The official Rule Book for the National Championships as well as the ABF Code of Conduct and Competition Handbook are now available for the public on the CCI website at:- http://www.canowindrachallenge.org.au/event-program/17th-national/competition-documents


64 Days to Go!

Heading into the last two months of preparations for the National Championships and work is underway on the organisation of officials for the championship with the first of two Observer Training Weekends planned for 5-6 February. The championship is currently short of observers and all those who would like to participate are encouraged to contact ABF President and National Chief Observer - Scobie Peart at sun4wd@hotkey.net.au




Here is the Autumn Seasonal Weather Forecast from the Bureau of Meteorology:-


South-eastern Australia Seasonal Rainfall Outlook: probabilities for February to April 2011, issued 20th January 2011

A drier season favoured for EASTERN SA and western NSW

The February to April outlook for rainfall favours drier than average conditions over southern and eastern South Australia.


The pattern of seasonal rainfall across Australia is a result of cool conditions in the central tropical Pacific Ocean, as well as recent warm conditions in the Indian Ocean.


Description: Description: Description: Description: probability of exceeding median rainfall - click on the map for a larger version of the map


The chance of receiving above median rainfall during the February to April period are between 30 and 40% across a region extending from southern SA to the far southwest of Queensland, including western NSW and the far northwest corner of Victoria. Such odds mean that for every ten years with similar ocean patterns to those currently observed, between three to four February to April periods would be expected to be wetter than average over these areas, while about six to seven years would be expected to be drier. However, this outlook should be used with caution due to the low confidence levels for the February to April period in this area (see below).


An expanded set of seasonal rainfall outlook maps and tables, including the probabilities of seasonal rainfall exceeding given totals (e.g. 200 mm), is available on the "Water and the Land" (WATL) part of the Bureau's website.


Outlook confidence is related to how consistently the Pacific and Indian Oceans affect Australian rainfall. During the February to April period, history shows the effect to be moderately consistent in the far west of SA, the southeast of NSW and in a small area in the far northwest of NSW. Elsewhere the effect is only weakly or very weakly consistent (see background information).


New: Seasonal Streamflow Forecasts are now available from the Bureau of Meteorology. The forecast sites include many important storages and irrigation areas in Victoria, NSW and ACT.


Strong La Niña conditions persist across the tropical Pacific. Computer models surveyed by the Bureau suggest the current La Niña event will persist into the southern hemisphere autumn season. For routine updates and comprehensive discussion on any developments regarding El Niño and La Niña, please see the ENSO Wrap-Up.


Comment: -

So the Bureau have changed their forcast from that predicted for earlier in the Summer – Autumn season and now expect an average or drier than average autumn, but only just.


What all this means for Canowindra may be seen from last year’s rainfall, compared with average (Mean) and median data below. The championship certainly doesn’t need a repeat of last year’s abnormal conditions.


Description: Description: Description: Description: canowindra (canowindra street) (065006) 2010 graph


Description: Description: Description: Description: Twelve-monthly rainfall totals for Australia


Description: Description: Description: Description: Annual average rainfall for - Australia




Championship Competition entries climb to 23, as some balloonists make a late start.


2 weeks after the official closing date entry numbers are reported to have climbed to 23, as well as 5 festival balloons, with organisers hoping to reach 30 competition entries.



After much discussion at ABF Executive level and extensive consultation the event will be run with full observers. This means that every pilot will be allocated a different observer on every competition flight.  Pilots may even be asked by the Director to fly an observer on some flights. An important consideration here is this means that competitors must provide seating in their chase vehicle daily for one extra person. This might be something which may not have been thought out for those planning to bring lots of family and crew.


The organisers are still very short of observers so if you know of anyone interested please ask them to contact ABF President and National Chief Observer - Scobie Peart at sun4wd@hotkey.net.au 


Two observer training weekends are planned before the event....Feb 5/6 and March 26/27.

The official updated Observers Handbook is almost finished and will be posted on the CC Inc. web site.



All registered competitors have done so on the basis that they would have to pay for their own propane. Canowindra Challenge Inc. thanks entrants for their support. It has always been the organiser’s intention to find a propane sponsor, if possible obtaining free or at least heavily subsidised propane, for the event. The Event Co-ordinator reports the present retail price of propane in Canowindra is $1 per litre.

Canowindra Challenge Inc. is waiting on a decision at a national level from one of the three companies they originally approached.  More on this as soon as an answer is received.


Many participants have already found their own accommodation. If Pilots haven't booked beds yet, they need to do so quickly. CC Inc. still do has homestays available, but is getting close to the point of letting them go to the general public.  All listed Competition Officials have been allocated accommodation and CC Inc. will communicate with each of them as to where they are staying.


Breakfast will be available daily at the High School after flying. The menu will change daily. CC Inc. asks that pilots and crew support this venue for breakfast daily.


Paper competition maps with common launch areas, PZ's, approved goals, major power lines and other relevant competition information as the Director sees fit will be printed. These will be issued at check-in - two per balloon and one per observer. 


