Clark hosts the 2018 hot air balloon festival

A Weekend of Everything That Flies

CLARK FREEPORT ZONE – The 2018 Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival kicked off to a good start on the early morning of February 8, 2018 when 26 pilots on 11 balloons flew in the air.

A couple of familiar figures like Star Wars Yoda and Sonic Hedgehog were among the special shaped balloons flown.

About 3,000 spectators were on hand to watch the balloons on the first day. It is expected to rise in the coming weekends. The festival was held at the Omni Aviation Complex in Clark Freeport Zone.

A Real Diversity of Culture

“The festival is really about an exchange of cultures,”

said Captain Jose Mari Roa.

The event director Captain Jose Mari Roa said, “pilots from various countries have come to delight the audience especially at night.” Different balloonists from around the world joined the festival for the chance to experience the hospitality of the Filipinos.

At the Mercy of the Wind

“The feel of the wind around you and never know where you are going is what ballooning is all about.”

A group from the United Kingdom said this is the first time they participated in the Philippines and they have been ballooning for twenty years. They liked the friendliness of the Filipino people as well their hospitality.

The other balloonists said it’s the idea of being free and feeling the wind all around them is why they go ballooning. They said, “the balloons are at the mercy of the winds and go wherever it goes.” But they all safely landed at a nearby dry river bed.

Dancing Ladies on Top of a Plane

Aside from the balloons, there was a new attraction featuring the AeroSuperBatics Wingwalkers. A couple of female aeronauts performing acrobatic moves on top of a bi-plane. The AeroSuperBatics Wingwalkers are the world’s only aerobatic formation wingwalking team.

Wingwalkers in heart-stopping aerobatic stunts.Wingwalkers in their heart-stopping aerobatic stunts.

It is based in the UK and have been specialists in display flying for over 30 years and operate one of the best known and loved civilian air display acts in Europe.

The female performers are Katie Hobbs aka “Shockwave” and Emily Guilding aka “Vortex” as the windwalkers and the pilots are Martyn Carrington and David Barrel.

The planes in use are the ‘Super Stearmans’ of the Breitling Wingwalking team are driven by 450 hp radials. The balloons will fly every morning for the four-day event which is until February 11th.

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About Ariel Arcebido

Ariel is a retired US Navy veteran. Was a Radio station manager at DWAU104.1FM at the Angeles University Foundation for 11 years. Wrote for the newsletter of the University called the AUFGAZETTE.