sources of weather forecasts for up to three or more days ahead.
“This is to spot possible flying conditions,” said Pete. “Daniel likes to crew the balloon when he can, so I like to give him a heads-up. We also have to get customers booked in, or on standby for those possibilities.”
During the season, Pete explained that Webster Adventures usually flies early morning, or around dusk if the weather and wind conditions allow.
“During the day, the air becomes thermic and gusty which is dangerous for balloons,” said Pete, “as we would get turbulence and loss of vertical control. So mid-summer, we might be meeting at around 6am and 7pm onsite. As the daylight hours shorten, the morning meet time becomes later and the evening time earlier. I typically collect the balloon from its storage yard. If it’s another crew and not Daniel himself, we tend to meet them onsite where the passengers also meet us.”
“We can’t wait to get back up in the air!”