On 23 February 2012, the Burt & Davies hot air balloon was launched! In conjunction with our good friends at Global Ballooning, we hit the heights and took to Melbourne’s skies for a spectacular morning flight over the Melbourne CBD.
After arriving a little bleary eyed at the Hilton on the Park at 5.15am, it didn’t take long for the excitement to build in anticipation of the unveiling of our new venture. We were about to go aloft on the Burt & Davies inaugural flight along with our client and friend, Kiff Saunders (the owner of Global Ballooning), and several other friends. We could tell, even early on, that we were going to be treated to one of those amazing Melbourne mornings. And as we waited to leave the Hilton to go to the launch site, we could see the large bag sitting on the back of the trailer which contained our balloon. Our excitement was mounting. We had only ever seen a photo of it when it was inflated for testing at Mount Kuring-Gai, NSW. Now, we were about to see it for real.
At 5.30am we took to the vehicles and commenced the drive to the launch site. The north westerly breeze was fairly light (about 8 kph) and hence a site close to the CBD itself was chosen. We ended up at Royal Park, just behind the Royal Children’s Hospital. We thought of the young kids in hospital who might be looking outside and how excited they would be to see the huge hot air balloons so close by. We then commenced unpacking the envelope and setting it up ready for inflation.
What a sight! Once the bag was opened and we caught glimpses of the white, blue and black shades, we had a sense that this was going to be something very special. The envelope was laid out on the ground and we started to realise the enormity of it. Seeing the odd letter or part of a pattern took us back to the design and we couldn’t wait to see the whole thing. The fans were switched on and our envelope started to inflate. As this was happening, Kiff invited us to venture inside the envelope so that we could look from the inside out. It was like being in a circus tent – like standing in the main ring of the big top. And with that came the childlike joy and wonder of what was to come next. The burners were switched on and a yellowish-orange glow spread over the fabric. It was a sight to behold. We knew that we weren’t far off seeing our balloon fully inflated. We headed back out and watched as our balloon took shape and started to rise in readiness for its first flight.
Before we knew it, we were looking down a line of 4 amazingly coloured balloons, with ours at the head of the line. Intermittently, the flames of the burners turned the balloons into softly glowing light bulbs, highlighting the logos. And with every burst of flame the baskets lifted ever so slightly off the ground, ready for take-off. Finally, we could see our balloon fully inflated and it was everything we hoped for.
Everything happened very quickly after that. Before we knew it, we were climbing over the sides of the basket ready to release the ropes and take to the skies. A couple of quick photos to mark the occasion and then with a long burst of the burners, we were off – up, up and away! We drifted along Flemington Road before ascending to approximately 2,500 feet to float directly over the Melbourne CBD. We then continued our journey passing over the Yarra and the Botanical Gardens, with a bird’s eye view of Government House, the Shrine of Remembrance, the MCG and Tennis Centre. We then drifted towards South Yarra and finished our flight with a soft landing in Fawkner Park, opposite the Alfred Hospital.
For the uninitiated, a flight in a hot air balloon is an experience that words can’t adequately describe. It is an almost surreal experience to be floating over the Melbourne CBD at peak hour, with everything around you completely silent, except for the occasional “whoosh” of the burners. You look down and see all the busy ants going about their business, whilst you feel far removed from the frantic pace of everyday life. You experience the rising of the sun and the gentle flooding of light that paints colour into the landscape below. Warmed by the burners and the morning sun you look at those surrounding you in the basket and see their faces bathed in an orange hue, replete with broad smiles and wide eyes. The combination of colours, the bright whites, yellows, reds in the balloon envelopes, the pale blue the morning sky, the multitude of greens which are part of the many parks and gardens below, are a welcome assault on the senses. The serenity and wonder of the whole experience is magical.
Before we met Kiff Saunders, we had often been captivated by the sight of Global Ballooning’s fleet of hot air balloons over Melbourne or the Yarra Valley. Like a baby’s smile, hot air balloons always make you feel good. Acting for Kiff in his TAC claim introduced us to the world of hot air ballooning. In August last year, when we were invited by Kiff to fly over Melbourne for the first time, floating over the Eastern freeway at peak hour made us think of the marketing value a branded balloon could offer – a bit like a floating billboard! We are very excited to now be utilising this unique marketing strategy – a first for any Australian law firm.
But, that’s not all – a very exciting extension of this venture is currently in development. When the decision was made by Burt & Davies to venture into the world of hot air ballooning, it was done with a specific goal in mind. It is a goal which we share in common with Kiff and his company, Global Ballooning. It is something that will put smiles onto faces and we are hoping to see this goal achieved over the next few months. It will be another Australian first. All that can be said at this stage is – “watch this space” and keep looking to the skies!
Our thanks to Richard I’Anson whose amazing photography skills captured the morning for us.
For more information on how Burt & Davies can help you, contact either Peter Burt or Clara Davies, specialist Car Accident Lawyers & Car Accident Compensation Lawyers, Level 11, 451 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne. They are both Accredited Personal Injury Lawyers, Melboourne who practice exclusively in Transport Accident Compensation & TAC claims.
Telephone (03) 9605 3111 or freecall 1800 109 940
© Burt & Davies 2014