Happy birthday

In celebration of its fiftieth birthday, the Faculty of Engineering at FAU has had a balloon sponsored on its behalf. It made its first voyage on 2 July 2016 in Fränkische Schweiz, accompanied by several other balloons. FAU President Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger is shown here christening the balloon. (Image: FAU/Kurt Fuchs)

The Faculty of Engineering's new hot air balloon makes its first journey

In celebration of its fiftieth anniversary, the Faculty of Engineering at FAU has had a hot air balloon sponsored on its behalf. The FAU balloon was accompanied on its first voyage by several balloons belonging to Frankenballon e.V.

‘The Faculty of Engineering is really taking off today,’ FAU President Joachim Hornegger said in his commemorative speech at the balloon’s launch in the early hours of 2 July 2016 at the small Dobenreuth airfield on the doorstep of Fränkische Schweiz. Normally researchers feel like taking flight when they are faced with bureaucratic hurdles or an experiment that didn’t quite go to plan, he joked. ‘It’s not everyday that you come across a Faculty that travels by balloon,’ he said. After a speech thanking the sponsor, who wishes to remain anonymous, the president christened the balloon with the registration D-OFAU ‘Friedrich-Alexander’. ‘I hope that the FAU balloon’s journeys will always be safe and successful – like the journey of the Faculty of Engineering since it’s foundation,’ Professor Hornegger concluded before taking off in the new balloon with Prof. Dr. Peter Greil, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, and Prof. Dr. Karl-Ernst Wirth, speaker of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. ‘Up, up and away!’ said the Dean, who was delighted at the unusual birthday gift which will mean that the Faculty is visible even in the skies.

Accompanied by several other balloons, its hour-long trip took it over the Walberla near Ebermannstadt. The passengers included many FAU members and guests invited by the pilot. After a safe landing – just in time before the rain moved in – the passengers were given names according to the ballooning community’s tradition. ‘Each new balloon passenger is given a name based on the fact that in the early days of hot air balloon flight only the nobility had the privilege to experience the newly discovered form of transport, and that usually includes some kind of funny reference to the circumstances of the first trip,’ explained Dr. Bernhard Mohr, CBI director and hot air balloon enthusiast. The breakfast laid on after the landing gave everyone an opportunity to try out their incredibly long new names. ‘Forgetting your name is just as much as a faux-pas as using the term “Ballonflug” for a balloon flight,’ he explained. The correct term used by the experts is ‘Ballonfahrt’.

The FAU balloon is operated by Frankenballon e.V. and will be seen in the skies over the Nuremberg Metropolitan Region regularly over the next few years when the weather conditions are good. It will also take part in ballooning events outside the region, increasing the visibility of the Faculty of Engineering at FAU. Thanks to the sponsor’s generous donation, in addition to the cost of buying the balloon, the operating and insurance costs are covered for the next four to six years. The balloon was made by the German manufacturer Schröder fire balloons and has a volume of 3000 cubic meters of air at a height of over 20 metres. Besides the pilot, the balloon has space for three passengers.

Further information:

Images of the balloon’s first voyage (german)

Dr. Bernhard Mohr
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Phone: +49 9131 8529597

Addition informations