The Farer Balloon First Flight: Petworth, Sussex

Recently, we’ve been thinking there really is no better symbol for adventure than the good old hot air balloon. From Phileas Fogg to Richard Branson, it is the ultimate way to explore and see the world – sailing a few thousand feet high, powered only by the winds.

Much like mechanical watches, the hot air balloon is a perfect example of timeless innovation. Graceful and dream-like, it is a form of aviation which happens only when Mother Nature and mankind work together. What could be more visionary than that?

The first untethered balloon flight launched from Paris in 1783, in a balloon created by the Montgolfier brothers. But it was bright and early in September 2019 when Paul boarded the Farer balloon for its inaugural flight from Petworth in West Sussex. Taking off at first light, as the morning mist lifted and sun started to peek through the trees, the Farer balloon floated beautifully, peacefully over the English countryside.

Built in Sydney, Australia, the Farer balloon is a Kavanagh Ex-60, and is the only one of its kind in Europe. With its racer teardrop shape, it can reach speeds of up to 1,800ft up or down per minute – far faster than the more conventionally-shaped balloons. Specifically designed to take part in competitions all over the world, the balloon carries a lightweight basket that fits just a pilot and one crew. It is, quite literally, all hands on deck.

So, what now? Our plan is to fly the balloon proudly around the world at global events, piloted by three-times Australian ballooning champion, Matthew Scaife. With thousands of miles under his belt, we know he’s the perfect person for the job. We’ve already flown in Slovakia at the 2019 Pre-World Championships. Next stop: Japan, then to soar above the Swiss alps, and onwards. 

Exciting times ahead.