Bertrand Piccard, a Swiss psychiatrist, and Brian Jones, an English ballooning instructor, accomplished a nonstop circumnavigation of the world in a balloon in 1999. They launched from Chateau-D’Oex, Switzerland on March 1, 1999, but the circumnavigation officially began when the ballon was over Mauritania, in northwestern Africa, (9 degrees 27 minutes west longitude). This was where they grabbed a jet stream eastward across Africa, South Asia, the Pacific Ocean, Central America, and the Atlantic Ocean crossing the finishline above Mauritania, Africa at 6:00 Greenwich Mean Time (4:54 AM Eastern Standard Time), then continued across Africa to Egypt, landing in the desert near Luxor, which was several hundred miles south of the target landing spot near the pyramids of Giza. This flight was sponsored by the Swiss watch manufacturer Breitling, had a ground crew of 13, using computer modelling and satellite communications to direct the balloons flight.
Additional info of Bertrand Piccard:
- He is the grandson of Auguste Piccard, a pioneer aeronaut and inventor of the pressurized ballon gondola
- He is the son of Jacques Piccard, a deep-sea explorer.
March 1st – 21st 1999
Start: Mauritania, in northwestern Africa
Finish: Mauritania, in northwestern Africa
Breitling Orbiter 3,
a hybrid helium and hot-air balloon
180 feet (55 meters) high when fully inflated
130 miles (209 kilometres) per hour
19 days 21 hours 55 minutes
29,055 miles (46,749 kilometres)
Cameron Balloons in Bristol, England
- Breitling Orbiter – wikipedia
Breitling Orbiter 3 was the first balloon to fly around the world non-stop, piloted by Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones. Designed and built by Cameron Balloons, of Bristol, England, Breitling Orbiter 3 stood 55 m (180 ft) tall when fully inflated.
- Breitling Orbiter website
When the Breitling Orbiter 3 touched down in Egypt on 21st March 1999, after the first successful circumnavigation of the world, my life changed dramatically.
- Breitling Orbiter 3: GOSH Documentary – YouTube