Mike and Debbie Scholes land early on Atlantic flight.
British Transatlantic Balloon couple, Mike and Deborah Scholes, have now safely retrieved their balloon, G-Z0Z0 from its remote landing site in central south Newfoundland and it is its way back to the UK.
A combination of issues during the flight, sadly led to a forced early landing and the premature ending of the attempt for Deborah, to become the first lady balloonist to captain a balloon across the Atlantic and for Mike to be the first registered blind crew.
Deborah said: “With any big challenge like this there’s always a level of risk involved and that’s why it’s essential to put safety first and make sure that everything is working just as it should before you take that final step over the ocean. We are now carefully gathering all the information together concerning the technical issues that we encountered, not only for the benefit and safety of any further Atlantic crossing attempts we might make but also for the wider ballooning community.”
This is not quite how they had planned to return home, but they are safely back home in UK and probably already planning their next adventure.
Visit their website for more information, pictures and interviews.
The Most Exciting Flight to take place Across the Atlantic since 2007
Deborah Scholes and her registered blind husband Mike plan to take on the exciting and daring challenge of flying their specially built balloon non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean. After taking off from Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada, they will fly over land for 200 miles before at least 2,527 miles over water.
The Challenge is being followed by Guinness World Records and if successful, Deborah will be the First Lady to captain a balloon across the Atlantic and Mike the first registered blind person to crew. The flight will also help to promote Blind Veterans UK, a charity that has helped Mike since his sight loss.
Deborah is probably the only British lady to hold a Rozier balloon pilot’s license as well as licenses for gas and hot air balloons. She enjoys challenging flights and has flown balloons across the English and Bristol Channels, over the Alps and up to an altitude of 23,180ft, an unofficial women’s British record.
Mike, before losing 85% of his sight in 2007, was a commercial balloon pilot and gained five British balloon duration records which still stand.
The balloon is the first in its class, R77GB. It can be flown as a gas balloon or for the Atlantic crossing, with the cone fitted, as a Rozier balloon. A Rozier balloon gains its lift from a helium cell in its top. Altitude is controlled by a small propane-fired burner that warms the air in the cone below the gas cell. A satellite tracker will enable everyone to watch the balloon’s progress .
Deborah and Mike will be supported by a top team of specialists, all renowned for their experience with international and global balloon flights.
Good Luck to both of them.
Blind Veterans UK was founded in London in 1915 by publisher and newspaper owner Sir Arthur Pearson. Sir Arthur, who was blind himself, set up the charity to help the substantial numbers of veterans losing their sight during the First World War. Drawing on his own experience of sight loss, Sir Arthur’s aim was to help veterans “learn to be blind” by providing rehabilitation, training, and lifelong support.
Every day, Blind Veterans UK helps thousands of vision-impaired veterans who served our country – but they couldn’t do the vital work without you. There are many thousands of ex-Service men and women across the UK who still need our support. You can help them by donating today.
If you are able to donate, please visit the website www.blindveterans.org.uk. If donating via the website, please check the box labelled “I would like to pay in money raised from a collection or fundraiser” and add our hashtag – #BalloonThePond to the event name. This allows us to see how much Debbie & Mike have raised. Alternatively, you can donate via our Just Giving page. Please see the link below for full details.