Facts on the 2003 Saga International Balloon Fiesta

published on 16th September, 2003

The Check-in room will be open between 13:00 and 18:00 on Tuesday 28th October 2003 and 9:00 to 12:00 on Wednesday 29th October 2003.
The Check-in room is in the Competition Head Office at the Mate Plaza Saga (the Kin'rosha Fukushi Center, the same place as last year). There will be Check-in rooms for Pilots, Observers and Officials. The Pilot Check-in room will be exclusively for Pilots. Observers will be required to measure their pace factors.


The following documents will be inspected when each competitor registers on arrival at the Event.
a. Pilot License
b. Pilot Log Book
c. Balloon Log Book
d. Certificate of Airworthiness
e. Certificate of Registration
f. Certificate of Insurance
g. Passport or other form of Identification.

Formal Practice Flights
On Tuesday, October 28 and Wednesday, October 29 (2 days) formal practice flights will be held. On Tuesday, October 28 you will have to pay for your own LPG (Liquid Propane Gas), but from Wednesday, October 29 until the evening of Tuesday, November 4 the sponsors will cover this cost.

As of this year, during flight you must be carrying a warning-equipped GPS (Global Positioning System) and a beeper. Also, during this event it will not be necessary for pilots to announce their own take-offs and landings. This is because during this event "Air Traffic Observers" will be posted at critical positions of the flight zone near the Saga Airport, and they will communicate balloon positions to the Airport Air Traffic Control Staff.

Practice Flights will not be permitted before Tuesday, October 28.
In order to participate in practice flights, be sure to check-in and register your balloon by Monday, October 27, arrange for use of warning-equipped GPS devices, and receive Flight Zone and Prohibited Zone information.

The Flight Period in Saga will be from the morning of Tuesday, October 28 to the morning of Tuesday, November 4.

Flight Zone

Due to the Saga Airport, the flight zone has become smaller than in years before 1998. Near the 2003 Saga International Balloon Fiesta flight zone are the approach routes of both Saga and Nagasaki airports, and the maximum altitude has been set at 4,000 feet (1,220 meters). In addition, it will be necessary to carry warning-equipped GPS and beeper; however, during the 2003 Saga International Balloon Fiesta these devices will be available to pilots free of charge.

Practice and Fan Flight Briefing
Weather and PZ information for practice and fun flights will be displayed at 07:00 in front of the press center at main area in the Kase river side on Tuesday 28th, Wednesday 29th October and Tuesday 4th November. Pilots who wish to fly on 28th, 29th October and 4th November are asked to give his(her) name and registration number to an official who will be in the press center.

General Briefing
The General Briefing will be held in the Main Hall of the Competition Head Office at the MATE PLAZA.
A compulsory General Briefing for Pilots, Crew Chiefs, Observers and Officials will be held at 15:00 Wednesday 29th October 2003. The Briefing will last about 40 minutes. The briefing will include introduction of the Officials, explanation of the Rules, general information regarding the 2003 Saga International Balloon Fiesta and a question and answer period.

Observer Briefing
The Observer Briefing will be held at 16:00 on Wednesday 29th October 2003, after the General Briefing. The Briefing will last about 40 minutes. All Observers are required to attend.

Briefing Area (for Task Briefing)

There is a large briefing tent at the southern end of the Launch Area adjacent to the Kase River. All Task Briefings will be held in this tent, morning briefings at 06:30 and afternoon briefings at 14:30. Pilots, Crew Chiefs, Observers, Officials and Press will be allowed to enter the Briefing Tent. There will be NO SMOKING permitted in the Briefing Tent.
Coffee will be served at 06:00 every morning at the tent next to the Launch Area.

Awards Banquet
The Awards Banquet will be held from 12:00 (noon) at the Maritopia, on Tuesday 4th November. Formal dress will not be required. Free tickets will be given to Pilots, Observers and Officials. Additional tickets are available for 3,500 yen.

