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On Thursday April 7th, the skies above the Dover Strait were filled with colorful hot-air balloons all trying to make their way across the English Channel, in a bid to establish the World record for the most balloons to cross the Channel, simultaneously.
The endeavor, organized by retired police officer Ian Sharpe, launched off from Kent's Lydden Hill Race Circuit in the wee hours of the morning. While some sailed through within an hour, others came in at a rather leisurely pace, with the last one rolling into Calais, France at 11am, almost four hours after it launched.
The colorful contingent, which attracted balloonists from all over Europe, comprised of some unusual balloons, including a 61-ft dragon shaped balloon, which is believed to be the largest of its kind and UK's only hot-air balloon that has a glass-bottomed basket.
What was most impressive is that Ian, who had spent 14 months organizing this event, was able to mobilize the participants within 24 hours after he received the go-ahead from the weather experts.
Besides setting a record, the participants also raised money for three different charities, including one that supports young people with disabilities. The only glitch in this otherwise perfect day was the one balloon that could not take-off, due to technical difficulties. But, since nobody was injured, all agreed that the flight attempt was as perfect as it could be - One that deserved to be celebrated with lots of bubbly champagne!
Resources: Dailymail.co.uk, worldrecordsacademy.org