Gordon Bennett Cup (ballooning)

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Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett
A silver statue of a gas balloon
Award details
Sport Gas ballooning
English name Gordon Bennett Cup
History
First award September 30, 1906
Editions 58
First winner Frank Purdy Lahm
Most wins Josef Starkbaum (seven)
Most recent Wilhelm Eimers, Matthias Zenge (August 30, 2014)

The Gordon Bennett Cup (or Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett) is the world's oldest gas balloon race, and is "regarded as the premier event of world balloon racing" according to the Los Angeles Times.[1][2] Referred to as the "Blue Ribbon" of aeronautics, the first race started from Paris, France, on September 30, 1906.[3] The event was sponsored by James Gordon Bennett, Jr., the millionaire sportsman and owner of the New York Herald newspaper.[4] According to the organizers, the aim of the contest "is simple: to fly the furthest distance from the launch site."[4] The contest ran from 1906 to 1938, interrupted by World War I and in 1931, but was suspended in 1939 when the hosts, Poland, were invaded at the start of World War II. The event was not resurrected until 1979, when American Tom Heinsheimer, an atmospheric physicist, gained permission from the holders to host the trophy.[5] The competition was not officially reinstated by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) until 1983.[6]

The record time for the winner of the event is held by Germans Wilhelm Eimers and Bernd Landsmann who remained airborne for over 92 hours in the 1995 race,[7] taking off from Switzerland and landing four days later in Latvia. The distance record is held by the Belgian duo of Bob Berben and Benoît Siméons who, in 2005, piloted their balloon 3,400 kilometers (2,100 mi) from Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States, to Squatec, Quebec, Canada.[7] The most successful pilot is Austrian Josef Starkbaum who won the trophy seven times between 1985 and 1993, while American teams have won on the most occasions, with twelve victories.

The 2010 competition started in the United Kingdom, with the balloons departing from Bristol on September 25. The race was marred by the disappearance of the American team during a storm over the Adriatic Sea on October 1.[8] The balloon was missing until December 6, when a fishing vessel found the cabin containing the pilots' bodies off the coast of Italy.[9] The 2013 event, departing from France and landing in Portugal, was again won by the French in F-PPGB.[10]

Rules[edit]

According to the official rules, the competition is open to all National Aero Clubs (NACs) "who have met their obligations to the FAI", with each NAC being allowed to enter up to three teams whose pilots are of the same nationality as the NAC.[11] Before this, only two teams from any single NAC were permitted to compete in a single competition.[12] Pilots should have at least 50 hours experience as pilot in command and be authorized for night-time flying. At least one member of each team must be capable of communicating with Air Traffic Control in English.[11]

The team who wins the contest receives the Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett trophy and the team's NAC will hold the contest two years later (originally the winning NAC would host the competition the following year). Any NAC winning the cup in three consecutive races will be the final holder of the cup with the subsequent option to offer a new cup.[13]

Unofficial events[edit]

Resurrected in 1979 by American Tom Heinsheimer, the competition was held without official FAI sanction for four years. Ben Abruzzo and Maxie Anderson secured victory piloting Double Eagle III 987 kilometers (613 mi) in 47 hours from California to Colorado.[5] The following year, the winning team of Jerry Tepper and Corky Myers floated 862 kilometers (536 mi) from the takeoff point in California.[14] The 1981 race was won again by Abruzzo, with different co-pilot Rocky Aoki, who covered 2,168 kilometers (1,347 mi) before touching down,[15] while the 1982 race was won by Joe Kittinger and Charles Knapp who piloted Rosie O'Grady 1,423 kilometers (884 mi).[15] Heinsheimer attempted to gain the copyright over the name "Gordon Bennett" and run the event without FAI sanction. However the FAI were granted exclusive rights to the name in 1983, and the organization officially reinstated the competition later that year.[6] Heinsheimer went on to arrange further contests in the United States which were still reported in the national press as being the "Gordon Bennett Balloon Race" or similar.[16][17][18]

Incidents[edit]

In 1923, five competitors were killed when they were struck by lightning while six more were injured in storms. Among the dead were Lieutenants John W. Choptaw and Robert S. Olmsted who were killed when their balloon "US Army S6" crashed in Loosbroek, Netherlands.[19][20][21] Sixty years later, in 1983, Americans Maxie Anderson and Don Ida were killed as the gondola detached from their balloon during an attempt to avoid crossing into East German airspace.[22] Anderson and Ida were participating in the "Coupe Charles et Robert" (named for Jacques Charles and the Robert brothers, inventors of the gas balloon) which was run in parallel with the Gordon Bennett Cup. Following their deaths, the "Coupe Charles et Robert" was never run again.[12]