Prizes for the All Competitors Category (Pacific Cup Category)
Organizer will present the Pacific Cup, which is made by Arita porcelain traditional craftsmanship in Saga region, to the winner in the overall final standings. The top five Pilots will receive cash prizes. The next five winners will receive trophies. Cash prize will be: 1st place for the Pacific Cup receives 2,000,000- yen, 2nd place is 1,000,000- yen, 3rd place is 500,000- yen, 4th place is 200,000- yen and 5th place will be 100,000- yen.

Weight part of markers will be 70 grams; the streamer is 170 cm long and is 10 cm wide.

Competition Map
A competition map is being produced from the aerial geographic photographs taken in 2001. The Grid System is UTM and Map Datum is “Tokyo” for GPS.

LPG Propane Filling Station
The Yamashiro Gas Co. Ltd will do all refueling. There will be very strict control of vehicles at the refueling station. Only vehicles carrying fuel cylinders will be allowed to enter the station. All other vehicles will not be allowed to enter the refueling area. US POL, Rego and Tema fittings are available. If you have any other type of fittings you will be required to bring your own adapters.
The Yamashiro Gas Co. Ltd requires to all participants not to use their lighter, striker, flush light and so on in the station. If a participant doesn't follow the Yamashiro's instruction, the Yamashiro refuse to refuel LPG to his tanks.

Trucks and Vans are available to rent from TOYOTA Rent-A-Lease (Fukuoka Airport and Saga office only) for 6,500 yen per day. Third party insurance is included (85,000,000-yen life, 3,000,000-yen liability, and 5,000,000-yen life for occupants and vehicle itself.). 5% Consumption tax must be paid separately.

When you wish to hire rent-a-car, please contact to the TOYOTA Rent-A-Lease Saga Office (Fax +81-952-29-7107, E-mail: rentalsa@r-sag.tns.ne.jp ).

If you have booked a vehicle to be picked up at the Fukuoka Airport, go to the TOYOTA Rent-A-Lease Office across the street from the front of domestic terminal buildings.

Volunteer Crews and Drivers
If you requested volunteer crew and a driver they will be introduced to you at the Competition Head Office in the MATE PLAZA, on Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th October.

Helium Cylinders and Equipment Renting
If you need to rent a helium cylinder or inflation fans you must make your reservation as soon as possible. Supply of both is limited and there will not be enough cylinders or fans for everyone. If you have not made a reservation there will be none available to rent when you arrive.

Prices: a small helium tank 23,000- yen (include tank deposit 10,000 JP Yen)
A big helium tank 30,000- yen (include tank deposit 10,000 JP Yen)
(Deposit fee for both tanks will be returned when you bring the tank)
Renting charge for a fan 5,000- yen
Renting charge for 4 LPG fuel tanks 10,000- yen
Renting charge for complete bottom end 20,000- yen
Renting charge for a complete balloon set 70,000- yen

Balloon insurance for third party is compulsory. Pilots who arrive in Saga without insurance can purchase it here after arrival. Generally speaking, the insurance which we sell is much cheaper than other areas. The cost will be approximately 3,150 yen for seven days. It will also be possible to purchase insurance to cover your crew if you wish. If you like to purchase insurance from us, please ask for details.
We require a plot that wishes to fly with an observer during the competition shall have insurance for the observer. If your balloon does not have it, you may purchase it for 1,800- yen per person during the week. If you fly without an observer at all times, you don't need to purchase it.

Only vehicles carrying balloons can enter the Launch Area. All other vehicles will have to park in the general parking lots. Vehicles will be issued with passes to enter the following lots:

Class A: Balloon Vehicle Pass, Competition Number Stickers also required.
Can enter and park at the Launch Field. Vehicles carrying balloons only.
Class B: Parking Pass required. For Officials and Press.
Class C: Parking Pass required. For Crew.

A 'Class A' vehicle, except a balloon vehicle, will also be required to put special stickers on the bonnet (hood) and the rear of their vehicles for identification purposes.

