Bal­loon­ist fly­ing high in awards

Bath Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - Olivia Scull Re­porter olivi­aalexan­dra.scull@reach­plc.com

A Bath hot air bal­loon­ist has made it into the fi­nal four of a brave Bri­tons awards.

The Bath fash­ion con­sul­tant, who broke the world fe­male hot air balloon al­ti­tude record, has been named as a fi­nal­ist in the Am­pli­fon Awards For Brave Bri­tons 2020.

Ali­cia Hem­ple­man-adams, 30, who soared in her balloon to a 15,183ft, has reached the last four in the Against All Odds cat­e­gory in global hear­ing spe­cial­ist Am­pli­fon’s search for ‘The Best Of Bri­tish.’

Ali­cia, who now lives in Put­ney, Lon­don, had to deal with tem­per­a­tures of up to mi­nus 30 de­grees as she flew her balloon in Cal­gary, Canada, on Fe­bru­ary 8 this year.

She said: “Break­ing the record was fright­en­ing and sur­real at the same time, it didn’t feel like I had done it. I was so lucky to do it on the first at­tempt.”

Ali­cia beat pre­vi­ous world record holder Pauline Baker, who reached 14,016ft in 2008.

On the same trip, Ali­cia broke the fe­male Bri­tish al­ti­tude record for an AX4, AX5 and AX6 balloon by al­most dou­ble what was set 25 years ear­lier. She also broke the fe­male Bri­tish du­ra­tion record for an AX4 balloon, as her du­ra­tion was nine min­utes longer than the pre­vi­ous record set 27 years ago.

Ali­cia, daughter of renowned ad­ven­turer Sir David Hem­ple­m­anadams, gained her hot air balloon li­cence in 2012 but con­fessed she had rel­a­tively lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence as a pi­lot.

She said: “In terms of be­ing a pi­lot, I’m still rel­a­tively in­ex­pe­ri­enced. I don’t have a huge amount of hours and hot air bal­loon­ing is not a sport that is very easy to prac­tise whilst liv­ing in Lon­don.”

Due to the weight ra­tio, Ali­cia only had a small oxy­gen tank, the record­ing in­stru­ments and fuel along­side her in the 3ft by 3ft wicker bas­ket as she flew for an hour and 46 min­utes.

She said: “Ob­vi­ously there is an el­e­ment of risk, but hot air bal­loon­ing is fairly safe if you know what you’re do­ing. I did get a bit ner­vous at 15,100ft when the balloon took a bit longer than nor­mal to start com­ing down.”

Her fa­ther Sir David, holds over 20 hot air balloon world records, in­clud­ing be­ing the only per­son to fly a balloon to the North Pole and back.

Ali­cia said: “My dad was there with me when I landed. Be­cause of him, I have been ex­posed to hot air bal­loon­ing since an early age. He’d prob­a­bly like it if I tried to beat him in all of his records!”

Sir David said: “I was ex­tremely proud and re­lieved when Ali­cia came back down safe and sound. At­tempt­ing to break the world al­ti­tude record was the clos­est I ever came to killing my­self so I was so happy to see her back on the ground.

“You watch your daugh­ters grow up, teach them how to fly then they go off and break your records!”

Ali­cia has been in­vited to the vir­tual awards pre­sen­ta­tion on Tues­day, Oc­to­ber 13, where Ra­dio 5 Live break­fast pre­sen­ter Rachel Bur­den will host and Falk­lands War hero Si­mon We­ston will be guest of hon­our.

Pic: Johnny Green

Ali­cia Hem­ple­man-adams, who broke the world fe­male hot air balloon al­ti­tude record

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