Updated: Oct 3, 2022
It was a goal they had been working on for some time and now it has taken flight thanks to the strong commitment of Les Aéronautes de Monaco (Monaco’s Ballooning Team), the Monegasque club that offers training courses for pilots and also it brings together all fans of air sports, with a particular focus on reducing the environmental impacts of human actions. Alain Cruteanschii, founder and president of the Club did believe that 2022 would be a special year. Designing an ecological balloon wearing the colours of the Principality was his mission. In August 2022 the official announcement confirming the out-turn. Monaco is the first Country to have an official ecologic balloon. The Catalan company Ultramagic, based in Igualada (40km far from Barcelona), was commissioned to carry out a new device able to fly safely with reduced consumption. Result achieved!
Following the first take-off of an ecological prototype from the Prince’s Palace square in Monaco Ville, in March 2018, in the presence of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, excited about the adventure together with the Marzocco Group, the development of the eco-balloon went on. The outcome is remarkable allowing to reduce fuel consumption through a multi-stage action. Like a double-glazed window, an extra air chamber between the inner and the outer layer keeps heat inside the balloon while high-tech materials make the entire structure lighter. Last but not least, the burner of new generation, conceived by the Italian engineer Paolo Bonanno, is meant to use mainly organic propane derived from the bacterial fermentation of waste, as generated by SAM Romano-Energy, major supplier in Monaco. If necessary, extra fuel may be used, provided that its ecological footprint is compensated by re-forestation. All that will enable energy savings between 50% and 70% of the total and it will contribute to increase fuel reserves on board with more safety.
But the quest for sustainability involves every single aspect. The club, in fact, invested in a hybrid 4x4vehicle to transport its crews during the whole flight. Moreover, the trailer carrying the balloon is made of composite material to make the transport totally energy efficient.
The new hot Air Balloon has recently concluded all running-in phases and it is ready to deal with international journeys keeping Monaco, Mondovì (Piedmont, Italy) and Gap (Maritime Alps) as operational bases. The Monaco’s Eco-balloon, intended for exclusive flights only, besides being available to the Club members and their friends, aims at converting itself in the largest National flag in the world, within the Monaco Next Generation Projet.
Monaco’s Eco Balloon, in fact, wants to become the ambassador to a novel environmentally friendly aviation era.
“Our eco-friendly balloon will convey a simple and applicable message in many areas of daily life: saving energy through insulation and thus limiting heat loss is a simple but very effective principle”, pointed out Alain Cruteanschii talking about the project - “we have been committed to give aeronautics an eco-logic cue to produce the minimum impact on the Planet”, he reaffirmed to a recent interview to Monaco Info. The Club will also make the technical data and steps for realising the balloon in the footsteps of an open-source computer program, available to all users. Thus, Monaco Next Generation is intended to act as a laboratory of ideas.
Monaco’s Ballooning Team promises to take off from the coming years bringing up the Red and White in the skies of the whole world. Let’s keep our gaze pointing straight up… further surprises are coming. ***
To know more about Les Aéronautes de Monaco and Monaco Next Generation Project please visit: http://www.ballonmonaco.com/
By Maurice Abbati