Up, up and away: flying fanatic Gary crosses English Channel at International Balloon Fiesta

BALLOON pilot Gary Davies was in the first balloon to cross the English Channel during a mass crossing at this year’s Bristol International Balloon Fiesta.

Mr Davies took the control of the ‘Zenith’ balloon during the four-day event watched by an estimated 300,000 people.

The builder from Kingsline Close, Thorney got his balloon pilot’s licence 12 years ago and has kept up the activity as a hobby ever since.

He says flying above the skies of Fenland is the perfect way to relax and unwind from a demanding job managing big building projects in Peterborough.

“It’s my stress relief to be able to fly above looking down on the world and in control of your own aircraft with panoramic views of Wisbech,” he said.

Mr Davies, who is also a paraglider, says most people only dream of flying a hot air balloon - yet he has two stored in his garage and one in a trailer, meaning that he is able to fly up there every weekend - weather permitting, of course.

“Balloon flying is very controlled and is the safest form of flying,” he added. “It is very rare to have an accident.”

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Mr Davies is now about to get a commercial balloon flying licence to add another string to his bow.