CHILDREN at Haydon Wick Primary School were greeted by a special visitor yesterday to teach them about the history and theory of flight.

Slick the Dragon, a 120ft high hot air balloon, arrived at the school to demonstrate how hot air is used in aviation.

Teachers and children looked on in amazement as the record breaking balloon was inflated from to its full size in the school playing fields.

The youngsters were then shown the inside of the basket, given a demonstration of the burner and allowed to look up inside the balloon.

“This is a great experience for the children,” said headteacher Simon Cowley.

“Something like this is completely different from what we’d normally do and is a great way to teach the children by getting them out of the classroom.

The children, aged between three and 11, were astounded by the size of the balloon, which has a volume of 120,000 cubic feet, contains more than 11 miles of thread and has enough material to cover three double decker buses.

“I didn’t realise it was going to be that big. It’s amazing,” said 11-year-old Kacie.

The balloon was involved several years ago in breaking the world record for the most hot air balloons to cross The Channel as well as being the first in the UK to have a glass bottomed basket.

“Days like this are a really fun way of teaching science to the children,” said Steve Kinsey, the balloon’s pilot.

“We’ve done quite a few of these days and children always get a lot out of it. The balloon itself is really impressive when it’s fully inflated”

The afternoon was arranged by PC Howard, a distribution company based in Royal Wootton Bassett.

Andrew Howard, the firm’s managing director, said: “We think this is a really good way to help the community.”