A WORLD record-breaking attempt began Thursday for the largest number of hot air balloons to cross the English Channel. A total of 51 balloonists took off from Lydden Hill race circuit in Kent for the estimated four-hour flight to France at about 7am. It marks the first time a Guinness World Records bid has been made for the largest group of hot air balloons to make the Channel crossing, and competitors have come from across Europe, including Italy and Germany. Among the fleet was a 61ft dragon-shaped balloon, deemed to be the largest of its kind and the only hot air balloon in the UK with a glass-bottomed basket. One of the competitors, Paul Komuro, from main sponsor Palletways, said: People have come from across Europe at short notice to take part in this. 'We got notification late yesterday that the weather conditions were ideal and so we decided to make a go of it. 'To get the number of balloons that we have mobilised in under 24 hours is a real achievement. 'The weather conditions are perfect, theres not a cloud in the sky and there is a real sense of excitement amongst us about flying to France and hopefully breaking the record. Telegraph