Top Balloonists use Icom Aviation Radios

Last year Icom (UK) Ltd supplied Avionics radio equipment to British adventurers/photographers and husband & wife team - Leo & Mandy Dickinson. Ian Lockyer, Marketing Executive at Icom (UK) Ltd caught up with Mandy during a brief break in her hectic schedule to see how well the equipment was assisting the couple with their adventures.

Mandy and Leo use their Icom radios a lot! The couple, who have an extensive CV behind them have found that their IC-A22Euro transceivers are essential in their escapades. In March, this year, Mandy and Leo used their Icom radios for a filming job for the BBC involving skydiving with a peregrine falcon. The radios were used constantly throughout the flight to talk to the person retrieving the bird on the ground. Mandy and Leo were both at 12,000ft and it was very important that they were directly underneath when the skydivers jumped off and the falcon flew after them. As you can see the results were spectacular.

More recently Mandy made the first female balloon flight from Jersey to France, on the 12th September 2000. This venture, at first, seemed not at all straightforward, as there was a great deal of politics involved in arranging this adventure. For example, Jersey is all class A airspace which means that special permission from air traffic control had to be given for the flight. Fortunately for the project all these difficulties were overcome with a minimal of fuss.

Despite the red tape, the journey to France was very easy and everything went according to plan. The flight took only one hundred minutes and Mandy used less than 120 litres of fuel. The local people in France were pleased to see the balloon but were very surprised to hear that they had come from Jersey.

Throughout the journey Mandy was in close contact with air traffic controllers on her Icom radios. So I asked Mandy what she had in store next. She said that she was preparing for a hot air ballooning competition in October called the 'Long Jump'. The winner of this competition is the person who flies their balloon the longest distance on one flight within the British Isles. At the moment of talking Mandy was on standby ready to go on a solo flight as soon as the weather was favourable.

Asking how she might tackle this she replied, 'if I can keep out of special airspace on route I hope to fly for about 10 hours and give it my best shot. The Icom radios will be very important and I will have two of them on board, one to talk to the different air traffic controllers on route and the other kept on the ballooning frequency to talk to my retrieve driver if he can keep up with me!"

Icom UK Marketing: marketing@icomuk.co.uk

06/11/2000

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