Description of the event
Birštonas has been a venue of hot air balloon events for 25 years. Many international hot air balloon events were hosted to honour the founder of the hot air balloon club Juozas Valūnas and pilot Antanas Paleckas, a native of Birštonas. These events were widely covered by the Lithuanian media.
In 2012, Birštonas hosted the 2012 CIA world hot air balloon meeting with the participation of delegates from 40 countries.
The highlight of our club's activity is a sanction granted by the FAI Ballooning Commission (CIA) to organise the 2016 Women's World Hot Air Balloon Championship in Birštonas. It is one of the major annual events of the world's hot air balloon community.
Many world-famous balloon pilots from the USA, Japan, Brazil, Ukraine, Russia, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland and other countries will take part in the 2016 Women's World Hot Air Balloon Championship. This is a unique event, with stunning views in the sky to be admired by Birštonas' residents and visitors. During the 7-day event more than 60 hot air balloons will lift into the air.
Event draws crowds of spectators, with hot air balloons flying twice per day – early in the morning and in the evening. Weather permitting, hot air balloons will also rise above the city centre.
The hot air balloon championship organised by the Lithuanian Ballooning Association and the Lithuanian Aero Club. The locals and guests of Birštonas should not miss this breathtaking view when more than 60 hot air balloons dot the sky.
In 2003, Lithuania hosted the 2003 European hot air balloon championship. In 2010, the 1st European women's world hot air balloon championship took place in Alytus. In 2012, the 1st youth hot air balloon championship was held in Marijampolė, with Rokas Kostiuškevičius becoming a champion. Among Lithuanian balloon pilots are winners of world and European championships and multi-time winners of top ten awards in various competitions. Daiva Rakauskaitė became the silver winner of the 2013 European championship. Agnė Simonavičiūtė won a bronze medal in the 2014 world championship. Rokas Kostiuškevičius became the gold winner of the 2013 European championship and his father Rimas Kostiuškevičius won a silver medal. For the first time in the history of European hot air balloon championships since 1964 a father and a son became gold and silver winners. In the 2010 world championship in Hungary, Lithuanian pilots Vytautas Sviderskis and Rimas Kostiuškevičius came seventh and eighth among 120 participants. In the 2011 European championship in Spain Vytautas Sviderskis came ninth. In the world hot air balloon pilot classification Rimas Kostiuškevičius ranks eighth.
(The Lithuanian Ballooning Association is a member of The Lithuanian Aero Club. The Lithuanian Aero Club is a Lithuanian representative of FAI. The Lithuanian Ballooning Association is an organisation operating as a sports federation and uniting Lithuanian hot air balloon clubs and pilots, representing Lithuanian pilots at an international level and organising hot air balloon events. FAI is the World Air Sports Federation.)
In the 2016 championship Lithuanian pilots will have a great opportunity to compete for top awards. The event will attract pilots from many other countries. This event will help to enhance the institutional abilities of the Lithuanian Ballooning Association, promote and develop hot air ballooning as a sport and leisure activity Lithuania, promote aviation events, contribute to training pilots and judges and allowing them to improve their qualification, enable to collect information about the history of Lithuanian and world aviation and its achievements, technical and flying safety information and other relevant material.
The event is aimed at promoting the name of Lithuania in the world and popularizing the hot air balloon sport in Lithuania and around the world.