the world’s first floating skatepark
Earlier this year, a large Red Bull hot air balloon was sighted hauling a mysterious object in the air. Flying above Wiltshire the aircraft and hanging object caused quite a stir across media outlets.
Speculating across social media, some were convinced it was a ‘hot tub’ or a ‘swimming pool’. Residents with a knack for photography managed to capture the mysterious object floating beneath the hot air balloon. Putting the rumours to rest the images presented a BMX track. The question of why a hot air balloon was transporting a BMX course across Wiltshire went unanswered.
At GB Helicopters, we have previously collaborated with Red Bull, but this time it was something different.
British professional BMX rider Kriss Kyle took up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, performing BMX stunts on the world’s first floating skatepark. From one record to another, to be able to carry the 1.7- ton skatepark as the hot air balloon was six times larger than a typical hot air balloon.
The reasoning behind this was for BMX professional rider Kriss Kyle to perform an array of BMX stunts for his next ground-breaking BMX film, Don’t Look Down.
Helicopters and the Red Bull hot air balloon
After learning what and why a hot air balloon was carrying a floating skatepark, there is still the element of two helicopters flying beside them.
Our aerial film services provided Kriss with stabilised UHD aerial footage while he was performing BMX tricks on a floating skatepark.
For this project, we operated two of our twin-engine AS355 helicopters. One helicopter was rigged with our GSS C516, known for its superior stabilisation fitted with our RED Epic camera and 30- 300 lens. Capturing fantastic aerial footage of both the hot air balloon and BMX skatepark bowl.
Our second aircraft had photographer Eisa Bakos on board. Harnessed to the rear of the cabin with the door open taking photographs of the ultimate record-breaking, event.
Aerial Filming Permissions and Planning
We were in comms with the Red Bull team for 12 months prior to the date of filming. During these 12 months, we waited for the skatepark and hot air balloon to be constructed and passed all required permissions. Since we were exclusively conducting the aerial filming for this project, we required our usual low-level flying permit.
Once we had the go-ahead, we were then relying on the unpredictable British weather. As this stunt required cool, dry and the rare combination of high atmospheric pressures for the hot air balloon we waited for a weather window for the event to take place for ideal flying.
Ahead of filming, we participated in online briefings, leading us to the main event. Prior to filming our pilots were both briefed as they were operating a helicopter within the same area. Both of our pilots also held a briefing with the hot air balloon pilot to ensure they de-conflicted. To ensure there was communication with ground support, our team used handheld radios while in flight.