Couple ready to fly balloon from New Brunswick to Europe

This is a journey that has been prepared for years, and Deborah and Mike Scholes are ready to depart.

The British couple prepared for a transatlantic balloon flight years ago, but a global helium shortage and the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the plan.

Next week, weather permitting, they will finally make their dream trip a reality. The couple are awaiting favorable terms to carry the Rosier balloon from Sussex, Co. Noble, to Europe. The trip is expected to take five to seven days.

“We’re looking for a steady westerly current across the Atlantic to reach Europe,” Mike told CTV’s Your Morning Friday.

The Scholes will rely on a meteorologist throughout their trip to tell them what altitude to fly their Rosiere balloon based on the weather. Rosiere balloons are specially designed for long distance travel and use a dual system of heated gas and helium.

Since 2020, the couple have been training in hydrogen balloons in Germany to prepare for their long-awaited trip. And in 2014, Scholes won the Great British Long Jump, a competition in which a hot air balloonist travels his 340.5 kilometers and aims to fly as far as possible in one trip.

Before losing most of his sight in 2007 to a rare genetic disease, Mike won five awards in long range and endurance ballooning and ran a passenger balloon company in the UK for many years.

If the transatlantic voyage is successful, Deborah will become the first woman to fly a balloon across the Atlantic Ocean, and Mike will become the first visually impaired transatlantic aviator.

As they prepare for their trip, the Squalls say they are feeling pretty confident.

“(We’re) pretty calm at the moment,” Deborah said.

“I think you’re going to be nervous waiting for the landing,” Mike interjected.

As part of the expedition, the couple are raising funds and raising awareness. blind veterans ukhelped Mike, a former Royal Navy pilot, after he was diagnosed in 2007.

To watch the full interview, click the video at the top of this article.

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