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RAAF balloon touches down at Tweed schools

Murwillumbah East primary school students Telia Behan and Oliver Barrett with balloon pilot Gary Maxwell. Photo: John Gass / Tweed Daily News
Murwillumbah East primary school students Telia Behan and Oliver Barrett with balloon pilot Gary Maxwell. Photo: John Gass / Tweed Daily News John Gass

THREE Tweed schools had a pleasant visit from the RAAF hot air balloon this week - and members of the public might be able to get in on the action this afternoon.

Squadron leader, Air Force Balloon Flight commander Damian Gilchrist said it was a great opportunity for students to experience something outside of the usual classroom routine.

Mr Gilchrist said the balloon would have been around for 25 years in March next year.

"It's always been a way of engaging with the community," Mr Gilchrist said.

The balloon visited Murwillumbah East Public School and St Josephs Catholic School on Tuesday and Tyalgum Public School yesterday.

Mr Gilchrist said the students' reactions had been overwhelmingly positive.

"The balloon is a very dymanic set up," he said.

"They can be up close...it's a very tactile experience."

Mr Gilchrist said if it's not too windy, they'd be running free tethered rides for the public in Knox Park, Murwillumbah from 5pm today.

Murwillumbah East Public School student Kwinn Wolf enjoyed the RAAF balloon visit.

"My Teacher, Mr Crowder, had a turn of opening the heaters and he thought his hair was going to catch on fire it was so hot," Kwinn said.

Fellow student Emily Simpson was an RAAF "helper"; she was responsible for releasing a helium balloon to establish the wind direction.

"It was really cool," Emily said.

Rebecca Laing was lucky enough to be in the basket with one of the RAAF crew and 2 other students.

"It was very squashy in the basket," Rebecca said.

"When it was my turn to open the heaters it was really hot and very loud but also really exciting."

Topics:  hot air balloon, raaf, schools, tweed heads, tweed schools



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