ID Cards
ID Cards will be issued for Pilots, Chief Crew, Crew, Observers, Officials, Staff, Press and the Visitors at the Pre-Check-in or Check-In. You will be required to wear these ID Cards to enter the Launch Area and the Briefing Area during the Event.

Altitude Restriction
All balloon flights will be restricted to a maximum altitude of 4,000 feet AGL from Tuesday 28th October to Tuesday 4th November 2003. Commercial airline routes exist above this altitude.

Balloon Repair Station
There are no official repair stations in Japan; therefore repairs cannot be signed off in your logbook. The organizers will provide sewing machines and fabric together with technical staff to do the sewing. You will be required to sign a waiver of responsibility and the Certification of Authorization for all repairs performed. Should this service be used, pilots will be required to pay the time, material and labor costs.
For all other repairs, contact the local agent of the Balloon Manufacturer for specific parts.

Dealers of imported balloons:
Aerostar: Takashi INA phone: +81 45-542-2446 fax: +81 45-542-2446
Balloon Works: Sky Promotion (S. IWAI) phone: +81 277-44-8700 fax: +81 277-43-8212
Cameron: Aeronauts (Sabu ICHIYOSHI) phone: +81 3-3398-1551 fax: +81 3-3398-1901
Thunder & Colts: Japan Balloon Service (K. Machida) phone: +81 423 94 8320 fax: +81 423-94-9540
Lindstrand: Bee (Tsutomu ABE) phone: +81 11-882-8946 fax: +81 11-882-8947
Ultra Magic: Balloon Company (M. Fujita) phone: +81 280-55-1238 fax: +81 280-55-1525
Sky Balloons Japan Balloon Service (K. Machida) phone: +81 423 94 8320 fax: +81 423-94-9540
Japanese Manufacturers:
Inom Balloons: M. Inoh phone: +81 75-701-6100

Traffic Near The Launch Area
Heavy traffic is expected at the Launch Area, as it is expected that the general public will attend the launches. To expedite entry to the Launch Area, all Pilots and Officials shall use the entrance at the south side bridge of the Launch Area. The general public will not be permitted to use this entrance.

Parking on the south side of the Launch Area is exclusively for participants of the Event and hopefully this will reduce the traffic delays. Parking for the general public (about 4,000 cars) is located at the northern end of the Launch Area. The northern end gate will be closed for pilots, since there will be heavy traffic. Competition vehicles are required to use only south end gate.

A temporary JR station will be opened during the Event at the East Side of the Kase River Railroad Bridge. All normal service trains and some express trains will stop at this station.

Official Balloons
There will be some official balloons for the Organizers and the Press. Some of them will fly during the competition, however, all official balloon pilots have been briefed that they must maintain a safe distance from competitive balloons and the targets and they must not interfere with the competition.

Information Counter
An information counter will be set up in the lobby of the Mate Plaza for all Pilots and participants. A Travel Agent, language service, tourist information, facts about Saga, insurance and other services is available. These facilities will be open from 09:00 to 15:00 during the event.

The Competition Head Office
(The MATE PLAZA / The Kin'rosha Fukushi Center)

First Floor (ground level):
Pilot Check-in, the General Briefing and the Observer briefing on 29th October 2003, will be held in the Hall. The Official Notice Board will be located in the lobby.

Second Floor (upper ground level):
All Debriefings will be held in the Debriefing Room, on this floor. The Competition Head Office is located on this floor. There are no restaurant facilities in the building.

Tickets will be required for several of the parties. These tickets are available in the lobby (ground level) of the MATE PLAZA between 29th October and 1st November. We ask that you purchase your tickets as soon as possible as we must know how many balloonists to be expected at the parties.

Mayor's Reception (from 19:30, Thursday 30th October): FREE (Invitation needed)
Sanya-machi Night Party (Time and place will be advised): 1,500 yen per person
Awards Banquet (noon, Tuesday 4th November): 3,500 yen per person

Video or Film
The organizers have kept exclusive rights for video and movie film. If you wish to take video or film, except for home use or individual photographs, you will need to obtain authorization from the Saga International Balloon Festival Organization.

