As part of efforts to promote tourism in Ghana, Promasidor Ghana Limited in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism have registered and operated the first hot air balloon in the country.
The project named Cowbell in the Sky, operates under the theme: 'Our Beautiful Ghana' and aims to position Ghana as a prime destination for the flying of hot air balloons on the continent.
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According to the Managing Director of Promasidor Ghana, Dirk Laeremans, the Cowbell balloon had its test runs with flights over the country between May 12-19, 2018.
He said the novel flights which took place in areas including the University of Ghana, Royal Senchi, Axim, the Elmina Castle, Mole Park and Shai Hills would not have been possible without the support of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, National Communications Authority, National Security and the Ghana Air Force.
Managing Director of Promasidor Ghana, Dirk Laeremans
“The Civil Aviation Authority has been extremely supportive in guiding us through the registration and inspection of the very first hot air balloon in Ghana. Our Cowbell balloon has the proud registration number 9G-AFO”.
Mr Laeremans also expressed gratitude to operators of the balloon, Cameron Balloons Belgium and the pilot Koen Audenaert who "brought their invaluable experience to this ambitious project".
The pilot of the Cowbell balloon, Koen Audenaert assured that it was totally safe to ride in the balloon which has been insured by European insurance company Aviabel to the tune of 5.5 million euros through a Ghanaian partner.
However, he stressed that he has 29 years experience in flying hot air balloons and during this period he was yet to experience an accident.
He said: “Ever since I began the flight for 29 years I have not experienced any accident before, but the project has been fully insured by Aviabel, an insurance company in Europe who have a sub-company in Ghana”.
The hot air balloon is an aircraft consisting of a large bag, called an envelope, which contains heated air. Suspended beneath this is a gondola or wicker basket, which carries both passengers and a source of fuel to burn in order to heat up the air in the envelope.”