The Start is Near

A lot has happened over the past month.

I visited the Kubicek Balloon factory a few weeks ago to see how production was going of the balloon and discuss with them what I will need for the project. The balloon was almost finished and it was great to see the project coming to life. I also went over exact measurements to make sure the balloon would fit into the truck. All measured up as planned luckily. While at the factory, I was interviewed for a TV programme which will be aired on one of Czech Republic’s national TV stations, CT1.

Kubicek Balloons have been great to work with during the planning of the Flying High For Kids Project. They have always come up with a solution whenever a problem arose.

After the factory visit, I headed back to New Zealand. While en-route I received the bad news that my Father had passed away. He had been battling cancer for the previous 10 months and was progressively getting worse. He was a guiding light for me during the planning of this project and will be sorely missed.

I have had a number of meetings while back in New Zealand. I had 4 meetings in Wellington on the 19th of October. My first meeting was with the Civil Aviation Authority to discuss the rules around keeping a New Zealand registered balloon overseas. 

I then met with Gareth Morgan, a well known New Zealand businessman, media commentator and overland adventurer. He kindly took some time out of his busy schedule to give me advice about many aspects of overland travel through his personal experience. He is a big supporter of UNICEF and an Ambassador for them.

After, I met the Wellington Chamber of Commerce to discuss the Carnet de Passage for the balloon, (a carnet is similar to a passport for the balloon. It makes it easier for importing and exporting).

My last meeting was with the Director of UNICEF New Zealand. We discussed recent project developments.

Last week the modifications of the truck were finished in Holland. The truck will be shipped to Australia around the 10th of November. It will be in Australia around the end of December.

I’ve had a number of vaccinations over the past couple of weeks. My shoulder resembles a pin cushion at the moment. As I will be visiting a large number of areas with poor sanitation, vaccinations are important to both preventing and spreading of diseases.

I have also been working on the documenting of the project recently. Last week I went to Auckland to meet with the filmmaker, Charles Knight. He has worked on Spartacus, Superman, Whale Rider and other well known movies and TV serials. He gave me good advice on camera types, how to document and promote the project, along with many other tips.

Another Producer/Director I met up with recently was Joe Hitchcock. Joe was one year ahead of me in school and has done well in his field, especially in the production of short films and music videos. He will make a promo video clip for me in the near future. It will be something to look out for.

I am fully focussed on the planning of the project at the moment. Everything is still on track and I will announce an official launch date soon.

About the author: Andrew Parker

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