Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Clark Side of the Force

Vader is in town and boy is he hot-headed! Did I hear an order for a Darth Balloon-balunan?

Images courtesy of by Jayvee Fernandez

The world famous Darth Vader balloon of Belgium is one of the participants in the 16th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Clark, Pampanga which runs from February 10 to 13, 2011. Members of the Philippine Outpost 501st Legion of Stormtroopers led by CO Oneal Rosero will march in front of the Vader Balloon at 6:00am tomorrow (Sunday). Now that would be a Imperial sight to behold!

(file photo from the Philippine Outpost's Facebook page)
The Vader Balloon is the brainchild of Star Wars/hot air balloon fans Benoit Lambert and Nicholas Lelong (a member of the Belgian 501st). What started out as Benoit's joke became a reality when Nicholas approached Steve Sansweet, an executive of Lucasfilms, who gave the project a thumbs up.

Benoit Lambert (image from the Darth Vader Balloon Facebook Page)
Nicholas Lelong (image from the Darth Vader Balloon Facebook page)

Here are other interesting facts about the Darth Vader Balloon:

Registration Name: OO-BQZ
Date manufactured: March 2007
Manufacturer: Cameron Balloons Ltd of Bristol, England (
Manufacturing time: 8 weeks
Height: 26 meters (86 feet) including the basket
Width: 21 meters (69 feet)
Depth: 24 meters (78 feet)
Weight: 320 kilos (850 pounds)
Estimated Hot Air Volume: 3.000 cubic meters (106,000 cubic feet)
Pilots: Benoit Lambert, Michel Lambert

During the manufacturing stage, the project was called <<Head One>> to keep it a secret as requested by Lucasfilms

(sources: and Star Wars Insider Magazine #97, "Sith Lord of the Air")

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