David is the only balloon pilot to have won both the Hot Air and Gas Balloon World Championships and he completed the “triple crown” of ballooning by winning the prestigious Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett in 1992. He has also won the U.S. National Championships in both Gas and Hot Air. Other wins include the 1988 Trans-Australia Balloon Challenge, 1990 Canadian Open National Championship, 1994 Alpine Balloon Trophy in Austria and the 1996 America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race in Albuquerque. His last win was the 2000 America’s Challenge with a flight of 1,998 miles, flying from Albuquerque to Gorham, Maine in 66 hours. David retired from balloon competition after the World Air Games in Seville, Spain in 2001.
James Gordon Bennett Jr. (May 10, 1841 – May 14, 1918) was publisher of the New York Herald, founded by his father, James Gordon Bennett Sr., who emigrated from Scotland. He was generally known as Gordon Bennett to distinguish him from his father. Among his many sports-related accomplishments he organized both the first polo match and the first tennis match in the United States, and he personally won the first trans-oceanic yacht race. He sponsored explorers including Henry Morton Stanley’s trip to Africa to find David Livingstone, and the ill-fated USS Jeannette attempt on the North Pole. Continue reading