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Events history

The history of the Festival
Air balloon festival “Caucasian Mineral Waters – The Pearl of Russia” was first held in Zheleznovodsk in 1999. Maximum number of participants reached 28 teams from different countries. Pilots that have taken part in the Festival came from Ukraine, Byelorussia, Kazakhstan, UAE, Poland, Germany, Armenia.
Over the time our Festival turned into a brand of Stavropol krai and Caucasian Mineral Waters region.

The main cites of the Festival are Pyatigorsk.

The main prize of the Festival is the Challenge Cup “Icarus”, handcrafted by a famous Kislovodsk sculptor Gurgen Kuregyan. The winning pilot gets a balloonist ring, made from white gold with ruby impregnation and hot enamel polish.
Since 2015 there have been held unique Air Biathlon competitions.
The winner of the Air Biathlon in overall score with sports exercises is the Champion of the Festival.
Event organizer is a public organization “Federation of air ballooning of Stavropol krai” used to run the similar events in Kaliningrad, Omsk, Smolensk.
Today it is one the oldest, famous and significant aviation events in Eastern Europe.
Sport and flight part of festival.
Festival program includes sports exercises which will take place in the sky of spa-cities of Essentuki, Pyatigorsk, Kislovodsk, Lermontov and Zheleznovodsk.
Some of the exercises will be held in mountain gorges near Kislovodsk and Laccoliths – mountains: Beshtau, Zheleznaya, Razvalka, Medovaya, Sheludivaya.

Sport exercises part consists of either standard set for air balloon pilots and new kind of sport “Air Biathlon” in which pilots use laser guns based on Laser Tag principle.

Area of Zheleznovodsk and Lermontov cities.
Flights take place in the vicinity of laccolith mountains (mountains standing separately on a plain), of which there are only 19 in the world, the highest of which is the five-peak Beshtau (1401 m), as well as Medovaya (730 m.), Zheleznaya (852 m.), Razvalka (926 m.), Sheludivaya (874 m.), and Kaban (786 m.) mountains. Flights are planned in such a manner so that an air balloon fly through a picturesque mountain gorge ending in a city and an air balloon flies over Beshtau mountain or close to it.

Area of Pyatigorsk

Flights are held near Mashuk mountain 994 m with a wonderful view to the ranges of Grand Caucasus.
It is a densely built area which makes a pilot use all his experience to safely land a balloon.
There are different wind directions in Pyatigorsk air space. Here one can experience exciting and passionate flights.

Area of Essentuki spa-city.

This is a plain with lakes and ravines, flights are full of wonderful reverse streams with Grand Caucasus ranges in the background and mount Elbrus – the highest peak in Europe 5642 m.
The city lies in the plain of the river Podkumok.
Sometimes a flight might get long and difficult, going at most low altitudes.
A pilot can ‘plunge’ in various ravines in this area.

Area of Kislovodsk.

Flights in this area are most beautiful however they are the most difficult ones.
Flights are held over plateau and three gorges which transform into the Caucasian range where the take-off altitude is 1100 above sea level on the edge of a three-hundred-meter gorge.
Flight might as well go over the city which is situated in a mountain cup.
Flights require filigree technique of piloting.
Pilots, upon accomplishing the gorge flight, often get back the take-off point, flying in a circle using various air streams which might be opposite with altitude difference in five meters!
The aiming point is frequently set at a take-off point and a pilot needs savvy and experience to do all exercises in this sortie.

Air biathlon is an entire new kind of ballooning sports.
Since it is us who invented this sports we confidently declare that Russia is the motherland of air biathlon and it was founded in 2014.