Hot air balloon and pilot drop in for a visit at school

Hot air balloon visit to Willington Lower School.
Hot air balloon visit to Willington Lower School.

Schoolchildren started the new term on a high with a demonstration in hot air ballooning from Virgin Balloon Flights pilot Kerry-Coate-Bond.

Kerry visited Bedford’s Willington Lower School on Monday afternoon (September 7) in-between his hot air balloon rides launching from Biggleswade and Berkhamsted.

Things got heated during the visit.

Things got heated during the visit.

Primary school children were taught how the burners in a hot air balloon work, how the basket is constructed and how the fabric envelope is inflated to become an exciting method of air travel.

The pupils aged from five to nine years-old-old were given the opportunity to see what it’s like to be inside a real hot air balloon basket.

Headteacher Heidi Smith also had a go at operating the burners, creating spectacular sites in the village hall field close to where the school is situated.

Ms Smith said: “Our topic this term is called ‘Up, Up and Away’ - we will be studying the history of flight and linking the many ways that man has flown with all the curriculum areas.

Youngsters had a chance to get hands on.

Youngsters had a chance to get hands on.

“We always aim for a stunning start to every term and Virgin Balloon Flights provided this. The children were surprised, amazed and inspired by what they saw.

“Kerry and crew member Olly were great with the children, they answered all kinds of questions and explained everything in a child friendly way. Their enthusiasm to get all the children into the basket was excellent and made it an unforgettable experience.

“Watching the burners was breath-taking and the differences between each burner was clear from the colours and noises.

The children were also given goody bags to take home.

Pilot Kerry said: “The children were really well behaved, and asked some great questions. I hope we have inspired some of them to think about learning to fly or maybe working in the ballooning industry when they’re older.”