It was in 1984 that I sat eating breakfast with fellow commercial pilots after yet another woefully short flight out of the showground and down into the car park that I challenged them to see who could fly the furthest in one flight after the end of the season when the thermals died down a bit.

So the Long Jump was born and the month of October was ideal for such flights with 11 hours of daylight and the chance of some decent winds.

Anthony Smith was elected judge and he ensured it developed into the popular challenge it has become.

Mike Forster achieved 303 miles in 2000 although it is not the longest hot air flight in UK. Julian Nott and Colin Prescot once flew from Edinburgh to Colchester during the night in a balloon using paraffin as fuel.

All Long Jump flights are memorable but some more so, like 1994 when Andy Elson and Stephen Budd flew 274 miles from Glasgow to Ross on Wye - muuch of the flight being over the sea.

Most pilots are happy to just fly further than they have ever flown before. Others are more ambitious and really spend time planning a flight which avoids controlled airspace but still gives them a good long flight.

Rules and entry details HERE.

Good luck and happy landings.


Congratulations to David Bareford for his 260 mile flight from Wales to Norfolk in 8 hours 20 minutes cleverly avoiding airspace and danger zones - 5 knot landing and trusty crew waiting at the gate. Simples ! (His report) Deborah Day and Mike Scholes spent their day at the seaside flying 176 miles along the coast from Eastbourne to Devon ! Ambitious, well organised and well flown! Read their report. Adam Griffiths and Robert Lovell flew 135 miles from Sackville to Wales and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Adam generously spent a few days getting to know the nurses in Merthyr Tydfyll hospital and telling them all about ballooning. He now has quite a fan club ! ( Their report.) Read all the reports HERE. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- . .