Famous Journeys in Hot Air Balloons

There have been some famous hot air balloon journeys that have been made with people attempting to travel across land and even across oceans. The very first recorded manned flight in a hot air balloon was achieved in October 1783. The balloon was however tethered and it was not until November of that same year that the first untethered hot air balloon flight took place.  François Laurent d’Arlandes and Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier flew out for just under 30 minutes to the suburbs surrounding Paris after lifting off from the central region of the city. This was an incredible accomplishment at that time.

The first recorded long distance flight by hot air balloon was in Charles Green flew a distance of 500 miles for 18 hours from Vauxhall Gardens to Weilburg in Nassau. The balloon was named Royal Vauxhall and the journey went down in history as a remarkable achievement. One of the earliest attempts to cross the ocean was in 1958 when four people from Britain attempted to fly across the Atlantic Ocean from Tenerife.  They made it 1200 nautical miles flying in a westerly direction. Unfortunately they were forced to land in Barbados so did not make it all the way across the Atlantic but still travelled an impressive distance. Many subsequent adventurers attempted to cross the ocean by balloon but ended up failing.

It was not until twenty years later in 1978 that a hot air balloon named the Double Eagle II successfully transited the Atlantic Ocean. Three balloonists travelled a total distance of 3,120 miles taking 137 hours. The path they took was west to east unlike the 1958 balloonists. They did have problems with staying afloat and difficult weather conditions at times. However they were able to finally and successfully land in France after leaving from Maine in the United States. They landed on dry land which was also a record as no transcontinental balloon prior to that time had landed on land.

It took many years before anyone was able to successfully complete a solo trip across the Atlantic in a hot air balloon. This was finally accomplished by the American hot air balloonist Steve Fossett on his seventh attempt in July 2002. He used both helium and hot air to power his balloon that was 10 stories high. He actually broke the record for the fastest speed as well at a speed of 200 miles per hour, also set in the same July 2002 trip.

Brian Jones and Bertran Piccard

Brian Jones and Bertran Piccard were the first people to travel nonstop around the world in a hot air balloon. They achieved this incredible feat in 1999 after leaving from the Swiss Alps in March of that year. At one point their balloon named the Breitling Orbiter 3 was moving at about 130 miles an hour because of the Jetstream. They were able to land successfully in the country of Mauritania in Africa just 20 days after their journey had begun. They flew an astonishing 42,810 km around the world.