Category Archives: History

David Levin (1948 – 2017)

David Levin (1948 - 2017)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.

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First human in the Space on 12 April 1961

On 12 April 1961, the Vostok 3KA-3 (Vostok 1) spacecraft with Gagarin aboard was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome. Gagarin thus became both the first human to travel into space, and the first to orbit the Earth. His call sign was Kedr (Russian: Кедр, Siberian pine or Cedar).

Yuri Gagarin

Picture: Time Covers – The 60S, Boris Chaliapin, from the Life.com collection

The radio communication between the launch control room and Gagarin included the following dialogue at the moment of rocket launch: Continue reading

Richard Abruzzo made the first transcontinental solo balloon flight in the USA

Richard AbruzzoHe flew from Torrey Pines, San Diego in California to Waverley, Georgia in 73 hours 20mins, a distance of 2074kms. The balloon was gas balloon Abruzzo GROM-1. Reg. N96YD,landing on February 5th 2003. On the weekend of the flight, the equipment was driven to California from Albuquerque by crewmembers Leonard Saiz and Jeremy Dorcas. They also provided the retrieve for the flight. The sandbags were filled and the system was assembled on Saturday. It all finally came together and the balloon was launched exactly at 12:00 noon PST. Continue reading

Largest Montgolfier hot-air balloon ever made, Le Flesselle in 1784

Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier with Joseph Montgolfier, he was one of six passengers on a second flight on 19 January 1784, with a huge Montgolfier balloon Le Flesselles launched from Lyon. Four French nobles paid for the trip, including a prince.

largest Montgolfier hot-air balloon ever made - Le Flesselle

On January 19, 1784, the largest Montgolfier hot-air balloon ever made, “Le Flesselle,” made an ascent at Lyons, France. This engraving depicts two scenes from the event.

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26 November 2005: Indian Tycoon Vijaypat Singhania sets World Balloon Altitude Record 21 km

B-42, MUM-290301 - MARCH 29, 2005 -  MUMBAI: VIJAYPAT SINGHANIA CHAIRMAN EMERITUS RAYMONDS GROUP AND AVIATOR ANNOUNCES HIS NEW HOT AIR BALLOON ADVENTURE IN MUMBAI ON TUESDAY. PTI PHOTO

B-42, MUM-290301 – MARCH 29, 2005 – MUMBAI: VIJAYPAT SINGHANIA CHAIRMAN EMERITUS RAYMONDS GROUP AND AVIATOR ANNOUNCES HIS NEW HOT AIR BALLOON ADVENTURE IN MUMBAI ON TUESDAY. PTI PHOTO

The record by Vijaypat Singhania is subject to verification, but his son Gautam Singhania said the 44-ton balloon climbed nearly 70,000 feet, beating the old mark of just under 65,000 feet.

“This goes to show to the world that we are not bullock cart drivers, but we can compete against the best of the world,” the balloonist said.

One of the balloon’s designers said the height will be determined by instruments sealed inside the capsule. Once verified by aeronautical groups, the findings will be submitted to Guinness World Records. The 67-year-old balloonist landed safely after a nearly five-hour flight inside a pressurized cabin suspended from the 160-foot-high, multicolored balloon. The flight was carried live on Indian national television.

“The exact height reached was 69,852 feet. This is subject to certification,” said Colin Prescott, one of two British designers of the balloon. The previous world record was 64,997 feet, set by Sweden’s Per Lindstrand in Plano, Texas, in June 1988. Hundreds of jubilant villagers crowded around the balloon to congratulate Singhania.

“When I broke the record, I was euphoric. I screamed quite loudly,” he said.

Singhania lifted off from downtown Bombay and landed safely on barren land near Panchale, a village about 150 miles south of Bombay.

Singhania, the chairman emeritus of the Raymond Group, one of India’s leading textile companies, also set a record for ultralight aviation 17 years ago when he flew 6,000 miles from Britain to India in 23 days.

Do you know the standard marker falling speed?

Only 25% of the answer was right. Not a very good result…

In 1977 Bruce Comstock found marker speed to be 3000 ft/minute.

“Soon we were timing the fall of scoring markers from our balloons. We discovered that a standard marker fell about 3,000 feet per minute. I then built the first drop sight– two pieces of rigid quarter-inch plastic sheet hinged together. One piece included level sight tubes so it could be kept level. The other could be set to a downward angle according to a scale calibrated in miles per hour of average wind speed. In flight I would set the wind speed on the scale and then sight along the tilted piece until the target was in line with it, at which point I would release the drop marker. This worked, but the device was big and clumsy. Not long after, David designed and built two beautiful pistol-shaped, varnished hardwood drop sights with level sight tubes and wind speed scales. I made a padded “holster” for mine, which I tied into the inside of my basket, ready to use. I used this drop sight for the rest of the years I competed. No single tool wins balloon competitions, but I am sure this drop sight got me points when I needed to use it.”
Comstock, Bruce (2013-10-23). A Life in the Air (Kindle Locations 1189-1195). Willow Press.

