He quickly booked a pleasure flight, just to make sure he actually liked flying before he blew all his savings on a balloon. Needless to say he loved it, and went on to attain his commercial rating in 1993.

He has crossed the English Channel twice from England to France, and once from France to England.

He has flown a variety of balloons, including the 150ft tall "Bertie Basset" special shape. Chris says he has lots of memorable flights, but three particularly special memories stick out: flying over the Channel from France to England (landing behind the Eurotunnel terminal at Folkestone), taking off from a beach and flying over a rain-forest on the Caribbean Island of Antigua, and taking off from an altitude of 10,000 feet on the Dachstein glacier in Austria.

"There were about 12 balloons doing this early morning flight, and it took most of the previous afternoon to ferry all the kit up the mountain by cable-car, and out onto the snow field by piste-basher. It was a fantastic flight, we went up to 14,000 feet at one point, and finally landed 6000 feet lower than the launch site!" he says.

Join Chris on a hot air balloon ride over the North East of England.