auuuu Index
Early Balloons
Military Use of Balloons
Scientific Use of Balloons
Ballooning as a Sport
Ballooning Records
Long-distance records
Zero-pressure balloons
Superpressure Balloons
Uses of Scientific Balloons

Long-distance records

With the conquest of the Atlantic, the next major challenge for balloon adventurers was to circumnavigate the globe. The zero-pressure balloon with its maximum duration of seven days could not be used for a flight that would take at least two weeks. The English balloon manufacturers, Lindstrand Balloons Ltd. and Cameron Balloons Ltd., both determined that the Roziere balloon, a 200-year-old concept of combining a bag filled with lighter-than-air gas and a hot-air balloon, would last the necessary two weeks. The Lindstrand Roziere balloons consisted of a spherical helium bag with a hot-air cone attached below it. The hot air in the cone heated the helium bag to provide lift, and additional lift was obtained from the heated air in the cone. The Cameron Roziere balloons used a helium bag covered by an outer shell that was separated from the helium bag by a small balloon on top. Hot air flowed over the entire bag when the burners were ignited.

The burners on the Roziere-type balloons were used to maintain altitude at night when helium in the gas bag cooled, becoming denser, and therefore tending to cause the balloon to sink. Changing altitude to take advantage of more favorable winds or to avoid bad weather was accomplished by heating air to ascend or releasing helium gas to descend.

In 1997 the Anheuser-Busch Corporation provided a financial incentive by announcing a $1-million prize for the first piloted balloon to circumnavigate the globe without landing. Several teams of balloonists attempted to win the prize using Roziere balloons designed by Cameron. Three attempts were made in Lindstrand-designed Roziere balloons.

In March 1999 Swiss psychiatrist Bertrand Piccard, grandson of famed balloonist and physicist Auguste Piccard, and British pilot Brian Jones became the first persons to succeed, claiming the $1-million prize. Their journey in the Breitling Orbiter 3, a Cameron Roziere balloon, lasted 19 days 21 hours. The balloon was launched from Switzerland. With excellent wind forecasts and skillful piloting, both of which enabled the balloonists to take advantage of favorable winds, the two men circled the Earth from west to east, landing in Egypt.

In July 2002 American investment executive Steve Fossett became the first person to circle the world on a nonstop solo flight, using a Cameron Roziere balloon. His journey in the Spirit of Freedom lasted 14 days 20 hours, traveling 33,972 km (21,109 mi) from Kalgoorlie, Australia, to Queensland in northeastern Australia.

Hot air ballooning

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