Synopses & Reviews
In this dramatic and inspiring account, Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones, the pilots of the Breitling Orbiter 3 balloon, tell the remarkable story of their record-breaking, first-ever around-the-world balloon flight in March 1999, one of the great feats of human endurance. By the time Piccard and Jones took off from Switzerland on March 1, they had already faced many problems and delays, and the prospects of winning the race around the world looked dima rival balloon was many days ahead of them. Then, just as they were about to cancel their attempt, a perfect weather window opened up, and they were off. As their rivals faltered and ditched in the ocean, Piccard and Jones caught the jet-stream winds for an exciting and perilous ride. During their 30,000-mile voyage, they survived many crises: for two days they lost all communication with the world below; during one terrifying day, gasping to catch their breath, they were told they were being poisoned by unidentified fumes; at 35,000 feet upwith the outside temperature at -58° Ftheir heating failed and water froze inside their tiny gondola, no bigger than a minivan. Most harrowing of all was their six-and-a-half-day journey across the Pacific on a daring southern route that took them so far from land that had they ditched, there would have been almost no chance of rescue. By the time they reached the Gulf of Mexico, their fuel was desperately low, and their decision to carry on across the Atlantic was driven by their sense of what they describe as an "invisible hand" that brought them repeated strokes of good fortune. Using their logbook and journals, as well as photographs taken on board, Piccard and Jones have brought their marathon flight vividly to life. capturing the emotion of their many moments of high tension, as well as the uplifting humor and camaraderie, both between the pilots and with their ground crew. which helped them persevere. Their account tells the story of a great adventure, and shows how two very different characters forged a unique relationship in the most challenging circumstances of their lives.
In this dramatic narrative, adventurers Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones, the pilots of the Breitling Orbiter 3 balloon, recount their record-breaking, first-ever around-the-world balloon flight in March 1999. During their 30,000-mile voyage, they faced many unexpected challenges and near-disasters, including a harrowing six-and-a-half-day trip across the Pacific when the balloon came dangerously close to plunging into the ocean. Using their logbook and journals, as well as photographs taken on board, Piccard and Jones have brought their marathon flight vividly to life, capturing the emotion of their many moments of high tension, as well as the humor and camaraderie that helped them persevere.
The Story of the First-Ever Round-the-World Balloon Flight As Told by the Pilots "Both of us were being driven on by a colossal charge of hope, which sometimes became so strong that we had to take deep breaths and physically choke it down. The important thing, now, was to concentrate and not make any mistakes." Brian Jones, March 4, flying over the Sahara Desert "This is exactly my definition of adventure
a point at which you cannot avoid confronting the unknown, so that you have to dig inside yourself to find the courage and resources to deal with what may lie ahead, and to succeed." Bertrand Piccard, diary entry March 10, heading out over the Pacific
About the Author
BERTRAND PICCARD (left), 41, is a medical doctor specializing in psychiatry. He comes from a family of scientific explorers: His grandfather was the first man to reach the stratosphere in a balloon, while his father dove to the deepest part of the ocean in a bathyscaphe. After he had become a hang-glider champion, he originated the Breitling Orbiter project and was the pilot in command of all three attempts. He lives in Lausanne, Switzerland. BRIAN JONES (right), 52, spent thirteen years with Englands Royal Air Force. He developed a passion for flying balloons in 1986, became an instructor in 1989, and is now the United Kingdoms chief flying instructor. He worked on the Breitling Orbiter 2 attempt and was the project manager for Breitling Orbiter 3. Originally the backup pilot, he was instated as pilot just weeks before launch. He lives in Wiltshire, England.
Table of Contents
In the Blood.
Fresh Air Over Africa.