Matt Wiltshire and Ed Chapman
The Long Jump 2012 After carefully watching the weather charts for over two weeks it appeared that a slot was opening up for Friday the 19th. A quick text to Ed confirmed a co-pilot. Ed spent the afternoon running various trajectories which showed that Exeter would be a reasonable place to go from, flying to the north and hoping to clear Birmingham airspace to the East. The Thursday was very busy collecting equipment, re-fuelling tanks, sorting a launch site and loading the basket. A check of the met and NOTAMS in the evening confirmed the flight for the morning. We set off from Bristol around 5:30 AM and arrived in one of Charlie Street’s very wet launch sites approximately 1 mile north east of Exeter airport. A quick call to ATC confirmed that they were happy for us to launch and so we began to unload the Exeter Airport heavy basket and set up our equipment. At 8:20 we lifted off into the murky sky loaded with 6 full 60’s and began our climb to 6,500ft. After losing the land breeze around 800ft our track changed to 040 and then swiftly swung left to 010, this track kept us below an airway with an average of 10 knots and a poor track straight towards the north Devon coast which would mean a long water crossing straight into Cardiff if we could of got there! The next two hours were spent painfully staring at the GPS desperately trying to squeeze a few more degrees by creeping the balloon up and down, foot by foot until eventually we decided to call it a day and landed in a small village a few miles west of Taunton. Not happy with 2 hours and 40 minutes, and a poor distance of only around 20 NM, we drove back to Bristol to re-fuel the balloon and decided that we would have another attempt the next day from Somerset. So Saturday morning we went through the same drill, made sure we had all the kit kitchen sink etc, there wasn’t a sink but there was a dog. We left Bristol at 5.30 AM and headed down the M5 to Isle Abbotts just outside Yeovil and a dry field (the only dry field on the Somerset levels the rest was under water!) We took off at 8:30 AM and climbed quickly up to 10,000ft we only spent about 10 minutes up there and then dropped down to between 8,000ft and 8,500ft as the track and speed were better. We passed directly over Glastonbury and had a cracking view of the Tor. Ed squinted looking for Worthy Farm and the Pyramid Stage, checking out where the best place would be to pitch his tent in June. Captain Chapman overhead Glastonbury
Overhead Wells Ed called up Bristol Radar and asked for permission for area transit, ATC at Bristol are fantastic and cleared us through at FL85 they even called us up for a quick chat it was a quiet day for them. After an hour and 15 minutes in the air and almost 2 tanks down we were in between Bristol and Bath with a wonderful view of both cities, Bristol Airport then woke up at this point and they asked us to not deviate from FL85 so they could route Bristol looked very small from FL85 incoming Easyjet under us and the outbound Ryanair over us, I spent the next 15-20 minutes staring at the Flytec. We didn’t feel like eating a jet engine for brunch as we’d forgotten the mayo! As we approached the M4 Bristol advised us to descend to below flight FL75 so we did not infringe on the upcoming airway, we duly complied and to our delight we had the same track and now 28 to 30 knots. It was at this point when we realised just how cold it was after looking at the crown line and noticing that we Ed disturbed Kemble from a morning snooze to ask for a Basic Service, we could just about make them out below us through the thin layer of stratus (clouds not the burners), the next time we heard from them was when signing off and switching to Brize. Brize didn’t quite know what to make of us, what was our destination? Why no transponder? Are we a microlight or a glider? Ed EasyJet on approach into Bristol thought she sounded lovely though and thought she sounded like she had a streak of naughtiness in her voice. ATC started to get a little twitchy when we were approaching more Class A airspace and we were giving position reports every 5 minutes or so. Brize asked us to give Coventry a call and we introduced ourselves to another bemused ATC Controller, all was going swimmingly flying just under the Class A airspace when we were told to take the dreaded number and call once we had landed as we had apparently infringed airspace. We informed them that we hadn’t (apparently they’ve had a few lately), we were slightly annoyed at this as we Layers of Straus clouds, not burners were bloody well sure we hadn’t and we had enough GPS tracks to prove it! Ed knew it was close as he was descending to go under the step down, but knew it wasn’t an infringement, anyway they called up about 5 minutes after to say they had made a mistake and no need to call. Don’t worry it’s only Instragram
Matt Wiltshire and Ed Chapman
When Ed looked at the track afterwards it was close, but as they say an infringement is an infringement and a non-infringement isn’t? The sun had finally made an appearance, Apple toys bonjour Monsieur Sun, we were now flying along at 5000ft or so and had slowed to around 10 knots, tracking just north of east. Looking at the small cumulus below us we decided to drop down 1000 feet or so to go more round to the north and improve our straight line distance, we were now doing a painful 6-7 knots, not for long though! The lovely little cumulus were going quicker than us so we dropped down to 2000 feet and flew along at their height, back up to 10-11 knots, happy days. We’d been in the air for 4 hours 20 minutes now, were aiming in between Daventry and Northampton and registering on the last two tanks, with hardly any SAs compared to Bristol and fields the size of Bristol we made the collective decision fly until we had a track distance of over 100 NM and 5 hours in the air as this should take us down to roughly 20% in each tank. We passed the magic 100 NM mark and needed 5 more minutes to get to the 5 hour mark with one side just below and 20% on the other side we were going to do it. I made the approach over a small industrial estate on the edge of Flore, thought about the car park which would have been tight to get into, and settled for the cut field on the other side of the road. We crossed the road as Clive and Joanne drove under us in the rig, impressive stuff! A quick celebratory beer and everything packed away, if only the field wasn’t so wet! Landed Good job the farmer had his tractor on hand to pull us out, much to Joanne’s amusement!
So all in all, an awesome flight. Both myself and Ed both beat our personal records (duration for Ed, altitude, distance and duration for myself!) and achieved over 100 miles. Not bad for a first effort I think! See you next year!! Obviously this flight would not have taken place without a great deal of help from others. Thanks go to; Clive Wiltshire and Joanne Miles for a top retrieve. Andrew Medcalf for use of his pristine lawn to launch from. Lee Hooper for the use of tanks. Charlie Street for the use of field / bog. Nic Amor the nitrogen. All the ATC guys and girls we spoke to along the way. Apple for the supply of iPhones and iPads.
Edâ€™s dodgy pose!
Matt Wiltshire and Ed Chapman
The Great British Long Jump 2012 Name of Pilot: Matt Wiltshire Name of Co-pilot: Ed Chapman Name of Balloon: Cash4cars Type and size of Balloon: Cameron Z-105 Date of flight: 20th OCTOBER 2012 Propane at start: 300 litres Propane at finish: 20 litres Starting place: Isle Abbots (Somerset). ST 349 208 Landing place: Globe farm, Dodford (Northamptonshire) SP623 600 Start time: 08:25 LT Duration of flight: 5:05 Straight line distance claimed: 117 statue miles Average speed 20.5 KTS Maximum height flown: 10,000 feet Wind direction: SW Witnesses to take-off Andrew Medcalf email@example.com Joanne Miles 07720566661 Clive Wiltshire 07858060321 (inc. tel. no. & email) Witnesses to landing : Joanne Miles 07720566661 Clive Wiltshire 07858060321 (inc. tel no. & email )
Length of landing drag 12 inches Signature of Pilot M.Wiltshire
Matt Wiltshire Ed Chapman 2012