82 Hot Air Balloons Successfully Cross The English Channel Breaking Guinness World Record – 07/04/2017

At 7am this morning, 82 hot air balloons launched from Lydden Hill Race Circuit and headed for the famous White Cliffs of Dover and the open water setting a new Guinness World Record.

The previous record, coincidentally set on the same date of April 7th in 2011, saw 49 balloons complete the flight, however today’s flight easily surpassed this number.

Organised by aerial marketing specialist Exclusive Ballooning and sponsored by recruitment processing outsourcing specialists Datum RPO, this proved to be the flight of a lifetime for all involved as the balloons drifted over the busiest shipping lane in the world.
The Datum RPO bespoke hot air balloon led the pack over the 35km distance of water and was piloted by company Director James Strickland.

Datum RPO – Co Founder James Strickland said “what a fantastic flight in perfect weather conditions, having flown across the channel in 2011 this time was truly amazing to break the Guinness Book of Record attempt, of all the flights I have ever done this has to be the number 1”

Exclusive Ballooning’s Director Andrew Holly flew alongside James in the official Lord Mayor’s Appeal hot air balloon which was enjoying its maiden flight, having been unveiled for the first time on the launch site this morning.  Andrew said “Thank you to all the pilots and crews who travelled so far to make this truly an international and unforgettable flight. The 2011 flight was my favourite of all time and we were thrilled to be able to give so many pilots from all over Europe the opportunity to have the same experience. It has been a fantastic day and I think this morning’s flight is now top of my list!”

With pilots participating and travelling to Dover from 10 different countries, this operation was no small feat. Specific weather conditions are needed both on the ground and at altitude and these do not frequently appear.

The flight has been on standby since March 5th, with Exclusive Ballooning co-ordinating all 82 teams from 10 countries across Europe making sure everything and everyone was ready to go once the correct flying conditions were identified.

Exclusive Ballooning also worked closely with P&O ferries in regards to the logistics of over 100 vehicles arriving at Dover port shortly after the launch, all hoping to get to France and find their pilot and balloon as soon as possible.

Once all teams have returned to their home countries, the GPS flight tracks from each balloon alongside some stunning pictures will be submitted to Guinness for this to be officially ratified as a new world record and with BBC Breakfast broadcasting live from a balloon and the pictures going worldwide, there will be a wealth of evidence to choose from.

GREEN – 06/04/2017

We are officially on GREEN for Friday morning, April 7th.

Amber Alert – 05/04/2017

We are officially on AMBER ALERT for Friday morning, April 7th.

Update – 04/04/2017

We are now extending the official standby period through until Sunday April 30th.

Update – 02/04/2017

We are now officially standing down the cross channel flight for Tuesday April 4th and revert to STANDBY.

Update – 31/03/2017

We are now officially standing down the cross channel flight for Sunday April 2nd. This is due to the building high pressure and the upper winds which are now in the region of 5-6 knots and clearly not suitable for flying the Channel.

However, there is a growing chance of a slot on Tuesday and we remain on Amber Alert for Tuesday 4th April.

Amber Alert – 29/03/2017

We are officially on AMBER ALERT for Sunday morning, April 2nd.

Stand Down – 16/03/2017

Sadly we have to stand down our planned flight for tomorrow, Friday March 17th.

Whilst the wind direction is perfect and the upper winds are perfect, the surface wind speeds are forecast to remain just too high.

The met office have been giving us very detailed weather and they think gusting tomorrow at 6am is still around 13 knots but could be as high as 19 knots.

Whilst a very breezy take off may suit some people, this is a team experience for 100 balloons and we must respect everyone and on this occasion, we must be patient and wait for the right day.

We are looking for a weather slot where everybody can enjoy the flight of a lifetime and with the high winds, we do not feel that tomorrow will achieve that.

We revert to STANDBY mode and will monitor for the next weather slot.


Amber Alert – 14/03/2017

We are officially on AMBER ALERT for Friday morning, March 17th.

The next update will be lunch time on Wednesday March 15th.

Pilots please check your inbox for email update. Please be sure to re-read your pilot briefing notes once again.


On Standby – 05/03/2017

We are now officially on standby for the Datum RPO Cross Channel World Record Attempt flight.

We are delighted to announce that we have 100 balloons registered to take part in this flight and with the existing record set at 49 balloons, this is set to be smashed whilst raising thousands of pounds for charity.

We are now monitoring the weather conditions and once a potential slot is identified, the flight status will change to Amber.

If officially called on the status will be changed to Green and please keep checking this website and Exclusive Ballooning’s social media for updates.


Press Release – 02/12/2016 

Following on from the recent Guinness World Record Fly Every State project, Exclusive Ballooning are delighted to announce another World Record attempt – a mass hot air balloon crossing of the English Channel flying from England to France.

We are also thrilled to welcome and very grateful to our friends at Datum RPO who are backing the project as our headline sponsor. The bespoke Datum RPO and sister company Omega Resource Group hot air balloons will of course be joining us and proudly leading the group over the iconic white cliffs of Dover and out over the busiest shipping lane in the world.

The existing world record saw 49 balloons fly across the channel in 2011 and so our minimum aim is for 50 hot air balloons with the added benefit of raising funds for charity at the same time.

“I’m always asked about my favourite flights having flown for 20 years all over the world. Without doubt, the channel crossing flight in 2011 is my number one and the opportunity to repeat this was just too tempting. We’re delighted to be able to share this experience with so many other friends and balloonists and also give the opportunity to those new younger pilots who were not eligible to take part in 2012”
Andrew Holly – Operations Director, Exclusive Ballooning

“Having flown balloons all over the world, taking part in cross-channel flight in 2012, I can honestly say there is nothing quite like it, it was truly amazing.
Crossing one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, in a hot air balloon is a unique and amazing experience, especially in an immersion suit. This event brings out the adventurer in me and I’m looking forward to this intrepid experience again.”
James Strickland – Group Director, Datum RPO

The Datum RPO Cross Channel World Record Flight will take place in the Spring of 2017 and plans are well underway. The official website for the record attempt is and applications to take part in the flight are due to open shortly and are open to pilots from all around the world.