Competition Results

Australian National Champions

The first championship was run at Belconnen ACT in 1978. Bill Watson was the winner of the sole task flown but FAI rules require three tasks over two flights to declare a Championship and a Champion. With only one task flown, a result and champion pilot could not be declared.

The second championship was held in 1979 at Greenthorpe NSW (south of Cowra). This championship had 3 tasks and 5 competitors, with Ruth Wilson being declared the first Australian National Hot Air Ballooning Champion.

A PDF with more information on past National Championship events and results can be found in the Documents section of the website. 


1978 Bill Watson Belconnen ACT (Winner but not Champion - see above)
1979 Ruth Wilson Greenthorpe See quote below
1981 Bob Dickson Northam WA  
1982 Peter Vizzard Seppeltsfield SA  
1984 Judy Lynne Northam WA See quote below
1986 Peter Vizzard Seppeltsfield SA See quote below
1988 John Wallington Canowindra NSW See quote below
1990 Phil Kavanagh Benalla VIC See quote below
1992 John Wallington Yanco NSW See quote below
1994 Edwin Michell Mildura VIC  
1996 Paul Gibbs Mildura VIC See quote below
1998 Paul Gibbs Mildura VIC See quote below
2001 Tim Steiner Mildura VIC See quote below
2003 Sean Kavanagh Mildura VIC  
2007 Paul Gibbs Benalla VIC See quote below
2009 Paul Gibbs Benalla VIC See quote below
2011 Thomas Dattler Canowindra NSW  
2013 Paul Gibbs Canowindra NSW  
2014 Matthew Scaife Canowindra NSW  
2015 Matthew Scaife Northam WA  
2017 Matthew Scaife Northam WA  
2019 Sean Kavanagh Mudgee, NSW  


Winning a National Championship, what it meant to the Champions?

About the first Nationals by Phil Kavanagh
"The first attempt at a National Championship, was held near Canberra to coincide with the opening of the Belconnen Mall. It was only one event (JDG) and was won by Bill Watson, who was first to the goal, making a competition landing, (there were no markers), about fifty metres or so from the intersection. Bill then dragged his balloon envelope around so it appeared that the wind direction was at 90 degrees to the actual, before any of the other competitors were close enough to see him do it. It worked. Everyone used his balloon as an indicator of the ground wind direction and all went off in the wrong direction."

Ruth Wilson, 1979
Roger Meadmore was the sponsor of the event with his Lovely Lady logos and pancakes. Roger presented me with a silver champagne bucket.

Judy Lynne, 1984 
‘At the time I won the National Championships I was flying a great deal, had a fledgling balloon company, and was delighted to find my flying skills were on a par with the best in Australia. After winning the Championships I felt that I could do anything, and go anywhere, in my little Balloon Works balloon.’

John Wallington, 1988 & 1992
‘Both National Championship wins in 1988 and 1992 have provided real and significant high points in my life. The sense of satisfaction and team euphoria has been incredible. The 1988 championship was my first ever ballooning competition so to win it was a bit of a surprise. The 1992 competition was memorable for the essential contribution of my father and his wind reader, in particular allowing four teams to approach one target from the opposite direction to all other competitors. His contribution to the win was vital and gave him enormous satisfaction only weeks before he became sick and died. To win the Sunrice Championships in”Sunrice”, kindly loaned to me by Ian and Ruth Tooth, was great.

Phil Kavanagh, 1990 
‘Winning the Nationals in 1990 only meant that my total at the end of the week was a bit more than the next competitor. I cannot bring to mind any of the flights during that week, except for the last one, and I think that’s because I was relieved I hadn’t blown it’.

Paul Gibbs, 1996, 1998, 2007, 2009, 2013
"When the crew and I won in 1996 it was a great sense of relief. I knew I could do it but it was a question of putting it all together. In 90,92,94, I had placed third, which was consistent".

World Champions

1983 Peter Vizzard World Champion
2014 Nicola Scaife Women's World Champion
2016 Nicola Scaife Women's World Champion


World Championship Teams

Australia has been represented at all but one World Championship since the first event in 1973.  The following table sets out the pilots and their results over the years.

Year Pilots  & Results    
1973 Peter Vizzard (6th)      
1975 Peter Vizzard (3rd)      
1977 Peter Vizzard (36th)      
1979 Willial Watson (26th)      
1981 Peter Vizzard (30th) Ruth E Wilson (32nd)    
1983 Peter Vizzard (1st) Gren Putland (8th) Ruth E Wilson (55th)  
1985 Peter Vizzard (17th) Judy Lynne (44th) Allan Shore (49th) Marc Bristow-Stagg (57th)
1987 Ruth E Wilson (15th) Peter Vizzard (17th) Michael Conran (63rd)  
1989 John Wallington (19th) Edwin Michell (65th) Mark Wilson (78th) Alan Shore (97th)
1991 Edwin Michell (23rd) Phil Kavanagh (61st) Paul Gibbs (68th) Darryl Stuart (72nd)
1993 Paul Gibbs (13th) Peter Vizzard (28th) John Wallington (45th) Suze McKenzie (93rd)
1995 Paul Gibbs (19th) Edwin Michell (43rd) Sean Kavanagh (44th) Kiff Saunders (45th)
1997 Paul Gibbs (11th) Sean Kavanagh (33rd) Kiff Saunders (39th) Phil Kavanagh (74th)
1999 Danny Galbraith (12th) Paul Gibbs (35th) Sean Kavanagh (51st)  
2002 Paul Gibbs (4th) Edwin Michell (53rd) Gary Pask (88th)  
2004 Paul Gibbs (3rd) Sean Kavanagh (15th) Edwin Michell (42nd)  
2006 Paul Gibbs (18th) Edwin Michell (31st) Sean Kavanagh (36th) Andrew Robertson (44th)
2008 Paul Gibbs (43rd) Sean Kavanagh (49th) Les Springett (72nd)  
2010 Paul Gibbs (35th) Edwin Michell (67th) Peter Wright (103rd)  
2012 Matthew Scaife (10th) Andrew Robertson (55th) Peter Wright (87th)  
2014 N/A N/A N/A N/A
2016 Matthew Scaife (30th) Nicola Scaife (41st) Peter Wright (54th)  
2018 Nicola Scaife (9th) Matthew Scaife (15th) Andrew Robertson (23rd) Sean Kavanagh (28th)