On September 12, 1995, three gas balloons participating in the race entered Belarusian air space. Despite the fact that competition organizers had informed the Belarusian Government about the race in May and that flight plans had been filed, a Mil Mi-24B attack helicopter of the Belarusian Air Force shot down one balloon,[1][23] killing two American citizens, Alan Fraenckel and John Stuart-Jervis.[2][24] Another of the balloons was forced to land while the third landed safely over two hours after the initial downing. The crews of the two balloons were fined for entering Belarus without a visa and released. Belarus has neither apologized nor offered compensation for the deaths.[25]

On September 29, 2010, the 2004 trophy-winning American team of Richard Abruzzo and Carol Rymer Davis went missing in thunderstorms over the Adriatic Sea.[26] On September 30, the USA retrieval crew suggested that the balloon may have ditched in the sea or have been destroyed by lightning.[27] Debris was found on October 1 by search crews but race control determined that it was not from the missing balloon.[28] Despite this, organizers later stated that the final calculated rate of descent of the balloon had been about 50 miles per hour (80 km/h), and that the team's survival was "unlikely".[29] The search for the missing pair was called off on October 4.[8] The balloon's cabin containing the bodies was recovered by an Italian fishing boat on December 6.[9]

Official winners[edit]

Key

Record breaking flights are denoted by the following:

