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Up And Away
When he’s not making cider, Matthew Billing soars across the Sussex skies with friend William Wood in their mission to push the boundaries of ballooning
Simone Hellyer

There are few sights more lovely than a colourful hot air balloon gliding through the sky above the Sussex countryside, although the view from the balloon may perhaps rival it. Something that Matthew Billing and William Wood, two hot air balloonists from Eastbourne, can certainly attest.

Ballooning runs in the blood for both Matthew and William – William’s father Chris flew commercially for a number of years and was an internationally competing gas balloon pilot too. Matthew is a third-generation hot air balloon pilot, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father.

“Pretty much every trip we went on when I was growing up was built around ballooning, from trips to Norfolk to attending the largest balloon meet in Europe in the Alsace region of France. Ballooning is firmly in my blood, and I couldn’t ask for a better sport to be born into,” Matthew says.

Matthew and William are currently at the top of their game. Last year the duo came top in The Great British Long Jump – a competition that sees pilots from around the United Kingdom conquer the elements to fly the furthest distance in a single flight.

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September 2019

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