Hello Monaco magazine Spring-Summer 2018 - issue HM03 - Page 120

MADE IN MONACO ground. Hot-air ballooning is one of the safest ways to travel. If you want to take a balloon ride with me in Italy, the most dangerous part of the journey will be getting there by car. HM: Tell us about the most curious moment. AC: That’s when I was flying among the cirrus clouds and found myself surrounded by a billion diamonds. (Note: cirrus clouds often cause optical illusions, like ice crystals, changing colour and shape). HM: Going back to the Jeeper, how is it different from a traditional balloon? AC: The principle is very simple. Your house is likely to have double-glazed windows with a minimal air space between them. Same thing here: the balloon has some space between its inner and outer shells. This air ensures thermal insulation. Thanks to this technology, we are saving up on gas. If a standard propane consumption is 60 L/H, the Jeeper balloon only uses 18. We thus save up to 70 % of energy. Moreover, the weight of our cabin is only 50 kg, while the standard weight can reach 150 kg. This also helps in saving gas. The design of our innovative balloon was developed in Switzerland, and Jeeper itself is produced in Spain. The implementation of this project took us 10 years. HM: What is aeronautics for you, is it more of a sport or an environmental project? AC: It’s a combination of the two. I do understand that children are our future. I  am willing to believe that they will continue my business being friendly to the planet. This question worries me since, as a pilot, over the past years I have witnessed climate change. Aeronauts have a particular sensibility to it since we spend a lot of time in the air. Not only do we see the air pollution over the cities, we can actually smell the smog with our nostrils. How can one become a member of the Monaco Aeronautics Club? I n order to become part of our club, you must have done several flights with us. Moreover, two current members send a request for a new person to be accepted in the team. Then our office considers the applicant. The entrance fee is €5,000 and the annual membership fee is €500. You also need to compete with the club and help the team. We do not want to see «phantom members»! You also need to pass a specialized medical examination including an electrocardiogram. You need to be trained at our club in order to acquire the necessary psychological and physical skills. Then you do a short test-flight, and there may be a need for several parachute jumps. The whole procedure for obtaining such a permit may take up to 6 months. 118 / Hello Monaco Spring–Summer 2018