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5th FIA Women’s World Hot Air Ballooning Championship

Official 5th FIA Women's World Hot Air Ballooning Championship Programme 

30 incredible women from 13 nations - from Brazil to New Zealand and Latvia – will put on a display of skill and technique over Northam in the picturesque Avon Valley to decide who is the best pilot in the world. 

Being staged from 2 to 9 September, it is the first time the Championship will be held outside of Europe and will also boast the largest number of balloons to ever fly in competition in Western Australia.

Dual Women’s World Champion Nicola Scaife will be one of five pilots representing Australia. She said she was excited to be competing on home soil. 

“I won my first two Women’s World Championship titles quite early in my ballooning career,” Nicola said. “Despite these early wins, my motivation to win a third title in my home country is very strong."   

“The Women’s World Championship is a very important event for pilots. Women can compete and gain experience at these high levels, which in turn builds confidence and skills to be competitive in other mixed gender, male dominated competitions."   

“At the last open World Championship, for example, there were 105 pilots competing, and only five were women. Already we are seeing positive changes with representation of women at high level events."  

“The last few Women’s World Championships have been just as competitive, serious and skilful as any open World Championship, however there is a sense of support and appreciation amongst the pilots which gives these events a special feel."   

“Communities really embrace these championships and are very welcoming to balloon teams. From past experience, I know Northam will be no different."   

“Not only is Northam an excellent place to fly, but the locals also really do help make the event what it is and I am looking forward to welcoming many of my friends, some of the world's best pilots, to our country in a few weeks’ time.”


Sanne Haarhuis - Dutch Pilot

Dutch pilot and World Ballooning representative Sanne Haarhuis said she was thrilled to be heading to Australia.

 “I am super thrilled that the women’s event is happening in Australia as we have a previous world champion from that country - I think it’s awesome that we get to see her country from above."    

“I love women’s events because while in the air we compete with each other, back on the ground we praise fellow pilots for what they have done and we celebrate each other’s scores."   

“I think it is great that the Women’s Worlds events stimulate women all over the world to start or keep competing and to improve their skills to become a world level competitor."  

“I can’t wait to come to the other side of the world and experience the Australian ways!”


Northam is Western Australia’s only location for hot air ballooning, providing a great mix of flying conditions that challenge pilots - continuous rolling hills and valleys, relatively reliable wind conditions, low early morning temperatures and lower rainfall. 

Thousands are anticipated to travel from Perth to Northam to witness the colourful vista of balloons at dawn and again in the late afternoons as the pilots complete a series of scored tasks. 

Practice days are on 2 and 3 September, followed by five competition days showcasing the pilots’ ability to handle varying winds and altitudes. Flights are weather dependent and will be confirmed on the day of competition. Spectators should follow the Northam Balloon Events social media for flight updates. 

The 5th FIA Women’s World Hot Air Ballooning Championship is organised by Northam Ballooning Events and supported by Tourism WA, Shire of Northam, Bendigo Bank Northam Branch and Windward Balloon Adventures.