Colin Prescot to be Speaker

The British Balloon Museum & Library are delighted that Colin Prescot has agreed to be the post-prandial speaker at the BBM&L Luncheon on October 28th at the Mercure Elcot Hotel near Newbury Berkshire.

Colin Prescot is Chairman of Flying Pictures. He founded the company as The Hot Air Balloon Company in 1976 at the age of 26.

It is now the world’s largest operator of commercially sponsored hot air balloons, and European leader of aerial film production facilities.

Colin is a world renowned balloonist, he devised and led a stunt team for the central robbery sequence of Green Ice starring Ryan O’Neal and Omar Sharif, and led the balloon stunt team for Superman 3 starring Christopher Reeves.

He made, and still holds the record for the longest flight in the British Isles (330 miles), and at the time set the record for the first hot air balloon flight to last through the whole night. His second paid hobby is water skiing, and he has personally conducted several water-skiing stunts for films and television commercials.

In 1986 he was hired as stuntman to hang on a line 300 feet below a helicopter flying in the Grand Canyon for Superman 3 (doubling for Pamela Stephenson). He never lived it down.

In March 1999 Colin and co-pilot Andy Elson, flew the Cable & Wireless balloon over 12,000 miles for 18 days to set an outright world endurance record for an aircraft in the earth’s atmosphere. Although they were part of the race to be the first to fly non-stop around the world they were thwarted by refusal to enter Chinese airspace. However they succeeded in doing what experts believed to be impossible by flying around China. To achieve this they had to survive a violent thunderstorm in Central Thailand.

His book ‘To the Edge of Space’, is an excellent read and charts so many of his successes, and the gripping tale of Andy Elson and himself attempting the round the world race.

Having worked on the new James Bond film, Skyfall, earlier this year, Flying Pictures was delighted to be offered the opportunity to supply their expertise to Danny Boyle and his team for the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. The stunt involving Mr Bond and Her Majesty was performed as a result of 6 months of planning and absolute secrecy.

Cable & WirelessThe challenge involved the complexities of permission, meticulous organisation and management, perfect camerawork and precise timing. The ultimate show depended entirely on everything being in place precisely on cue so that the live stunt could be intercut with the recorded footage, which Flying Pictures had shot for the BBC over several months.

Even though the recorded footage included mythically flying the monarch and spy by helicopter through Tower Bridge (it had to be closed for almost an hour), the media never caught on to what would eventually result.

London Olympics Opening CeremonyFlying Pictures supplied live aerial coverage of the Ceremony and all the recorded aerial footage of the Isles of Wonder sequence along the Thames, the four choirs and of course the flight of Mr Bond and Her Majesty as they travelled from Buckingham Palace to overhead the stadium.

Flying Pictures had a long involvement with the Harry Potter production team, having completed the aerial filming for each of the 8 films. This year, Flying Pictures was responsible for the aerial filming for both “Warhorse” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows II” which between them have nominations for a total of 9 Oscars® and 9 BAFTAs (!) and we wish them every success.

We are extremely excited that he and his wife Susie will be with us to be the post-prandial speaker for the Annual BBM&L Luncheon on October 28th at the Elcot. We just wonder how they will arrive on the day?