The Swiss pilot Jacques-Antoine Besnard has won his 4th world title, at the end of the world championship of hot air airships, to Tavaux in the Jura.


Jacques-Antoine Besnard dominated in nine races on 10 at the 9th world championship Airport Dole Jura. He won 7.

The Lithuanian Rimas Kostiuskevicius finished 2nd ahead of Italy's Pietro Contegiacomo. Eleven teams participated in this event taking place from July 14 to 18, 2010.

During five days, competitors from Russia, Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, Sweden and Lithuania were pitted against  in eight trial sprints (races, slaloms) and precision (target, time stated, navigation ).

12 nations and 21 flying crews
from around the world are lining up for the world title.

"Weather is primordial, if it rains or if there is a wind of over 15 / h, the fly is canceled as of Wednesday when gusts blowing at 90km / h.


To minimize turbulence, flights take place very early, 5 am to 8 am 30 and very late, 18 am to 22 pm, when the weather is more stable, "said meteorologist Eric Plantade.

Even under optimal flight, the followers of those big balloons that look like whales have not been immune to a mishap. The gondola of the German team has struck a mound and the balloon has pitched its nose before arrival, Thursday morning, and the day before, the only French team lacked gas and was making a forced landing.

Team "le Matin" avec Jacques-Antoine Besnard

Fortunately, the flights are often at low altitude for reasons of security and wind. An engine failure removed pressurization and dirigible balloon become like a soft and uncontrollable hot-air-balloon.


40 m long with a diameter of 20 m, with a volume of 3000 m³, they are different than hot-air-balloon. They distinguished by the shape of balloons cigar with a tail. Unlike gas balloons, here is the warm air can lift the whole envelope and the gondola with one to two seats. Besides navigational tools, the propane tanks, a 50 horsepower Rotax engine rotates in a propeller used for propulsion and pressurization of the casing and above the tailplane used to turn the using ropes.

The pilot must ensure the altitude with the burners and the direction by acting on the two strings that must stir rapidly. Anticipate a lot about the behavior of the monster that has an inertia proportional to its size. There are also breaths of air that quickly outweigh the balloon in sideslip. This type of flight requires a great habit of driving and attention to every moment.


"A dirigible balloon is like a big hot-air-balloon, but it is very technical, and pilot with a rudder. What is inspiring is to fly against the wind, find sources of air and steer the balloon as accurately as possible, "Jacques-Antoine Besnard, Swiss pilot, triple world champion. To fly, you must have registered and a certificate of airworthiness.


The tests
The tests were conducted in the morning around Tavaux going to Dole, with some circuits from 15 to 20 km. The judges attributed points for speed, navigation and precision setting down of markers on targets. A test was to estimate travel times and make it than fair.

The evening events were open to the public. In this fact, everything went on the field with a more playful, but not easier as a twisty circuit between poles, put a wheel on a table or grab a bottle of wine from the Jura. (right photo)

"The public is aware of the difficulties with the test target when he sees the pilot who is struggling to try to manipulate the balloon very accurately,"

"Flying a dirigible balloon requires good physical condition and great power coordination, concentration and strategy. " Pit Thibo, flight director of the competition and organizer of the first world championships of airships.

At the same time, 19 hot-air-balloons took off just before the competition. The night they boarded the ill children.

Figures :
1,600 m of fences to contain the curious
15 people for the steering committee with the help of 45 volunteers
130,000 €  budget with 20,000 €  propane
28 children with serious illnesses can fly, just for a moment, in the gondola, just for them.


Organized by the communauté d'agglomération du Grand Dole and the company Cameron Balloons France, the event is already a success. In fact, nearly 30,000 people attended this event, "we only waited half," admitted Cuenot Oliver, head of Cameron Balloons France.


He said: "It's a success for everyone, organizers, partners, ills children who were able to fly, pilots ... The public was interested in the sport spectacular and little known. . The public, invited each night from 6:00 p.m. on the site has enjoyed many activities. Some have flown in balloons or try kite. All children who brought their teddy bears on the site were able to participate in the first flight by parachute (bears !) thanks to Ventcourtois who has also done some releases of candy kite!

Crédit photos : Bruno Tondellier - Ventcourtois