Womens World Hot Air Ballooning Championship

Womens World Hot Air Ballooning Championship

5th FAI Women's World Hot Air Ballooning Championship

The world’s best female ballooning pilots competed in September’s 5th FIA Women’s World Hot Air Ballooning Championship in Northam Western Australia.

The Championships were held from 2nd – 9th September.  Thirty women from 13 nations – from Brazil to New Zealand and Latvia – put on an incredible display of skill over Northam in the picturesque Avon Valley to determine which pilot is the best in the world. The 2023 Women’s World Champion was Nicola Scaife from Australia.

Northam has hosted the 2015, 2017 & 2023 National Ballooning Championships, and in 2023 became the first ballooning town in the Southern Hemisphere to host the Women’s World Championships.

These women’s worlds events serve not only as a competition but also as a celebration of the significant progress of women pilots in aeronautical sports. In the ballooning world, such events showcase the remarkable achievements and the soaring spirit of women in hot air ballooning, making women’s world hot air championship a must-see event for enthusiasts and supporters alike.

Northam The Home Of Hot Air Ballooning In Western Australia

It was an exhilarating week as I accompanied these remarkable women on a countryside adventure. A big shout-out to  Northam Ballooning Events, Windward Ballooning and Damien Hays for making it all possible.

It was a week of 4am alarms and chilly weather but volunteering at the Women’s Worlds was my most memorable and monumental week of 2023.  It was fascinating to see how the pilots and crews worked together seamlessly to navigate the changing weather conditions and compete to become the world’s best. Being up close with the pilots and crews was truly an unforgettable experience.

About The Balloon Championship

In ballooning competitions, skillful maneuvering and precision are key. Pilots navigate their balloons towards goals and targets within specified areas and time limits. Utilising wind variations at different altitudes, they fly towards their goal and approach the target with accuracy.

While balloons do not land on the target, pilots drop markers as close as possible. In case no marker is dropped, the onboard electronic logger can determine the proximity of the balloon to the target.

Occasionally, the target may be a virtual three-dimensional object in the air. Points are awarded for each task, and the balloon with the highest score emerges as the winner.

Tasks included Judge Declared Goal, Pilot Declared Goal, Fly In, Fly On Task, Hare and Hounds, Watership Down, Hesitation Waltz and 3D Task.

Northam Festival Of Ballooning

In celebration of the Women’s World Hot Air Balloon Championships, the Shire of Northam hosted the Northam Balloon Festival at Bernard Park on Saturday 2nd September 2023.

The Sound Shell was transformed into the Women Rock Stage, featuring some great WA female performers, including Katy Steele.

The Northam festival captures the essence of community and aviation splendor, pulling crowds and elite pilots from across the globe.  Delicious food from around the globe, an obstacle and wipeout challenge for kids to enjoy and exhaust themselves. And of course, balloons were front and centre throughout the evening.

Behind the Scenes at the Womens World Hot Air Ballooning Championship

Behind the scenes at the women’s world hot air ballooning championship, we uncover the meticulous preparations and coordination it takes to orchestrate such a grand event. Piloting a hot air balloon requires more than skill; it necessitates a synchronised effort between the pilot, ground crew, and organising committee.

The world hot air ballooning community comes together in a display of collaboration and technical skill. The women pilots, rely on their support teams for maintenance and logistics, ensuring every balloon is set up perfectly.

Volunteer involvement is key, with many dedicating their time to ensure the event’s success, focusing on details like safety measures and inspections.  Communication is continuous among event staff to manage the huge amount of logistics, keeping the ballooning championship afloat.

Witnessing the coordination behind the women’s world hot air balloon championship offers an inspiring insight into the world of world hot air ballooning, celebrating the spirit of women’s worlds in this unique event.

Our Photos From The Hot Air Ballooning Championship

Short Videos From The Womens World Hot Air Ballooning Championships In Northam

Planning A Hot Air Balloon Ride

Experience the peace and tranquility of hot air ballooning in the experienced hands of the team at Windward Balloon Adventures with a sunrise balloon flight over the picturesque Avon Valley.

Windward Ballooning offers early morning flights with breakfast from April to November. Visit their website for more information and bookings.


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Author - Jodie Lowen

Jodie Lowen is the owner of Wheatbelt Kids and a mother of two. She lives in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia and has worked in education for many years. Jodie is passionate about social media marketing and using online platforms to build community connections.

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