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Robin Batchelor – HQ

Robin Batchelor – HQ

Building AnTiki January 2011

Born and bred in Kent, Robin acquired a love of maps during boyhood holidays Youth Hostelling and put it to good use driving a vintage 1927 Humber to Istanbul and back in 1968.

He sailed across the channel a few times with author Jimmy Wellard in a 40ft Folk Boat but after operating IBM computers for a few years, it was ballooning which caught his eye.

Robin built balloons in London with Thunder Balloons Ltd. before setting up The Hot Air Balloon Co. Ltd. To fly balloons commercially.
He flew countless different commercial balloons at agricultural shows throughout the British Isles.
This involved regular liaison with journalists which generated stories in newspapers, radio interviews, TV interviews.
Flew balloons in the following TV commercials ;
Fanta orange juice in Brazil. (Towed out to sea and the wind blew me back to land. The jungle came right to the water’s edge and I flew into a hornets’ nest whilst landing. That HURT!)
Extra strong mints in Switzerland – flight over The Eiger. (Suffered oxygen starvation and crashed onto a glacier. Broke my coccyx. That HURT!)
Rover cars in South Africa. ( Becalmed over a huge reservoir during thunderstorm. Crashed into rocks. )
Struck by lightning in prototype Cloudhopper balloon sponsored by Smirnoff Vodka. ( Slogan… ‘They said anything could happen.) That HURT.
Flew balloons in the following feature films;
Green Ice – Mexico (Ryan O’Neal’s double) Flew at night from the top of the Citibank skyscraper in Mexico City in a balloon with no basket. Sat in a harness with a tank of propane on my back and a burner just above my head.
Superman lll – Grand Canyon, USA, (Robert Vaughan’s double) Suspended 300ft below a helicopter on a wire sitting in a dummy balloon. The static in the dry Arizona air really HURT!
Around the world in 80 days – Yugoslavia. (Piers Brosnan’s double) Crashed onto scaffold poles sticking out of an amphitheatre. Successfully avoided them all.
Un jour et une nuit – Mexico. (Alain De Lon’s double) Flew out across the Pacific Ocean above enormous stingrays and lowered a rope to a boat which towed me back to shore. When I put the burner on too much I lifted the boat out of the water.
Enduring Love – UK. Filmed a violent balloon sequence hidden in the bottom of the basket. Stunt man broke his ankle.

Flown in 36 countries, flown across the English Channel 4 times by balloon, flown across the Swiss Alps
from Switzerland to Italy, placed 2nd and 3rd in British National Balloon Championships.
Taught Sir Richard Branson how to fly a balloon.

Spent several years flying passengers at Governors’ Camp in Kenya. A tented safari camp in the Masai Mara.
(We hosted the BBC Big Cat Diary from there.)

Passengers include Anthony Smith Esq., President Carter, Robert Redford, Rachel Stevens, Jasper Carrot, Lulu, Henry Cooper, Sam Fox, Rula Lenska, Raymond Baxter, Lady Mary Donaldson (when Lord Mayor of London), Jacky Ickx etc…..
Chosen to fly Prince Edward at his 21st birthday party in Windsor Castle estate.
Flew Stephen Tompkinson across Africa from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean in a series of flights in every country along the way. ITV series 2009. Crashed into bushes to avoid Ngorogoro Crater.
Made similar series in 2010 with Tompkinson across Australia. Had the fastest landing of my life in The Flinders Ranges. (That HURT.)

Logged 3,750 hours in balloons.

Web site HERE.