Cape Town - Conrad van Wyk must be one of a very few hot air balloon pilots in the world who is afraid of heights. He is literally too scared to go up Table Mountain with the cable car, but when he hangs from a massive hot air balloon in a basket he feels safe.
Van Wyk's first flight in a hot air balloon came when he was only four years old. His father Andre van Wyk, 77, is also a hot air balloon pilot and is based in Thailand. He retired as a commercial pilot five years ago.
For the past 24 years Conrad has been flying in 19 countries around the world. He worked in the United Kingdom for 13 years and when he and his wife had children they decided to move back to South Africa. Today he operates a hot air balloon company from Klein Joostenberg farm along the R304.
A typical day in the life of Van Wyk starts with a pre-flight inspections before the sun rises. Hot air balloons ideally only operate during cool temperatures normally early morning or late afternoon before the air gets warmed up by the sun.
After the pre-flight inspection the balloon gets connected to the basket, then two fans inflates the balloon with cold air. Once the balloon is fully cold inflated the pilot gets into the basket and starts warming the air with a massive roaring flame.
The flight on Wednesday morning lasted for about an hour before Van Wyk landed on a farm near Fisantekraal, approximately 22km north of the departure point.
African News Agency/ANA