Going to “The Lake”

The Australian Ballooning Federation are working with the Mildura International Balloon Fiesta to host “The Lake” event at Lake Cullulleraine near Mildura in the “Mallee” region of north-west Victoria. If you’re wondering just where that might be, check out the Google Maps reference plus there’s a collection of photos of the Lake area and general shots of the Mallee landscape to give you an idea of where it’s held.

This week long event brings balloonatics together from all over Australia to have some fun flying over the great, open countryside around the area. While the primary focus has been on developing student pilots with plenty of instructional flights, there’s also a number of novice pilots building their experience and some old hands giving the benefit of their many hours.

It starts on Friday 29th but most people will arrive on Saturday 30th with the first official briefing occurring early on the Sunday morning. The general routine is two flights a day (morning & late afternoon/evening) plus a few seminar sessions and time for students to study & sit their exams during the middle of the day. Most evenings are a time to relax & unwind, chatting with others about flying (or, for many, passing out & getting as much sleep as possible for the next early morning start :)

This will be the seventh Lake event to be held and my second (I was at the previous one in 2010). Last time I took a tent & made use of a powered site to run a heater in the early morning. The heater was essential to warm up a bit & face the morning as overnight temperatures were dropping to -2 degrees. Brrrr. Always ‘fun’ getting out of a tent that’s covered in frost :)

This time I’m going to brave the bunk house which is warmer but a little less private (which is saying something as tents aren’t always *that* private :)

Currently the plan is for me to drive a 4WD up from Melbourne bringing one of the balloons we’ll be flying then bring it all back at the end on Sunday the 8th of July. I’m looking forward to getting current again and seeing if I can nail a few good flights. It’s been over a year since I last flew and I’m eager to back into it :)

Of course, the weather is already shaping up to be rather windy on the first Saturday & Sunday but should be calming down a bit after that. Guess we’ll see.

Watch this space :)

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