Lifestyle

Ipswich hot air balloon pilot shares high adventure

MAGIC: The view from a hot air balloon over Mont Blanc.
MAGIC: The view from a hot air balloon over Mont Blanc. Contributed

IT'S a border crossing unlike any other - soaring between France and Italy over Mont Blanc mountain at a height where oxygen masks become necessary.

Ipswich hot air balloon pilot Graeme Day says he is the only Australian pilot to have tackled the crossing via cane basket.

He has found it hard to top the feat since his time as a young pilot in France during the early '90s, and has shared the story with Queensland Times readers via the QT Facebook page.

The flight meant soaring over the snow-capped French Alps at altitudes of up to 7400 metres.

Plenty of people tackle Mont Blanc and its 4810-metre-high peak by climbing.

It's a dangerous expedition that has resulted in deaths, including five French climbers who were discovered dead this week.

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Graeme's flight over Mont Blanc was easier, but no less astonishing, than seeing Europe's highest peak from the ground.

"I don't think there is a comparison," he said.

"It's very rare. It's a beautiful experience."

Graeme is now the man behind Floating Images, a hot air balloon business based in Ipswich since 2001.

The heights his Ipswich flights reach don't go up quite as far as Mont Blanc, instead surveying the city from up to 3000 metres in the air.

He reckons he has the best office views in the city and shares his love of Ipswich and its heritage with the tourists who come for the balloon rides.

"I suppose I look at Ipswich in a different way," he said.

"Ipswich is a beautiful region to fly, it really is."

Have you got a story to tell, like Graeme?

Head to facebook.com/queenslandtimes to share it with us.

Topics:  floating images, hot air ballooning



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