12th edition of Lorraine Mondial Air Ballons

From July 22nd to July 31st, 2011 (300,000 visitors)

1,032 pilots – 15 flights out of 19 – Chambley Air Base (Meurthe-&-Moselle)

Lorraine Mondial Air Ballons®, largest gathering of balloons in the world, ended on Sunday, 31st with a fifteenth flight. The aerodrome (Meurthe-et-Moselle – Lorraine) was the scene, from Friday 22nd to Sunday 31st, of 4725 flights, a maximum of 468 and a minimum of 190 hot air balloons present.

The world record of balloons aligned ready to take off was beaten with 343 balloons (the previous was 329). 1032 pilots from forty-eight countries, 2672 crew members, 174 businesses and communities, 195 volunteers and nearly 400 journalists participated to this 12th edition. The new configuration of the area on more than 300 hectares (doubled compared to 2009), the gas station, unique in the world, hospitality, campsite, and the breakfasts were welcomed by the aerostatic community as important advances.

If the rainy weather and the temperature (closer to October’s) have upset the enthusiasm, about 300,000 people were recorded with 38,000 guests (a 15% increase) and more than 29,000 people entered the museum with a peak on the last Sunday of more than 7600 visitors. There are over 3,000 people who were able to get off the ground (public and guests). Several hundred first flights in ultralight, plane, helicopter and glider were also made.

Among the innovations, a major effort had been made regarding the signage, merry go rounds, conferences, workshops and entertainment. Among the most requested, on mini hot air balloons and water rockets workshops were acclaimed.
Concerning security, only one incident occurred with the landing of a British balloon in a dead tree. The pilot and two passengers escaped thanks to the intervention of SDIS of Meurthe-et-Moselle. More than two thousand movements were recorded (other aircrafts) by the control tower in ten days.

For Philippe Buron Pilâtre, founder and managing director of Lorraine Mondial Air Ballons® “this year was certainly the hardest to prepare and implement. The new geographical layout of the event on the airfield, the transfer to the new offices, can be likened to the twelve labors of Hercules. It’s almost a miracle”.

Many guests of honor were keen to join the event with Bertrand Piccard (First man who achieved a world turn in rozière), astronaut Jean-François Clervoy, air specialist Gérard Feldzer. Defense Minister Gérard Longuet has even visited the site. Skylander, which will be manufactured here by Geci Aviation, has been honored throughout the meeting in the museum of ballooning.

Chambley Planet’Air was transformed in less than twenty four months (since the last edition of LMAB) by the Regional Council of Lorraine, the owner. This latter had built six new hangars, completely renovated the Control Tower, the historic chapel of this former NATO base, created two new runways, parking lots and destroyed more than 70,000 m2 of buildings abandoned since the departure of the Americans in 1967. An extraordinary conversion has been welcomed by all visitors and aviation experts. The future of the event is still conditioned for 2013 to the wishes of the designer to find lasting solutions to sustain Lorraine Mondial Air Ballons® at Chambley Planet’Air.

Reference Pilâtre de Rozier Organisation