Two get very high, and other hot air balloon related foolery

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Press release

Heres what Lev had to say about it all

Gary Mortimer and Lev David are proud to announce that the first official test of in-flight systems for their forthcoming attempt at the South African high flight balloon record was enormously successful.

Gary and Lev launched from Rosetta in the KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday morning (April 2, 2005) to test tracking and communications systems developed by H Communications in Johannesburg especially for the flight, and running on laptops sponsored by HP.

The ingenious systems will not only be essential for the team to break the high altitude record, but will enable anyone to track the much-anticipated flight in real-time on the internet at and

The team also got to test their extreme weather clothing for the first time. The gear from The North Face is widely considered to be the best extreme weather clothing in the world and has only recently been made available in South Africa through an exclusive agreement with Duesouth. The team expects temperatures to be as low as –50 degrees Celsius at the peak of their flight, so the gear will definitely be pushed to its limits when the team flies in May.

Gary Mortimer is a professional balloonist operating from Nottingham Road. Lev David is producer and co-presenter KwaZulu-Natal’s biggest breakfast show, The Bokomo East Coast Breakfast Serial on East Coast Radio. In the past few months, the show has grown in popularity to become the most listened-to breakfast show in the history of East Coast Radio, a feat virtually unheard of in the radio industry for a show less than a year old.

Gary and Lev’s record attempt will be extensively covered on the show, providing a uniquely thrilling story for the listeners. Given the extraordinary risks involved, nobody can say for sure how the story will turn out, although the team remains confident.

Saturday’s test flight was not without its problems, though—a temporary tracking failure meant that Lev had to perform emergency repairs while in the air, being talked through the repair by the technical team on the ground, having to scramble over the balloon basket at 10000 to get to the tracking box.

The landing in Estcourt was also particularly hair-raising, with the team having to contend with frighteningly strong winds. It was only an ant heap that stopped the team from crashing into a barbed wire fence.

The pilots would like to extend its condolences to the no doubt very large extended family of the ants who died valiantly stopping the balloon just in time.

Issued by

The Pilots

April 3, 2005


  • I have a balloon site too i wil ladd you to my links section

    Andy Hot Air Balloons

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:22 PM  

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