September 30, 1906

first Gordon-Bennett Balloon Race

the world's most prestigious balloon race was held in Paris and won by Americans Lt. Frank P. Lahm (1877-1963) and Maj. H. B. Hersey which landed at Searborough, England after travelling 647.98 km.

December 25, 1907

first balloon crossing of the delta mouth of the Rio de la Plata (Argentina)

Aaron de Anchorena (1877-1965) flew with the balloon "Pampero"

June 24, 1916

first balloon crossing of the Andes

Eduardo Bradley and Angelo Zuloaga flew with their balloon "Edward Newbery"

May 27, 1931

first manned balloon flight to the stratosphere

Prof. Auguste Piccard (1884-1962), a belgian-swiss scientist, and Paul Kipfer travelled up in the first air-tight pressurized gondola of the balloon OO-BFH "FNRS" to an altitude of 15,781 meters. They launched from Augsburg (Germany) and made a forced landing  in the Obergurgl glacier in Austria.

August 18, 1932

Piccard's second stratospheric flight

Prof. Auguste Piccard and M. Cosins soared into the stratosphere in their balloon, OO-BFH "FNRS", and set a new altitude record of 52,498 feet (16,940 m).
They launched from aerodrome of Duebendorf and landed after ca. 12 hours on the Po plain in Italy.

September 30, 1933

first soviet stratospheric flight

Soviet scientists G. Prokofyev, E. Birnbaum and K. Godunov launched with the stratospheric balloon "CCCP-1" ("USSR-VR-62") and reached a hight of 19,000 m.

January 30, 1934

second soviet stratospheric flight

scientists I. Usyskin, A. Vasenko and P. Fedoseyenko launched with the stratospheric balloon "Ossoviachim-1" and reached a hight of 22,000 m but the balloon fell down and all men died in this accident

November 11, 1935

american stratospheric flight with a new altitude record

 A. W. Stephens and O. A. Anderson launched from the "stratobowl" in South Dakota in a huge (3.7 million cubic feet, 84,000 m³) helium gas balloon "Explorer II" and reached a hight of  72,395 feet (22,612 m). This altitude record remained for 21 years.

April 13, 1963

first crossing of the English Channel in a hot air balloon

Ed Yost and Don Piccard flew 3 hours and 17 minutes with their hot air balloon "Channel Champ" from England (launched in Rye, Sussex) to France (landed at St Georges near Gravelines du Nord).

February 10 - 17, 1973

first hot air balloon world championship

in the first world championship in Albuquerque, NM, USA took part 30 competitors. The first world champion was Dennis Flodden from USA.

September 11 - 19, 1976

first gas balloon world championship

the first gas balloon championship took place in Augsburg, Germany an the winner was the swiss team Peter Peterka / Jean-Paul Kuenzi.

August 12-17, 1978

first balloon crossing of the Atlantic

 Maxie Anderson (1934-1983), Ben Abruzzo (1930-1985) and Larry Newman flew in the gas balloon "Double Eagle II" from Presque Isle, Maine (USA) to Evreux (France) in 5 days 17 hours 6 min
(Great Circle distance: 5.001 km / 3.108 miles)

May 8-12, 1980

first balloon crossing of the North American continent

American Maxie Anderson and his son Kris flew in the gas balloon "Kitty Hawk" from Fort Baker, CA (USA) to Ste. Felicite, Quebec (Canada) in 4 days 3 hours 54 min
(Great Circle distance: 4.543 km / 2.823 miles)

November 10-12, 1981

first balloon crossing of the Pacific

Ben Abruzzo, Larry Newman, Ron Clark (all USA), and Rocky Aoki (Japan) crossed Pacific in 3 days 12 hours and 31 minutes with their thirteen-story high gas balloon "Double Eagle V". They launched from Nagashima (Japan) and landed in Mendocino National Forest, Covelo, California (USA)
(Great Circle distance: 8.383 km / 5.209 miles)


July 26, 1983

first Gordon-Bennett Cup after the 2nd World War

on the 200th anniversary of the first balloon flight was resumed in Paris the Coupe Aeronautique de Gordon-Bennett after a 44-years-break. The winner of this race was the polish team Stefan Makné / Ireneusz Cieslak which landing with their balloon SP-BZO "Polonez" after a 690 km flight near Regensburg, Germany

September 14-18, 1984

first solo balloon crossing of the Atlantic

Col. Joe W. Kittinger flew in his helium-filled balloon "Rosie O'Grady's Balloon of Peace" 5.703 km / 3.544 miles (Great Circle) from Caribou, Maine (USA) to Montenotte (Italy). The flight lasted 3 days 11 hours 45 min.

