Our Balloon Aloft Hunter Valley pilots, and husband and wife, Matthew and Nicola Scaife have taken out 1st and 2nd position at the National Ballooning Championships held in the Avon Valley in Western Australia last week.
Thirty competitors took part in the week-long event with pilots from all around Australia, China, the United Kingdom, Russia and Japan taking part.
The married couple returned to their Hunter Valley home this week along with their 2 year old son Hugo who had travelled to Western Australia with his parents and their support crew. National Champion Matthew said the weather conditions were ideal for competition flying and he was grateful to have caught some great winds during the event. “It’s all about catching the right winds and I was lucky enough to catch the right winds this time around,” he said.
Matthew’s wife Nicola is the current Women’s World Hot Air Ballooning Champion and kept Scaife on his toes throughout the week. “She is a tough competitor and has beaten me in the past so I had to be flying at my best to secure that first position,” he said.
Both Matthew and Nicola have now qualified to compete at the World Ballooning Championships to be held in Saga, Japan in 2016.
According to Nicola 2016 is going to be a busy year for the family. “I will of course be wanting to defend my title at the 2nd Women’s World Championships in Lithuania and then I will be working towards a great result at the Saga World Championships where I will be competing against over 100 of the best male pilots from around the globe, Matthew included!” It is expected that the Saga event will draw hundreds of thousands of spectators.
In the meantime, the couple will return to their day jobs as Balloon Aloft pilots flying passengers over the Hunter Valley vineyards. Matthew and Nicola agree that they are both lucky to have a job that they enjoy so much and are able to share that enjoyment with their passengers each and every day. “You never tire of seeing the look of awe on peoples’ faces at 1000 feet,” says Matt.