back to article Blighty battles Oz for stratospheric supremacy

The friendly rivalry between Brit and Oz amateur High Altitude Ballooning (HAB) enthusiasts hit new heights over the weekend when the two nations went head-to-head in a stratospheric clash of high-altitude titans. Raspberry Pi In The Sky chap Dave Akerman met his Antipodean opponent Mark Jessop in a Cambridgeshire field to …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    The spirit of amateur boffinry is alive and well (and awesome)

    Although the term amateur doesn't really do justice to these professional efforts. And it's also very nice to see "friendly rivalry" where you can be rivals and very nice to each other _at_the_same_time_. Lots of other areas (sport, politics, etc., etc., etc.) please take note...

    1. Grikath

      Re: The spirit of amateur boffinry is alive and well (and awesome)

      I'll drink to that :)

  2. Parax


    Ah the proper stuff...and environmentally sound too..

    1. EddieD

      Re: Hydrogen..

      Having seen what happened when our chemistry teacher electrolysed water then tried to demonstrate the reverse reaction by mixing the two jars and adding a taper, I'm with Lester and the other SPB members on this...

      Survival is worth more than a few extra meters lift.

      1. daveake

        Re: Hydrogen..

        The balloon of course contains only hydrogen with just a tiny amount of air that was in the filler hose. Not a flammable mixture.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hydrogen..

        NEWS FLASH: Dave is not dead.

        This is because he's not stupid enough to mix his hydrogen gas with an oxidiser.

        You can tell he did not do this as he is using just a RED gas cylinder and not a GREEN cylinder...

        and before anyone else starts.. no he did not coat his Balloon in Magnesium based paint either.

        1. number10

          Re: Hydrogen..

          That chap Dave Akerman has balls ....

          They are pink with a camera inside - nice pictures Dave!

  3. geekclick
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    I really want to have a go at this...

    Would be awesome to have a picture hung on the wall in the living room of space taken by something i have built...

  4. squigbobble
    Thumb Up


    ...haven't had some of that for a while. It's extremely good ginger beer* but a twat to find.

    *not regular beer, although it does have a nanoscopic alcohol content 'cos it's a brewed drink.

    1. daveake

      Re: Bundaberg...

      Bought in Costco. Quite nice stuff actually, despite the lack of alcohol :)

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Bundaberg...

      Is that the same Bundaberg brewery that make rum? Good stuff that, especially for those tough paint removal jobs.

      1. Wombling_Free

        Re: Bundaberg...

        Like any alcohol, the cheap stuff usually is only good for paint removal. Try some of the more expensive varieties and you will be happier.

  5. ukaudiophile
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    Press miss out on Ashes coverage - Showing sport from London instead

    How come the British press missed out on this superb tournament, instead focusing on a few people aimlessly running around in London's East End. I would have preferred to have has this televised instead.

    How about a European tournament next year, with competitors bringing not only balloons and payloads, but also their own nations beer, that we can see three battles at the same venue, for altitude, payload functionality, and best beer.

    I'm sure we can get a contingent of BBC reporters in for that one!

    BTW, congratulations to all concerned, all these photos are of superb quality and something to be proud of.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    tri-nations next year?

    They both managed to beat the Swiss effort

  7. daveake

    Blatant plug - my blog post about the flights -

  8. Ed 13

    Which bit of coastline?

    Whilst the RAF bases are easily identifiable in the first photo, which bit of coast is it in the second one, from 114,000 ft?

    My best guess is it's the North Norfolk Coast, with the "sandy beach" bit being Well-next-the-sea, and then Sheringham and Cromer would be the darker patches to the right of that.

    What does anyone else think?

    1. Jan 0 Silver badge

      Re: Which bit of coastline?

      > Whilst the RAF bases are easily identifiable in the first photo..................What does anyone else think?

      Anyone not living in the 1930s thinks that they're occupied by the USAF, which finds it politically convenient to leave the RAF signs in place.

      Where's the 'Yanks Go Home" icon?

      Beer for the balloonists. (They brew nice beer near the landing site).

      Kudos for using Hydrogen

    2. daveake

      Re: Which bit of coastline?

      Yes, that's the north Norfolk coast and yes I think you're right about Wells etc. Plenty of other shots in my flickr set, e.g. this one which stretches up the coast past Hull.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    Excellent photos of the competition.

    What airfield is shown in millinut_01_big.jpg ?

  10. Terry Cloth

    What the devil is that cloud formation?

    The ``spectacular scenery'' photo ( has clouds of a type I've never seen (at least not from above). Was there a nuke test? Or did a tornado show up that day?

  11. Wombling_Free
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    Bundaberg - its not bad, you know.

    Bundaberg also make an alcoholic ginger beer - it's hard to find outside the home state of Queensland, presumably because it never makes it far from the brewery before someone drinks it. It is rather tasty, and quite nicely alcoholic (around 6-7%, so a little stronger than the average beer).

    The cloud formation looks like a descending cold cell - no idea what the proper name for it is though. The weather-wars nutjobs will all tell you it was caused by the HAARP site or chemsprays or some such twaddle.

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