Hot air balloon flight over Oxford

Written by Nasir Hamid on December 30th, 2011

A work colleague of mine kindly gave me a free flight in a hot air balloon because she had a couple spare vouchers and was only given 45 mins notice before take-off and her family who were originally meant to go couldn’t reach Oxford in time. We went on the flight with another co-worker of ours and took off from playing fields near the Botley Road. The wind was expected to pick up quite fast and there was only a small window for us to get airborne before it would be too windy to take off. At one point the wind caught the balloon while it was on its side being filled with air and a few of us almost got dragged across the playing field. It was very exciting as we all helped prepare the balloon.

Fortunately we managed to get into the air just in time before it was too windy to do so and to say the flight was thrilling would be an understatement. Never mind a gentle relaxing slow trip, we were moving at quite a clip and covered so much ground that our pilot told us we’d travelled about three times the usual distance. The view was spectacular and everything looked crystal clear, almost like watching a tv documentary in HD. The wind continued to pick up speed during our flight so we had to come down in quite a hurry and landed with helluva bump in someones field. All’s well that ends well and despite me suffering a little whiplash everyone climbed out of the basket in one piece. It was a fantastic experience and something I hope to do again someday when my daughter is old enough and tall enough to look out over the top of the basket!

[Tech info:] Mamiya C330f with 80mm lens. Film used was Kodak Portra 400 and Fuji Reala. Processed and scanned by me.

Assembling the hot air balloon

Some assembly required

Unpacking the hot air balloon

Unpacking the balloon

Filling the balloon with air

Filling the balloon with air

Filling the balloon with air

Inside the balloon

View through the inside of the hot air balloon to the top

View through the inside of the balloon to the top

Preparing for take-off

Preparing for take-off. I was the last one in.

Hot air burners

Hot air burners

Oxford University Press below us

Oxford University Press below us

The dreaming spires of Oxford

The dreaming spires of Oxford

Little village from the air

We passed over small villages and lots of fields

A road through a forest

I liked the shapes in the landscape below us. This is shortly before we landed.


7 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jan says:

    Beautiful documentary… and I am sure, a great experience! 🙂

    • Nasir Hamid says:

      Thanks, Jan. Words can’t accurately describe the feeling of travelling this way. Putting your faith in a balloon filled with hot air attached to a basket – it sounds crazy but it’s so nice to be able to look around, up and down without having any windows in the way. I think that’s why everything looked so crystal clear to me when you compare it to travelling by plane.

  2. Teresa says:

    oh my gosh! I got dizzy just looking at these. I’m afraid of heights and don’t know if I could ever do a hot air balloon ride. Thanks for the ride via your wonderful photos. Oxford is beautiful!

  3. Jo Dickson says:

    Particularly love the aerial shot with the bright red crane. Happy New Year Nasir.

  4. Amy says:

    This is lovely, what a fantastic way to capture the city! and Happy New Year 🙂 looking forward to more photographic magic in 2012 xXx

  5. Some great Pictures, i’m sure the pilot John would love to see this. What date did you fly?

    • Nasir Hamid says:

      Thanks, Mark. I flew on 23rd November. John will remember because it was incredibly windy that day. He did a fantastic job of getting us down in one piece 🙂

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