09 Sep 2021

Counting down to the 22nd FAI European Hot Air Balloon Championship

Hungary’s ‘City of Sunshine’, Szeged, will welcome around 100 balloonists for the 22nd FAI European Hot Air Balloon Championship, being held between 13-18 September.

The first hot air balloon floated gracefully into the air in Hungary 210 years ago this year, sparking a national interest in ballooning and aviation. Szeged, which has Hungary’s highest average number of sunny days per year (over 2000 hours/year), has become famous for its international air shows, which feature pyrotechnics, laser shows and flight displays.

The FAI HAB European Championship is part of a 5-day event which includes the Szeged Balloon Cup and Szeged International Airshow.

Organiser, Zoltán Pálhegyi is looking forward to seeing so many balloonists from across Europe visiting Szeged in 2021, a city which has been holding balloon events since 2016:

“Just before the Europeans will be the Szeged International Airshow - the biggest one in the region. The city is very excited to see more the hundred balloons in the sky. The competitors are looking forward to competing in Hungary. The contest area is flat and easy to find places to take off and landing and competitors can make training flights during the Airshow.

During the competition itself, the judges and officials will be watching live progress of the flights and visitors and locals can follow all the flights online with just a 10-minute delay and we are planning to have online video streaming too.”

Running from 12-18 September 2021, this year’s much-anticipated event will see competitors from 23 countries, including – for the very first time – a pilot from Armenia. Other notable entrants include multiple world and European champions, a junior world champion, a five-time European champion, a women’s European champion, a nineteen-times Dutch, a eight-time Austrian, a seven-time Belgian, a six-time Hungarian, a five-time English, a five-time Latvian and a four-time French champion.

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Image credit: Papdi Balazs Foto