An electronic version will be available for download to laptops also at check-in and hopefully for download from the web site also.

Note also as a contribution towards the safety of the event, Country Energy has provided a complete power line grid map for the entire Canowindra flying area. This will be available as a separate reference map in the briefing centre.


The official Rule Book is with the Director, Les Purfield for his comment.  A copy will be sent to competitors within the next few weeks.  This will be posted on the website for download.

For details see the Canowindra Challenge Incorporated website.


19 Balloonists have registered for the Championship and 5 for the Fiesta.

This is enough to run the Championship but more are welcome as are extra Fiesta balloons. The late entry fee has been waived.




The 3 month Long Range Forecast from the Bureau of Meteorology is for a 60% chance of above median rainfall from January to the end of March. The long range forecast covering the Championship period will be published on January 20th.  




Get your Pilot Application for the Nationals in NOW. Closing date for entries is 30th December. Late entry fees will apply.


The full event web site is now fully functional at www.canowindrachallenge.org.au 


Due to unforeseen circumstances there has been a change of Competition Director from that previously announced. The Competition Director will now be Les Purfield from England. Les directed the 2007 Australian Nationals and has directed numerous world standard events over the last twenty years. He is the current director of the world famous Motegi event in Japan.

As long as you submit the application form and pay your entry fee we have no problem if the supporting documentation doesn't come through until next year. Remember that the ABF requirement is to have a Nationals we MUST have a minimum of fifteen balloons. At this stage we only have seven registered.


Propane sponsorship discussions are still taking place however we can tell you with some certainty that at the worst we will be able to supply propane at a heavily subsidized price.

Kind Regards

Graham Kerr

Event Co-ordinator



The Canowindra area has experienced flooding for the third time this year with residents of Eugowra in the north west corner of the Championship Competition area having to evacuate their homes and Cowra in the south as well as Canowindra itself experiencing flooding along the river flats. “Canowindra’s lower areas experienced moderate flooding when the Belabula River peaked at 4.95 metres at 9pm on Saturday”, reports the Canowindra News.


Meanwhile the Bureau of Meteorology National climate Centre predicts above average Summer rainfall (until the end of February). The Autumn forecast, covering the Championship period, is due on December 17th.

Canowindra is the red dot near the centre of the map.




Invitations are out by email and the Pilot Application Form can now be downloaded here or from www.canowindrachallenge.org.au as can the accommodation options.

The Organisers are seeking ground staff volunteers including Observers. A call has gone out to locals through the local newspaper the Canowindra News.   ABF members are also invited to participate.




Local planning gets underway with a public meeting in Canowindra to form an incorporated organisation to run the 2011 Nationals and future major events in the town.

For more details see THE CANOWINDRA NEWS



At a community meeting last night (Wednesday) an inaugural committee was elected to head up a new incorporated body to be called
"Canowindra Challenge Inc." 

The committee members elected were: -
Chairperson:  Jenny Beasley - Canowindra Business Chamber
Vice Chair:     Graham Kerr - Ballooning
Secretary:    Luisa Sims 
Committee members:  Arthur Falconer – Business Mentor, Jan Kerr - Tourism
: To be advised.

The primary objective of this organisation is to organise Canowindra’s hospitality and maximise the local economic benefits associated with the 2011 National Balloon Championship.


A secondary objective is to consider the possibility of running an annual festival in Canowindra not exclusively for balloons.


This organisation may change it’s objectives or be combined with another organisation with similar ideals at some point in the future.

The following sub committees have been nominated: -


Ballooning Sub-Committee

Les Purfield– Championship Competition Director

Ruth Wilson – Assistant Competition Director &
                   Australian Ballooning Federation Regional Representative

Graham Kerr – Event Co-ordinator – Fiesta Director

Ian McIlvain – Safety Officer

Sue Robinson - Assistant Event Manager

Adrian Cole – Farmer Relations Officer

Richard Glasson - 

          Other Interested Parties -

Australian Ballooning Federation Executive.

Canowindra Sports Trust,

Canowindra Showground Trust,

Canowindra High School,

Sub-Committee Activities -

Ballooning Competition, Balloon Fiesta, Balloon Glow,

Selection of Competition officials, Farmer relations,

Recruiting and training Observers, Preparing Maps,

Goals and target definition.


Sponsorships/Grants Sub-Committee

Jan Kerr, Fiona, Amber, Canowindra Business Chamber,

Arthur Falconer, Glenn.


Catering Sub-Committee

Margaret Wallington and Katie Kelly


Accommodation Sub-Committee

Des Bridekirk, Fiona,



Durko, Walker, Glen Mickle, Sally (Cowra)


Media & Marketing Sub-Committee

Jan Kerr

Carolyn Star, Canowindra Phoenix,

Web/internet person, to be appointed.


Local Hospitality Sub-Committee

Nick Jacobs, Michelle Porter, Barry Burn, Richard Glasson.


Business Sub-Committee

Canowindra Chamber & members. Arthur Falconer, Glenn Mickle.


(Information provided by Event Co-ordinator and various media sources)