PUPILS at Newton Primary School in Dunblane started the new term on a high with a demonstration in hot air ballooning from Virgin Balloon Flights pilot Kate Holzer.

Kate visited the school on Friday, September 23, just after playtime in between her scheduled balloon flights, which launch from five locations in Scotland, including Stirling and Auchterarder.

All 61 Primary 3 children aged between six and eight were taught about the magic and science behind hot air ballooning.

Pilot Kate kept the children engaged throughout the session, encouraging them to ask questions as she explained and demonstrated how hot air balloons take flight.

The demonstration was organised to coincide with Newton Primary School’s Amazing Atlantic Journeys topic inspired by parent Elaine Hopley who is rowing across the Atlantic to raise money for Alzheimer Scotland.

Jo Clokie, Primary 3 teacher, said: “To say that the children were excited would be an understatement and they were not disappointed. The children were fascinated by ballooning, asking very considered questions and Kate was superb at explaining and demonstrating.”

“As well as sharing her own experiences as a pilot, she also impressed us with facts about pilots such as Steve Fossett who has actually circumnavigated the world in less than 15 days."

After the demonstration, the children were able to climb into the basket, giving them a taste of what it’s like to be on a real life hot air balloon flight.

They were also given Virgin Balloon Flights baseball caps and activity packs to take home.

Jane McManus, headteacher at Newton Primary School, said: “We were thrilled to have a visit from Kate and her team whose knowledge, enthusiasm and expertise thoroughly enhanced the learning experience for our children. It was a very exciting morning for Newton Primary.”

Speaking about the school visit, Kate said: “The children were really well behaved, and asked some great questions. I hope we have inspired some of them to think about learning to fly or maybe working in the ballooning industry when they're older. It was certainly a fun treat for everyone involved.”