Moments before the maiden flight
Ballooning in the Alps
A new balloon will soon be floating on the Nottinghamshire skyline. Video journalist Brady Haran was in Switzerland for its maiden flight.
It's picture perfect in Chateau d'Oex for the village's 30th annual balloon festival.
A strange assortment of balloons are floating through the valley, from giant turtles to bright red horses.
The balloon soars over Chateau d'Oex
But the reason I'm here is for the unveiling of a new balloon.
The University of Nottingham balloon, piloted by Janet Folkes, is about to fly for the first time.
"I'm a bit apprehensive," Janet says. "I don't think I've ever piloted a brand new balloon before."
That's not to say Janet is inexperienced - in fact, she holds multiple world records and has competed in events around the world.
The university has bought her the balloon for a planned trip over the Great Wall of China.
But as it inflates at Chateau d'Oex, it's easy to see the giant blue envelope will be a great publicity vehicle.
And Janet - herself a scientist - says she also has plans to use the balloon for research purposes.
But at Chateau d'Oex, the maiden flight is all about making sure everything works.
The balloon lifts off from the field and gracefully drifts across the village.
Janet pilots it past the village's landmark church, swooping past the spire for a great photo opportunity.
Then she heads down the valley for a text book landing in a snow-covered field.
Click on the links on this page to see more pictures and videos from the flight.
And keep an eye on the Nottinghamshire skies for flights in the months and years to come.
last updated: 25/01/2008 at 16:36
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