Winter Ballooning in Mongolia

A brave new experiment flying in minus 30 degrees! Allie will return to Mongolia in early December to test winter ballooning in the spectacular National Parks near Ulan Bator before returning to her post in Burma flying near the Coast of Bengal in Ngapali.

We are looking at adding Mongolia to our list of training locations in addition to UK and Portugal. If you are interested in joining a training camp, please email us at: phil@gonewiththewind.uk.com or for more info check 'training' on this website.

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Phil & Allie will both be working in Burma until March in Ngapali and Bagan. If you are interested in booking flights please either contact us directly or check www.orientalballooning.com

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Spring 2018: On The Beech

We are hoping to continue our adventure with the Beech and balloon heading south through the Americas and the Caribbean islands. See below and our blog www.onthebeech.blogspot.co.uk for more news on this and for progress please also check: http://vintageairrally.com/rallies/upcoming/ushuaia2usa!

On The Beech

Above photo by Jemma Phillips from Doxey Creative Photography
Timothy Allen's photo of the Beech crossing Greenland
Beech and balloon photo by Anne Herbert

Flying Bristol to Toronto by the backroads, July 2017...

Back in the 1990s the germ of an idea embedded itself in my mind. I had already set out in pursuit of the most countries it is possible to fly a balloon in, and I had by then logged over 50. Challenges of access in the remoter locations seemed an obvious barrier and I decided that the perfect combination would be a venerable (1930s-designed) Beech 18 twin-engined aeroplane with a lightweight balloon aboard. In 2014 I found a Beech for sale and, with the help of my mother's legacy, bought G-BKGM, built for the Royal Canadian Air Force as a navigation trainer in 1952.

click to read full article...

There is a documentary film in progress which should be released by the end of August - keep an eye out for updates!

We are hoping to continue our round-the-world adventure in spring 2018 starting from Toronto - where the Beech is kept now during the winter - heading South via New York and Kitty Hawk (the birthplace of aviation) down to South and Central America.

If you are interested in supporting this unique and challenging project either financially or in practical terms, please get in touch with us! (see contacts).

Follow our progress

Our blog: http://onthebeech.blogspot.co.uk

Position tracker:http://yb.tl/prepare2go1

Route plan:

Short history of the Beechcraft

Built at Beechcraft Inc. factory in Wichita, Kansas, USA in 1952 for the Royal Canadian Air Force our aeroplane served for nearly a decade as a trainer for up to six navigators using traditional star- and sun-shots and basic radio aids.

Sold onto the Canadian civilian market as a survey aircraft it became registered CF-SUQ at the start of a fascinating world-wide career undertaking photogrammetric and mapping tasks. Its final project was based at Dar-el-Beida in Algeria before a ferry flight on 4 August 1981 towards its home country. That flight was abruptly terminated at Prestwick, Scotland when the owners ran out of funds and, after a period of storage she took up a new career delivering newspapers throughout the British Isles.

Her final more restful period with Anthony Hutton and subsequently Andy Foan on the UK airshow circuit in various representative military colour schemes ended in February 2015 in mock-1930s style as a link aeroplane in a BBC TV series titled 'Prized Apart'.

Now owned privately by Phil & Allie Dunnington as G-BKGM and in the colours of their company, Bristol Airways Ltd.

Owners of balloon and aircraft: Phil and Allie Dunnington, Bristol UK
Company: Gone-with-the-Wind Ltd. / Bristol Airways Ltd.
Website: www.gonewiththewind.uk.com
Blog: onthebeech.blogspot.co.uk

The aircraft: Beech 18
Registration: G-BKGM
Name: 'Betty the Beech'
Built: 1952, Witchita, KA., USA
Hours flown: 11,000
Pilots: John Herbert, SA and others

The balloon: Cameron O-56 with lightweight folding basket
Registration: G-DKGM
Built: 2017, Bristol, UK
Hours flown: 4
Pilots: Allie and Phil Dunnington

Maintenance Organisation: RGV Aviation, Gloucestershire Airport, Staverton, UK
Insurer: Hayward Aviation Ltd, London

1st sector: Bristol-Wick-Egilstadir and Isafjordur/Iceland - Kulusuk, Narsarsuaq, Nuuk/Greenland - Qikiqtarjuaq, Pangnirtung, Iqualuit, Schefferville, Sorel, Toronto/Canada
2nd sector planned for March/April 2018: Edenvale - Post Mills/Vermont US - New York - South America - Central America - Cuba-Caribbean

Click here to see a Flying In Ireland article about the project.

Click here to see a Propliner article about G-BKGM, by Pete Bish.


Future Trip Options:

South Africa-Lesotho-Swaziland-Mozambique-Botswana

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.

click here for proposed itinerary



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.