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On The Beech
G-BKGM, painted white as above, was on BBC1 in "Prized Apart" from 13th June 2015 for 6 weeks.
A Proposal For Operating Beech 18 G-BKGM
World-Embracing 3-Year Plan
Underlying this whole project is the idea of a like-minded group of aviators with a bit of time and (occasionally!) money to spare to undertake a long-distance adventure without too many time constraints.
Our potential team includes very experienced fixed-wing pilots and equally experienced balloonists. In the aeroplane we plan to carry a lightweight two-person balloon to allow flights by all the team (if they wish) in some of the more interesting and exotic stops. Whilst we have some targets, nothing is 'set in stone'.
We are in touch with the BBC and they will be doing some features for their "Inside-Out" programme.
Timescale is aimed at three years, starting in late spring/early summer 2015. It is not intended to be a non-stop event so everyone can get on with their 'real' lives. The route (if you can call it that!) is something like this:
After last year's busy summer season, which included a round-trip to the Metz balloon spectacular, the aeroplane is getting a thorough 'health-check' ready for the next challenge.
Our plans begin in mid-May with a departure westbound, possibly in conjunction with other aircraft, en route via Iceland & Canada to Florida. We plan to transit the US east coast taking in such iconic locations as the Statue of Liberty and the Wright Brothers' Kill Devil Hill.
Tracking towards the Caribbean we have our sights on Cuba (but don't hold your breath!), plus a few exotic spots in Turks & Caicos, Belize & Tobago. If the hurricane season allows we'll route back via Central America (a few Aztec ruins and beaches later) to the USA.
2017 - Spring
West coast North America to Alaska and, either via the Aleutians or the Kuriles (maybe the Bering Strait!?) to Japan, Philippines, Indonesia & Australia.
End game in our minds is New Zealand, where aeroplanes such as BKGM are both sought-after and preserved. There we would sell her if a) we get there and b) we can bear to part company!
The aircraft will be operating under the name of Bristol Airways Ltd which is wholly owned by Allie & Phil Dunnington.
We have four aeroplane pilots who are appropriately experienced aviators and have expressed an interest in joining On The Beech (as the project is named).
Future Trip Options:
After our initial recce by hopper in Oct 2010, we are planning to set up a 5-countries Balloon Expedition including flights in South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique and Botswana. The trip will be around 2 weeks long with self-drive vehicles and trailers to tow the balloons. Stay in lovely local lodges and fly over different beautiful and interesting African countryside.
‘Spirituality and tranquility in Japan’
Come with me to discover the autumnal beauty of Japan with its beautiful secluded temples and gardens. We shall start the tour in southern Kyushu, visit the still active volcano Mt. Aso, take a cruise through the Japan Inland Sea to Osaka, wander through the temples of Kyoto, travel by Shinkansen to Hakone to catch a view of the holy mountain Fujiyama. This tour will include special overnights at monasteries, a meditation lesson, some short walks and an introduction to Japanese tea ceremony and other traditions.
New trips to either the southern Parts of Burma including Moulmein, the Golden Rock and stunning Mergui archipelago or Northern Burma with elephant camps near the Himalayans or a cruise along the Chindwin river to Naga-land. One trip is planned to include horse trekking. Itineraries will be published here shortly.
Notes for Balloonists:All those tours can be linked up with ongoing balloon meets in those countries such as the Thailand Balloon Fiestas in Nov/Dec or the Saga Meet in Japan.
|Gone With The Wind - Phil & Allie Dunnington - Balloon & Airship Adventure & Consultancy|