456 balloons take to the skies in France for world record flight

Mondial Air Ballons
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An astounding 456 hot air balloons took to the skies in eastern France, flying straight onto the pages of the record books.

The spectacular scene took place at an air base in Chambley-Bussières under somewhat cloudy skies as part of Mondial Air Ballons, a gathering of hot air balloonists which takes place every two years.

This year things got off to a rocky start, with the world record attempt twice postponed over the past week due to windy weather.

But at 9am, the balloons were able to take off, and broke the record set two years earlier at the same event.

The 456 balloons featured colourful designs including giant smiley faces, a kangaroo, and - of course - a champagne bottle. It took 45 minutes and careful coordination to get them all in the sky at the same time.

There was only one small hiccup, when a balloon piloted by an Englishman collided with a power line. Though the balloon was slightly damaged, no one was injured in the accident.

"We are constantly progressing; it is of great pride, because we've held this record many times," said the event's organizer, Philippe Buron-Pilâtre, who is a descendant of French aviator Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier - one of the first ever men to pilot a hot air balloon in 1783.

Over 45 nationalities were represented at the gathering of hot air balloon enthusiasts, and the feat attracted hundreds of thousands of onlookers.

456 balloons take to the skies in France for world record flight