August 31 - September 2, 1986

first Roziere balloon crossing of the Atlantic

Dutch pilots Henk Brink, Evilien Brink and Willem Hageman flew in the Roziere Balloon "Dutch Viking" from St. Johns to Almere (Netherlands) in 51 hours 14 min.
(Great Circle distance: 4.058 km / 2.522 miles)

July 2-3, 1987

first hot air balloon crossing of the Atlantic

At 08:10 am UTC launched Per Lindstrand and Richard Branson with their hot air balloon G-USUK "Virgin Atlantic Flyer" (at that time the world's largest balloon - 60,521 m²)  from Sugar Loaf Mountain, Maine (USA) and flew in 31 hours 41 minutes to Limavady (North Ireland)
(landing on July 3 at 15:51 UTC, Great Circle distance: 4.487 km / 2.788 miles)

January 15-17, 1991

first hot air balloon crossing of the Pacific

Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand launched with the hot air balloon "Virgin Pacific Flyer" from Miyakonojo (Japan) and landed after 46 hours 200 miles north of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories (Canada)
(Great Circle: 7.672 km / 4.767 miles; Track: 10.885 km / 6.764 miles)

October 21, 1991

first overflight of Mt Everest in a hot air balloon

Two hot air ballons launched at 6:40 h from Gokyo (Nepal): "Star Flyer I" with Chris Dewhurst, Leo Dickinson and "Star Flyer II" with Andy Elson, Eric Jones. First flew "Star Flyer I" over Mt. Everest and then "Star Flyer II". Both landed after 1 hour 20 min in a plateau south-east of Sar, Tibet. They flew 37 km and set further two records with this flight: the highest launch (15,536 ft; 4,735 metres) and highest touch-down (16,200 feet; 4,940 metres)

February, 9-14 1992

 first crossing of the Atlantic in an East-West direction

Jesus Gonzales Green and Tomas Feliu Rius (Spain) flew with their Rozier balloon  "La Ciudad de Huelva" from the Canarian Island El Hierro (Spain) to Maturin (Venezuela) in 5 days 9 hours 10 min.
(Great Circle distance: 5.046 km / 3.135 miles)

September 16-22, 1992

longest non-stop balloon flight till that time

Americans Richard Abruzzo and Troy Bradley flew in "Chrysler 5" 6 days and 16 minutes from Bangor, Maine (USA) to near Casablanca Morocco in a Rozier balloon during the First Transatlantic Balloon Race.
(Great Circle distance: 5.340 km / 3.318 miles)

Juni 18, 1993

first balloon flight across Australia

Australians Richard Smith and John Wallington flew in the balloon "Australian Geographic Flyer" 40 hours and 20 min from Carnarvon to Tabulam.
(Great Circle distance: 3.867 km / 2.403 miles)

February 17-21, 1995

first solo balloon crossing of the Pacific

American Steven Fossett launched from Seoul (South Korea) and flew 4 days 8 hours 14 min in the balloon "Pacific Peregrine" to Mendham, Saskatchewan (Canada)
(Great Circle: 8.748 km / 5.436 miles; Track: 9.900 km / 6.152 miles)

December 12, 1995

first free balloon flight on the Antarctic continent

American Bill Arras launched at 9:25 am with his hot air balloon N51158 "JIMI" from Patriot Hills camp

April 21, 1996

first solo flight at the Geographical North Pole by Hot Air Balloon

Austrian pilot Ivan André Trifonov made this first solo flight

August 7-16, 1998

first Indian Ocean and South Atlantic crossing

It was the 4th Round the World attempt by Steven Fossett. He flown solo with his balloon "Solo Spirit 3" in 8 days 13 hours 59 min from Malvinas Soccer Stadium in Mendoza (Argentina) to near Chesterfields Islands in Pacific.
(Great Circle: 22.910 km / 14.236 miles; Track: 24.494 km / 15.220 miles)

December 18-25, 1998

first Asia crossing in balloon

Per Lindstrand (Sweden), Richard Branson (UK) and Steven Fossett (USA) launched in Marrakech (Morocco) to their Round the World attempt and flown in "ICO Global Challenger" in 7 days 9 hours 57 min over 21 countries to near Oahu Island (Hawaii).
(Great Circle: 19.962 km / 12.404 miles; Track: 21.500 km / 13.359 miles)

March 1 - 21, 1999

first nonstop circumnavigation of the world by balloon

the pilots Bertrand Piccard (Swiss) and Brian Jones (Briton) took off with their great balloon "Breitling Orbiter 3" at 8:05 GMT from Chateau d'Oex in the Swiss Alps and flew over Italy, Mediterranean, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Red Sea, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Arabian Sea, India, Bangladesh, Burma, China, Taiwan, Pacific, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, WSW of Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Atlantic, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Algeria, Niger and Egypt. After 19 days, 21 hours and 47 minutes aloft they landed at ca. 9:00 GMT in a remote desert site in Western Egypt, near of Mut. The covered distance was 45.755 km / 28.431 miles (track). They passed their round-the-world finishing point on March 20 at 9:54 GMT, when they flew over a point at 9 degrees 27 minutes west longitude in Mauritania.
(Great Circle distance: 40.814 km / 25.361 miles)

p r e v i o u s   p a r t

© Markus Wydera  -  e-mail:

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