October 15, 2016

written by
Grant McHerron

Australia’s top hot air balloonists taking on the World

This year we have a strong team who will represent Australia at the 22nd FAI World Hot Air Balloon Championships, to be held in Saga Japan between 30 October and 7 November 2016. This is Australia’s best chance to win the championship since we won back in 1983.

The Australian balloon team will be represented by 3 pilots; Matthew Scaife, Nicola Scaife and Peter Wright. They will be travelling with our biggest and best team yet. All up there will be 16 team members, complete with independent wind-reading team, a photographer, a social media/tech support guru, a team manager and crew members for each balloon.

Australia will have the only husband and wife competing in the same championships. Nicola Scaife is the two time Women’s World Hot Air Balloon champion and Matthew Scaife is a two-time Australian Hot Air Balloon champion.

The team will be pushing the boundaries of what can be done with existing technology. In the hands of our pilots and ground crew will be a Microsoft Surface Pro with OziTarget navigational software. Will this be Hot Air Ballooning’s equivalent of the winged keel on Australia II that won us an America’s cup in 1983?

Our team preparation this year has included flying in the 2016 Japanese Grand Prix, which involves 5 competition ballooning events over the year.

Our team have previous experience competing in Saga Matt (3 times), Nicola (2 times), Peter (1 time) and Sean Kavanagh, Team Manager (9 times), our ground crew also has many years of experience. Saga is Australia’s second home when it comes to competition ballooning.

Meet The Team Opportunity:

The Australian Balloon Team will be at the annual Hunter Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival on 22 and 23 October 2016 which will see upward of twenty hot air balloons from all around the country launch at sunrise. This is a great opportunity for interviews, pictures and video.

Further information:

More about hot air balloon competition:

A hot air balloon competition requires competitors to score points by undertaking a number of set tasks, which are predetermined by an Event Director before a flight. This generally involves the pilot throwing a ‘marker’, a weighted streamer, at a target, usually a cross or road intersection with set coordinates. To get there the pilot needs to manoeuvre the balloon by using wind currents at various altitudes. Flying takes place in the morning and evening and the eventual winner is the pilot who has accumulated the most number of points over the week of flying.

For media enquiries contact:
Team Media Liaison
Andrew Robertson
Mobile: 0413 740 286
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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