The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta will return on Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 August and has today announced that the 2019 event will celebrate Concorde’s 50th anniversary.
The Fiesta has joined forces with Aerospace Bristol to honour one of the city’s most famed aviation creations and celebrate Bristol icons across the four days of the free event this summer.
Now in its 41st year, the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is Europe’s largest annual hot air balloon festival, attracting over half a million visitors over the weekend.
To announce the partnership today, Captain Tim Orchard, a former Concorde pilot and balloonist will be tethering his unusual hot air balloon at Aerospace Bristol. The bespoke hot air balloon is uniquely fitted with the original seats of the 1980s Concorde Tim used to pilot.
The unique balloon will also be a feature at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta this August. Further details on how the partnership will be visible at the event through activities and special events will be announced in due course.
Chris Allcock, chair of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta organising committee, commented: “Last year we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Fiesta and we are so pleased to be able to commemorate another one of Bristol’s aviation greats this year.
“Despite the complete juxtaposition of gently flying balloons and supersonic Concorde, both are Bristol aviation icons and are as synonymous with the city as Brunel and the Clifton Suspension Bridge and we look forward to celebrating Concorde’s 50th anniversary this summer with visitors.”
Lloyd Burnell, Executive Director, Aerospace Bristol added: “The fiftieth anniversary of Concorde’s first flight is a hugely significant milestone for a globally-recognised and truly iconic aircraft. It’s a particularly special anniversary for the Bristol region, as so many local people worked on Concorde and every British Concorde made its maiden flight from Filton Airfield. Aerospace Bristol is home to the last Concorde ever to fly and the museum will be celebrating Concorde50 with special events throughout 2019. We’re delighted to announce this partnership with Bristol International Balloon Fiesta and look forward to an event that will surely be a highlight of the year’s Concorde50 celebrations.”
Despite their differences, the relationship between Bristol’s aerospace industry and hot air ballooning dates back decades. Don Cameron, founder of the Fiesta and Europe’s largest hot air balloon manufacturers, Cameron Balloons, first moved to Bristol to take up a position with the Bristol Aeroplane Company in the early 1960s. His enthusiasm for aeronautics and flying led him to build the first modern hot air balloon in Western Europe, the Bristol Belle, with friends from the Bristol Gliding Club in 1967, just two years before Concorde would take its first flight and ten years before the very first Fiesta.
For more information about Concorde’s 50th anniversary, visit the Concorde 50th Anniversary Appeal