History of the BHBC

The origins of the Club date back to a fine, warm and still evening in August 1980, when Peter Dowlen took off in his Balloon from a site at Prestwood Farm and landed on a farm close to the Black Horse pub.

As Peter describes the events "Having done the necessary with the farmer, the crew, as rumour goes, dragged me feet first and kicking into the bar of the Black Horse to wet everyone's whistles. That was the first time I met Dave Kinsey." Why didn't you land in my field?' he enquired.’ What field?' I replied. 'Come with me' said Dave. We all went out of the back door and over the driveway and looked at the neatly mown football pitch. 'There, would you like to launch from here?' Dave asked. I never went back to Prestwood.

"The next day with an anti-cyclone firmly anchored over us piloting Snapdragon a Cameron O-77 registration G-BCRE, I, with Rob Fuller and Mandy Moore (on her first flight) took off from the middle of the football pitch and headed North West over the pub to land 50 minutes later near Haddenham. Back to the Horse and a beer or two, perfect I thought".

"I flew from the field for almost two years without seeing another balloon. By attending Chiltern Regions monthly meetings at the London Flying Club near Dunstable, I met Phil Hutchins and Harry Mead. Phil moved to Dirtywood Farm near Chequers in early 1982 and I began to keep the balloon at his farm and use his refuelling facilities, a vast improvement over the upturned red 1 04 bottles and a kettle"

Phil, Harry and Pat Atkins began to fly from the Black Horse and we slowly started to get more visitors from London and elsewhere. In 1986 with about 25 active balloonists using the field and pub on a regular basis,

"Richard Allan, Ted Moore and I looked into the cost of installing a bulk tank to provide cheaper propane and cut down the interminable hassle of refuelling from the 104 bottles".

Snapdragon