Hot air balloon sets down in A38 layby

Motorists were surprised when a hot air balloon landed in a layby on the A38 at Gossington near Dursley in Gloucestershire.

Some initial concern was generated when an image of the landing was posted on Facebook, but the pilot later confirmed that the landing had been intentional and well-executed.

Thomas Lee, the pilot, was in the balloon with his girlfriend, who is also training to become a hot balloon pilot. He has 10 years of experience with hot air balloons, including two years of training and three years of holding his own licence, as well as a crossing of the English Channel to his name.

The couple had set off from a nearby pub on the A38 on noting the crisp wintery weather conditions, which are often ideal for ballooning. Conditions were so calm in fact that they only managed to travel a mile in three hours, although Lee said they enjoyed marvellous views. He said about the landing:

“There’s plenty of fields in the area to land in, but they’re very muddy and water logged at the moment, so they’re not ideal. I knew that the layby at Gossington was coming up. It’s really spacious, with plenty of room to land.”

Part of the fun of hot air ballooning is not knowing where you will end up, and while a hot air balloon ride usually ends in a field somewhere, pilots sometimes need to make use of unconventional landing sites to ensure a safe descent.

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