General Aviation

Published on January 18th, 2016 | by FII Reader

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Puddles the Penguin Hot Air Balloon Wins Gold for Meath pilot

Puddles & Splash are special shape Hot Air Balloons operated by Exclusive Ballooning UK. Irish Balloon Flights Chief pilot, Malcolm White, based in Trim, Co. Meath was the pilot flying Puddles at the recent Epiphany event in Mondovi, Italy, taking first prize in the competition. Splash was being piloted by Exclusive Ballooning’s Chief Pilot, Andrew Holly.

Puddles had previously visited Mondovi, but this was the first time that his girlfriend, Splash, attended the event. These beautiful special shapes quickly became the centre of attention, attracting huge crowds.

The romance blossomed as the penguins flew close to each other in the air, taking in the stunning scenery of the Italian Alps and even enjoyed a cheeky little mid-air kiss!

Puddles, piloted by Malcolm, won the first competition task of the event and scored highly on the second, meaning he could not be caught and was declared the overall winner! Puddles also retained the beautiful and sought after Clock Tower trophy, which has previously been won twice by Andrew, including last year when he was flying Puddles!

Splash finished in 7th place, as she clearly was distracted by the amazing landscapes and her flirting with the crowds!

For the competition flights, targets are laid out on the ground several miles from the launch site and pilots have to use the wind speeds and directions at different altitudes to fly towards the targets and drop a marker as close to the centre of the cross as possible.

Puddles and Splash are the world’s only flying penguins.

The cheeky little mid-air kiss!

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