Famous Hot Air Balloon Flights
Published October 6, 2013
There have been many instances where people have participated in challenging hot air balloon flights. Some have been around the world, and some have been across countries, seas, and oceans for example. People have set the record for some very interesting trips and that is why they have become so famous, be it a solo flight or with multiple passengers.
Brian Jones of Britian and Betrand Piccard of Switzerland were the first people to have their hot air balloon ride to have been recorded as a team. They lifted off on March 1sr from the Chateau d’Oex situated in the Alps and landed over Mauritania, located in North Africa after a time period of precisely 19 days, 21 hours and 55 minutes. They had covered a distance of over 42,810 kilometers. What makes this flight so special is the fact that it was the first time a flight had taken place that did not stop even once for refueling.
The first person to travel around the world on a solo flight in a hot air balloon was Steve Fossett. He had tried this six times before as well, but had been unsuccessful. Though he completed his journey on the 2nd of July in 2002, he still remains the only person to have succeeded on travelling alone around the world in a hot air balloon.
The Atlantic Ocean has also been considered as a challenge by professional and enthusiastic balloonists. Initially only attempts made to cross it were recorded. For example, 4 British balloonists by the name of Colin Mudie, Rosemary, Bushy Eiloart and Tim planned extensively to cross the Atlantic. The left from Tenerife in their hot air balloon vessel called Small World on December 12 in 1958. They took a route from the east to the west instead of from the west to the east, which is how all previous hot air balloonists had attempted to cross the Atlantic. They covered a ground breaking distance of 1200 nautical miles before their hot air balloon was caught up in a storm and they had to land prematurely at Barbados on January 5th in 1959. This is a remarkable and inspirational story, especially at a time when hot air ballooning was quite an unheard of a sport.
However, the Atlantic Ocean was finally conquered on August 16th in 1978, when three pilots by the name of Maxie Anderson, Larry Newman and Ben Abruzzo flew over in their vessel, Double Eagle II. They covered an amazing distance of 3,120 miles, and their journey lasted about 137 hours. This hot air balloon ride received its own share of problems. Due to the weather conditions, the hot air balloon lost altitude and dropped by about 19500 feet. This drop in height is now famously called the Big Drop. They were fortunate enough to have the envelope of their hot air balloon heated up by the sun. They gained altitude and reached a historic height of 24,900 feet. When they were flying over Ireland, they threw of some stuff from the basket like oxygen canisters and batteries in order to reduce the weight. They finally landed in France successfully in a small town by the name of Evereux.