“I just studied my archives and found a marker drop altitude&time table written by myself. It is based on marker falling speed of 3000 ft/min. Time of writing: 1985-1987.

Same as reported by Comstock.”

Risto Jalava

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Antal Notheisz passed away

Notheisz Antal passed away

Antal Notheisz

It is with great regret that we must inform you that Antal Notheisz, well known as the founder of the Notheisz Balloon Ltd, passed away on 9th July 2015.

He and his company produced hundreds of hot air balloons from 1980. These balloons flew many countries in Europe and some of them was the first hot air balloon in few countries.

We present our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to his grief-stricken Family and to his friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Auguste Piccard made his first balloon altitude record

Auguste Piccard and Paul Kipfer

Paul Kipfer and August Piccard prepare to enter the stratosphere in a pressurized gondola lifted by a hydrogen filled balloon on May 27th, 1931.1

In 1930, an interest in ballooning, and a curiosity about the upper atmosphere led him to design a spherical, pressurized aluminum gondola that would allow ascent to great altitude without requiring a pressure suit. Supported by the Belgian Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS) Piccard constructed his gondola.

An important motivation for his research in the upper atmosphere were measurements of cosmic radiation, which were supposed to give experimental evidence for the theories of Albert Einstein, whom Piccard knew from the Solvay conferences and who was a fellow alumnus of ETH.

Auguste Piccard in 1932

Auguste Piccard in 1932

On 27 May 1931, Auguste Piccard and Paul Kipfer took off from Augsburg, Germany, and reached a record altitude of 15,781 m (51,775 ft). (FAI Record File Number 10634) During this flight, Piccard was able to gather substantial data on the upper atmosphere, as well as measure cosmic rays. On 18 August 1932, launched from Dübendorf, Switzerland, Piccard and Max Cosyns made a second record-breaking ascent to 16,201 m (53,153 ft). (FAI Record File Number 6590) He ultimately made a total of twenty-seven balloon flights, setting a final record of 23,000 m (75,459 ft)

 

 

Montgolfier day – 231 years ago the World changed!

Montgolfier day – 231 years ago the World changed!

Montgolfier_231

Picture by Bennie Bos

Happy Montgolfier Day Everyone!
On the 21st November 1783, Pilâtre de Rozier & the Marquis d’Arlandes, made the first, manned, free ascent in a balloon, flying the Montgolfier Brothers built aerostat for about 5.5 miles (9 km) in approximately 25 minutes.
Benjamin Franklin wrote in his journal about witnessing the balloon take off: ‘We observed it lift off in the most majestic manner. When it reached around 250 feet in altitude, the intrepid voyagers lowered their hats to salute the spectators. We could not help feeling a certain mixture of awe and admiration.’

The conquest of the skies – balloon history from 1870

The First Aerial Voyage

The First Aerial Voyage

“The title of our introduction to aeronautics may appear ambitious to astronomers, and to those who know that the infinite space we call the heavens is for ever inaccessible to travellers from the earth; but it was not so considered by those who witnessed the ardent enthusiasm evoked at the ascension of the first balloon. No discovery, in the whole range of history, has elicited an equal degree of applause and admiration—never has the genius of man won a triumph which at first blush seemed more glorious. The mathematical and physical sciences had in aeronautics achieved apparently their greatest honours, and inaugurated a new era in the progress of knowledge. After having subjected the earth to their power; after having made the waves of the sea stoop in submission under the keels of their ships; after having caught the lightning of heaven and made it subservient to the ordinary purposes of life, the genius of man undertook to conquer the regions of the air. Imagination, intoxicated with past successes, could descry no limit to human power; the gates of the infinite seemed to be swinging back before man’s advancing step, and the last was believed to be the greatest of his achievements.

Balloon of the Marquis D'Arlandes

Balloon of the Marquis D’Arlandes

In order to comprehend the frenzy of the enthusiasm which the first aeronautic triumphs called forth, it is necessary to recall the appearance of Montgolfier at Versailles, on the 19th of September, 1783, before Louis XVI, or of the earliest aeronauts at the Tuileries. Paris hailed the first of these men with the greatest acclaim, “and then, as now,” says a French writer, “the voice of Paris gave the cue to France, and France to the world!” Nobles and artisans, scientific men and badauds, great and small, were moved with one universal impulse. In the streets the praises of the balloon were sung; in the libraries models of it abounded; and in the salons the one universal topic was the great “machine.” In anticipation, the poet delighted himself with bird’s-eye views of the scenery of strange countries; the prisoner mused on what might be a new way of escape; the physicist visited the laboratory in which the lightning and the meteors were manufactured; the geometrician beheld the plans of cities and the outlines of kingdoms; the general discovered the position of the enemy or rained shells on the besieged town; the police beheld a new mode in which to carry on the secret service; Hope heralded a new conquest from the domain of nature, and the historian registered a new chapter in the annals of human knowledge.”

The Destruction of Charles's Balloon

The Destruction of Charles’s Balloon

The full book here: WONDERFUL BALLOON ASCENTS or, the Conquest of the Skies A History of Balloons and Balloon Voyages – By F. Marion 1870.