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Global Warming Disrupts PRINCE ALBERT II CUP: Hot Air Balloon Race Postponed

Alain Cruteanschii had planned to launch the ambitious PRINCE ALBERT II CUP, a pioneering hot air balloon race across the Alps. This unique competition, backed by H.S.H. Prince Albert II, would feature a chase race format where the MONACO balloon would take off first from the Palace Square, followed by ten ecological hot air balloons from various locations in the Principality, aiming to reach Italy. The daring route includes a crossing of the southern Alps at over 6,000 meters before landing in the Piedmont plains.

However, the Aeronauts Club of Monaco, the event organizers, announced the postponement of the PRINCE ALBERT II CUP until next year due to “unstable weather conditions caused by global warming.” The disappointing news cited  the club’s struggle to find a safe date since the start of the year. “Unfavourable weather conditions between 1st February and 30th April 2024 have forced us to cancel the PRINCE ALBERT II CUP 2024,” stated Alain Cruteanschii, the  president of the Aeronauts Club of Monaco. He noted that the unstable weather and the Principality’s high urban density prevented the race from taking off under optimal safety conditions.

Weather Watch

Wim de Troyer, the official meteorologist for the PRINCE ALBERT II CUP, had the crucial task of monitoring weather patterns to determine the best time for the race. “Weather dictates everything; nature is always supreme,” de Troyer had stated. Ideal conditions included calm, dry weather with minimal clouds and ground wind to ensure a smooth setup and takeoff, along with favourable high-altitude winds necessary to guide the pilots towards the Italian Alps.

Master of the Skies

With years of global flights under his belt, Cruteanschii is a seasoned veteran of hot air ballooning. The founder of France’s first hot air balloon travel company, “AIR ESPACE,” and president of the Aeronauts Club of Monaco, he envisioned the PRINCE ALBERT II CUP as a way to place Monaco at the heart of international ecological aeronautics. The competition was designed to stand out with its chase race format, allowing the public to follow the race live via different platforms.

Ecology at the Forefront

The ecological aspect of the race is significant. The MONACO balloon features a double isothermal envelope for reduced heat loss, achieving up to 70% fuel savings, and an ultra-light basket made of titanium and composites, weighing 100 kilos less than traditional wicker baskets. Powered by bio-propane from ROMANO ENERGY MONACO, this revolutionary fuel reduces CO2 emissions by over 60%.

Postponement and Future Plans

The Aeronauts Club of Monaco, focused on pilot training and excursions, had been working on this unique sporting competition for several years. The concept involved ten teams from six countries racing ecological hot air balloons from a site near the Principality to Piedmont, Italy. Due to the current weather challenges, fans and supporters will now have to wait until 2025 to witness these pioneering crafts in the skies above Monaco.

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