To receive your travel allowance of 200,000- yen or 100,000- yen for Asian pilots except Japanese, please bring a copy of your voucher or a bill from your travel agent. Any documents in which you can certify your expense, 200,000- yen or 100,000- yen are acceptable.

To receive grants for transportation charge for your envelope, please inform us before end of September, and bring the certificate documents for your envelope shipment to Japan from your country.

Otherwise, following the instruction of the Japanese Taxation Office, you are required to pay 20 % of income tax to the Taxation Office.

The Japanese tax system requires a foreigner to pay 20 % income tax when they get any prize money. When we give cash prize, we will give you the balance of prize money after reducing 20% of it. We would like to advise you of the situation as not to cause any confusion when you receive your cash prize.

Information Available on the Internet

This year, as last year, with the cooperation of the Netcom Saga Development Committee, information about the 2003 Saga International Balloon Fiesta will be posted daily on the internet.
During the Fiesta the Headquarters will be located in Mate Plaza Saga, and there you will find computers provided for free public use.

The homepage address for information about the 2003 Saga International Balloon Fiesta is:


Tuesday, 28th October 2003 07:00 - Practice Flights
13:00 - 18:00 Check-in for Pilots, Observers and Officials

Wednesday, 29th October 2003 07:30 - Practice Flights
09:00 - 12:00 Check-in for Pilots, Observers and Officials
15:00 - 15:40 General Briefing for Pilots and Observers
16:00 - 16:40 Observer Briefing
18:00 - Parade and Street party

Thursday, 30th October 2003 06:30 - 06:50 Task Briefing
07:00 - First Task Flight
14:30 - 14:50 Task Briefing
15:00 - Task Flight
(* The schedule is the same concerning tasks from 30th to morning of the 3rd)

Thursday, 30th October 2003 19:30 - Mayor's Reception hosted by Saga City

Saturday, 1st November 2003 20:00 Sanya-machi Night Party

Sunday, 2nd November 2003 14:00 Group photo
18:30 - 19:00 La Montgolfiere Nocturne (Night Tethering)

Monday, 3rd November 2003 14:30 - 14:50 Task Briefing of Key Grab Race
15:30 - 17:00 Key Grab Race
18:30 - 19:00 La Montgolfiere Nocturne (Night Tethering)

Tuesday, 4th November 2003 07:00 - Fun Flight
12:00 - 14:00 Awards Banquet

Note: This schedule may be subject to change or cancellation

Social Events

Wednesday evening, 29th October 2003
A Parade is planned for 18:00 through the main street of Saga City. All teams, Observers and Officials are invited to participate. All participants for the parade are to meet in front of the Tamaya department store at 17:45. After the parade a small official party will be held.

Thursday evening, 30th October 2003
The Mayor's Reception will commence at 19:30 at the Hotel New Otani Saga. Only Pilots, all foreign participants, Observers and Officials are invited. You have to pick up an invitation letter before the Mayor's Reception.

Saturday evening, 1st November 2003
The Sanya-machi Night Party will begin at 20:00 at the public area close to the Mate Plaza. Only pilots will be presented a ticket. For all others admission is 1,500 yen.

Sunday 2nd evening, and Monday 3rd evening November 2003
La Montgolfiere Nocturne (night tethering) will be held at the Launch Area, from 18:30 to 19:00 both evening. Fifty balloons are invited.

Monday afternoon, 3rd November 2003
A Key Grab Race will be held for all competitor and fiesta Pilots. The task briefing will be at 14:30, and held at the briefing area.

Tuesday noon, 4th November 2003
The Awards Banquet will be held from 12:00 (noon) until 14:00 at the Maritopia. Admission charge will be 3,500 yen per person. All Pilots, Observers and Officials are invited free of charge.

Note: The schedule may be subject to change or cancellation.