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FAQ
(Frequently Asked Questions)


 
Can I fly my drone around the balloons?
NO. Without authority from the Organisers, drone operations are prohibited at the Northam Airfield and within the designated Competition areas. CASA regulations prohibit drone operations within close proximity to aircraft or airfields.


Where can I book a balloon flight during the event?
Balloon flights can be ONLY booked through Windward Balloon Adventures in Northam:
www.windwardballooning.com, Phone: 08 9621 2000


Where & When can I see the Balloons?
For information, please click here.
Keep watching our facebook page for information updates: FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK

CALENDAR

Date Events
Saturday 2nd Sept
Sunrise - Practice flights, duration 1 to 2 hours, Weather permitting.
See table of Sunrise and Sunset times.
4 - 8 PM: Northam Balloon Fiesta, Northam Recreation Centre:
Balloon Night Glow and Displays.
Sunday 3rd Sept
Sunrise - Practice flights, duration 1 to 2 hours, Weather permitting.
Monday 4th Sept
Sunrise - Competiton flights, duration 1 to 2 hours, Weather permitting.
4 - 5 PM - Competiton flights, duration 1 to 2 hours, Weather permitting.
Tuesday 5th Sept
Sunrise - Competiton flights, duration 1 to 2 hours, Weather permitting.
4 - 5 PM - Competiton flights, duration 1 to 2 hours, Weather permitting.
Wednesday 6th Sept
Sunrise - Competiton flights, duration 1 to 2 hours, Weather permitting.
4 - 5 PM - Competiton flights, duration 1 to 2 hours, Weather permitting.
Thursday 7th Sept
Sunrise - Competiton flights, duration 1 to 2 hours, Weather permitting.
4 - 5 PM - Competiton flights, duration 1 to 2 hours, Weather permitting.
Friday 8th,Sept
Sunrise - Competiton flights, duration 1 to 2 hours, Weather permitting.
4 - 5 PM - Competiton flights, duration 1 to 2 hours, Weather permitting.
Saturday 9th Sept
Sunrise - Reserve Competition Day / Key Grab Task or similar, Weather permitting.


How does a balloon competition work?:
The Championships consist of a number of competitive hot air balloon elements including 5 days of competitive flying including morning and afternoon flights, a specialised balloon event known as a Key Grab and a private awards ceremony/dinner.
Balloon Competition challenges the skill of pilots where an experienced international director sets tasks requiring the pilot to fly to targets using only the varying winds at different altitudes. These tasks are set for each flight based on the prevailing conditions and could involve several target locations and activities.
The Key Grab is again a highly skilled ballooning event requiring the balloonists to select a take-off point that will allow them to fly a minimum distance targeting a foam key mounted atop a 10 metre pole. The key represents the key to a prize. This requires skill, nerve and a highly competitive spirit and provides a magnificent spectator event.

Is the competition a race?
No, most balloon competitions are a skill based accuracy contest.
Each event has a director that set tasks that require the pilot to assess how to utilise the winds to navigate from the launch field to a target point. Competition points are accumulated according to how close the pilot drops a marker to the target point.
Each competition flight can consist of up to 5 tasks and can include 2D tasks, 3D tasks, pilot declared goals, hesitation waltz.
A 2D task requires the pilot to navigate to a particular geographic location and drop a marker on a target.
A 3D task is similar to the 2D task but involves the pilot to be at a specified height and the pilot registers his best position on a special logger.
The pilot declared goal is fairly self explanatory, the pilot decided a position that can be achieved, registers the co ordinates and tries to fly to it..
A hesitation waltz involves attempting to reach 1 of 2 goals so traditionally the pilot targets the 1st goal then if he achieves that one flys onto the next task, however if the pilot is unsuccessful in at goal 1 he can try to get to goal 2. The success at either goal is counted but not both.

How do you steer a balloon?
There is no mechanism to steer a balloon in the traditional sense. The pilots do have control of climbing and descending and will use the wind directions at different altitudes to manoeuvre the balloon using the air movement or wind.
The air currents or wind generally travels in different directions at different elevations. By skilfully using these changes in direction the pilot moves up and down to catch a wind travelling in the appropriate direction.
Usually a pi ball, a small helium filled balloon, is released before takeoff and monitored as it gets higher allowing the pilot to get an understanding of the speed and direction of the winds at the different elevations.
Balloons take time to react to increases in heat (to rise) or releases of hot air (to drop) so another important skill is knowing how long to travel at an elevation and judging how much heat to add or drop to get the elevation change they need and how long it takes to get the reaction needed.

How are the results scored?
Scoring Points: Points are awarded for each task, and the balloon with the highest aggregate score wins. Therefore, it is important that crews do not fail by trying to score too many points in any one task instead of achieving a good average over all tasks.
Results: Results of competitors are calculated by the distance between their markers and goals or targets. A pilot who drops his marker closest to the target will be scored 1000 points. Scores of the top 50% of pilots in the competition will be calculated by comparing their results with those of the winning pilot. This means if a competitor's result is close to the first placed pilot he will be awarded points close to 1000 points. The mid fleet pilot will score about 500 points and pilots in the lower 50% of competitors will be scored by evenly dividing the remaining 500 points. The scoring system advantages pilots in the top half of the fleet.

More details on the Australian Ballooning Federation Web Site.
(See: The Competition Page, Rules and Tasks, Diagrams and Explanation of Tasks.)
 


NORTHAM SUNRISE/SUNSET 2017

Friday
Sept 1
Saturday
Sept 2
Sunday
Sept 3
Mon
Sept 4
Tue
Sept 5
Wed
Sept 6
Thursday
Sept 7
Friday
Sept 8
Saturday
Sept 9
6.09 am
6.07 am
6.06 am
6.05 am
6.04am
6.02 am
6.01 am
6.00 am
5.59 am
Sun Rise
6.33 am
Sun Rise
6.32 am
Sun Rise
6.31 am
Sun Rise
6.29 am
Sun Rise
6.28 am
Sun Rise
6.27 am
Sun Rise
6.26 am
Sun Rise
6.24 am
Sun Rise
6.23 am
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sun Set
6.00 pm
Sun Set
6.00 pm
Sun Set
6.01 pm
Sun Set
6.01 pm
Sun Set
6.02 pm
Sun Set
6.03 pm
Sun Set
6.03 pm
Sun Set
6.04 pm
Sun Set
6.04 pm
6.24 pm
6.25 pm
6.25 pm
6.26 pm
6.26 pm
6.27 pm
6.28 pm
6.28 pm
6.29 pm


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HOME |  COMMUNITY & EVENTS  |  THE BALLOONS & PILOTS  |  ORGANISERS  |  GETTING THERE  |  ACCOMMODATION
INFO FOR COMPETITORS  |  SPONSORS  |   |  LINKS  |  FAQ  |  CONTACTS  |  2015 SLIDE SHOW

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Latest update : August 16, 2017