Canowindra host to an Australian first for hot air balloons

Kavanagh Balloons team and some of ballooning's best and brightest before the initial test flight. Photo by Federation Fotos.
Kavanagh Balloons team and some of ballooning's best and brightest before the initial test flight. Photo by Federation Fotos.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s the biggest hot air balloon designed and manufactured in Australia.

Canowindra was this week host to the CASA certification test flight of Kavanagh Balloons’ latest creation the G-525.

Kavanagh Balloons’, Sean Kavanagh, said they were very pleased with the way the flights had gone.

“The tests were very successful, we passed everything we needed to and now we just need to check off boxes and cross the T’s and dot the I’s on the paperwork,” he said.

Test flight underway.

Test flight underway.

“(Comprising) 2800 linear metres of fabric about 4200 cubic metres, the balloon is 46 metres high and has a diameter of 43 metres.

“The basket is 5.6 metres long. We had 24 people on board and around 900 kilograms of crushed gravel in the sandbags.  

“At four and a half tonne, for a big aircraft it is a pleasure to fly. Often when you make a big change in the size, there can possibly be a big change in performance but it was a relief to see it fly the way it was designed to, we had a number of pilots on board during the flight and they were all smiling,” he said.

Mr Kavanagh said the balloon was designed in response to the needs of their clients, with G-525 balloons going to launch partners Hot Air Balloon Cairns and Balloon Aloft Australia.

“Being the biggest manufactured balloon in Australia, we have a close working relationship with our partners,” he said.

“We are always doing research into what they are going to need in the future, it’s how we've always operated.

Mr Kavanagh thanked Canowindra for hosting the test flights.

“Canowindra is fantastic for ballooning, it has predictable weather, there are lots of launch and landing sites, CASA is nice and relaxed because we are away from built up areas and the farmers and townspeople love seeing the balloons,” he said.