THE balloon was constructed in the summer and fall of 1995 by Cameron Balloons Ltd., St. John's Street, Bedminster, Bristol BS3 4NH, England. It was registered in England and shipped to France in October of the same year.
Its maiden flight originated at Couches, France, on October 14th at about 15:30 hours (GMT), at precisely 46 degrees 51.736 minutes north latitude and 4 degrees 35.345 minutes east longitude (give or take a couple of hundred feet). The maiden flight terminated at Epinac, France, on October 14th at 46 degrees 59.577 minutes north latitude and 4 degrees 30.157 minutes east longitude (giving and taking the same couple of hundred feet). For those who don't like to look at grids on a map all of this took place just south of Beaune ... in the Burgundy wine country of France. The liftoff took place in the courtyard of a chateau ... we landed in a field. Between those two points, we flew!
It carried 8 passengers and one pilot on the maiden voyage ... which lasted slightly less than 2 hours. We traveled about ... oh, I guess about 9 or 10 miles. The maximum altitute reached on this maiden trip was just high enough not to hear the dogs barking at us. The maximum speed was about 10MPH ... slightly more than enough to do damage to front bumpers of cars built after 1995.
Here are some photographs showing Corkscrew Balloon I in various stages of its initial unfurling and inflation at Couches. Select any thumbnail image to see a larger photo.
Here are some scenes from Corkscrew Balloon I's visit to the Loire Valley, where we spent the last few days of its initial series of outings in October 1995. Select any thumbnail image to see a larger photo.