Record
Edition Date[A] Starting point Crew Country Balloon name Time
(hh:mm)
Distance
(km)
1 September 30, 1906 Tuileries, Paris (France) Lahm, FrankFrank Lahm, Henry Hersey  USA United States 22:15 641.10
2 October 27, 1907 St. Louis (United States) Erbslöh, OscarOscar Erbslöh, Henry Helm Clayton  Germany Pommern 40:00 1,403.55
3 October 11, 1908 Berlin (Germany) Schaek, TheodorTheodor Schaek, Emil Messner   Switzerland Helvetia 73:01 1,190.00
4 October 3, 1909 Zürich (Switzerland) Mix, Edgar W.Edgar W. Mix, Andre Roussel  USA America II 35:07 1,121.11
5 October 17, 1910 St. Louis (United States) Ramsay Hawley, AlanAlan Ramsay Hawley, Augustus Post  USA America II 44:25 1,887.60
6 October 5, 1911 Kansas City (United States) Gericke, HansHans Gericke, Otto Duncker  Germany Berlin II 12:28 757.84
7 October 27, 1912 Stuttgart (Germany) Bienaimé, MauriceMaurice Bienaimé, René Rumpelmayer  France La Picardie 45:42 2,191.00
8 October 12, 1913 Paris (France) Upson, Ralph HazlettRalph Hazlett Upson Ralph Albion Drury Preston  USA Goodyear 43:30 618.00
9 October 23, 1920 Birmingham (United States) Demuyter, ErnestErnest Demuyter, Mathieu Labrousse  Belgium Belgica 40:15 1,769.00
10 September 18, 1921 Brussels (Belgium) Armbruster, PaulPaul Armbruster, Louis Ansermier   Switzerland Zürich 27:24 766.00
11 August 6, 1922 Geneva (Switzerland) Demuyter, ErnestErnest Demuyter, Alexander Veenstra  Belgium Belgica 25:49 1,372.10
12 September 23, 1923 Brussels (Belgium) Demuyter, ErnestErnest Demuyter, Leon Coeckelbergh  Belgium Belgica 21:00 1,155.00
13 June 15, 1924 Brussels (Belgium) Demuyter, ErnestErnest Demuyter, Leon Coeckelbergh  Belgium Belgica 43:16 714.00
14 June 7, 1925 Brussels (Belgium) Veenstra, AlexanderAlexander Veenstra, Philippe Quersin  Belgium Prince Leopold 47:30 1,345.00
15 May 30, 1926 Antwerp (Belgium) Van Orman, WardWard Van Orman, Walter W. Morton  USA Goodyear III 16:37 864.00
16 September 10, 1927 Detroit (United States) Hill, Edward J.Edward J. Hill, Arthur G. Schlosser  USA Detroit 48:00 1,198.00
17 June 30, 1928 Detroit (United States) Kepner, William ElsworthWilliam Elsworth Kepner, William Olmstead Eareckson  USA US Army 48:00 740.80
18 September 28, 1929 St. Louis (United States) Van Orman, WardWard Van Orman, Alan L. McCracken  USA Goodyear VIII 24:00 548.94
19 September 1, 1930 Cleveland (United States) Van Orman, WardWard Van Orman, Alan L. McCracken  USA Goodyear VIII 27:56 872.00
20 September 25, 1932 Basel (Switzerland) Settle, Thomas G. W.Thomas G. W. Settle, Wilfred Bushnell  USA US Navy 41:20 1,550.00
21 September 2, 1933 Chicago (United States) Hynek, FranciszekFranciszek Hynek, Zbigniew Burzyński  Poland SP-ADS Kościuszko 38:32 1,361.00
22 September 23, 1934 Warsaw (Poland) Hynek, FranciszekFranciszek Hynek, Władysław Pomaski  Poland SP-ADS Kościuszko 44:48 1,333.00
23 September 16, 1935 Warsaw (Poland) Burzyński, ZbigniewZbigniew Burzyński, Władysław Wysocki  Poland SP-AMY Polonia II 57:54 1,650.47
24 August 30, 1936 Warsaw (Poland) Demuyter, ErnestErnest Demuyter, Pierre Hoffmans  Belgium OO-BFM Belgica 46:24 1,715.80
25 June 20, 1937 Brussels (Belgium) Demuyter, ErnestErnest Demuyter, Pierre Hoffmans  Belgium OO-BFM Belgica 46:15 1,396.00
26 September 11, 1938 Liège (Belgium) Janusz, AntoniAntoni Janusz, Franciszek Janik  Poland SP-BCU LOPP 37:47 1,692.00
September 3, 1939 Lwów (Poland)[B]
27 June 25, 1983 Paris (France) Makné, StefanStefan Makné, Ireneusz Cieślak  Poland SP-BZO Polonez 36:00 690.00
28 October 13, 1984 Zürich (Switzerland) Spenger, KarlKarl Spenger, Martin Messner   Switzerland HB-BFC Jura 43:08 793.00
29 September 28, 1985 Geneva (Switzerland) Starkbaum, JosefJosef Starkbaum, Gert Scholz  Austria HB-BBL Volksbank 21:09 342.00
30 October 18, 1986 Salzburg (Austria) Starkbaum, JosefJosef Starkbaum, Gert Scholz  Austria HB-BBL Volksbank 19:11 272.43
31 October 3, 1987 Seefeld (Austria) Starkbaum, JosefJosef Starkbaum, Gert Scholz  Austria HB-BBL Volksbank 32:16 852.00
32 October 23, 1988 Bregenz (Austria) Starkbaum, JosefJosef Starkbaum, Gert Scholz  Austria OE-PZS Polarstern 41:09 1,110.90
33 September 16, 1989 Lech (Austria) Starkbaum, JosefJosef Starkbaum, Gert Scholz  Austria OE-PZS Polarstern 37:33 911.20
34 September 2, 1990 Lech (Austria) Starkbaum, JosefJosef Starkbaum, Gert Scholz  Austria OE-PZS Polarstern 33:20 692.50
35 September 21, 1991 Lech (Austria) Kuinke, VolkerVolker Kuinke, Jürgen Schubert  Germany D-EUREGIO 44:18 1,039.40
36 September 19, 1992 Stuttgart (Germany) Levin, DavidDavid Levin, James Herschend  USA D-ASPEN 45:36 964.19
37 October 4, 1993 Albuquerque (United States) Starkbaum, JosefJosef Starkbaum, Rainer Röhsler  Austria OE-PZS Polarstern 59:29 1,832.00
38 September 18, 1994 Lech (Austria) Spenger, KarlKarl Spenger, Christian Stoll   Switzerland HB-BZH Stadt Wil 31:01 825.14
39 September 9, 1995 Wil (Switzerland) Eimers, WilhelmWilhelm Eimers, Bernd Landsmann  Germany D-OCOL Columbus II 92:11 1,628.10
40 September 28, 1996 Warstein (Germany) Eimers, WilhelmWilhelm Eimers, Bernd Landsmann  Germany D-OCOL Columbus II 72:01 1,286.90
41 September 7, 1997 Warstein (Germany) Leys, VincentVincent Leys, Jean François Leys  France F-PPSE Le Petit Prince 45:30 1,732.50
42 September 12, 1998 Paris (France)[C]
43 October 1, 1999 Albuquerque (United States) Cock, Phillipe dePhillipe de Cock, Ronny Van Havere  Belgium D-OCOX Belgica II 40:15 1,666.54
44 September 9, 2000 Saint-Hubert (Belgium) Eimers, WilhelmWilhelm Eimers, Bernd Landsmann  Germany D-OOWE Columbus IV 70:49 795.70
45 September 8, 2001 Warstein (Germany) Leys, VincentVincent Leys, Jean François Leys  France F-PPSE Le Petit Prince 77:47 1,626.60
46 August 31, 2002 Châtellerault (France) Leys, VincentVincent Leys, Jean François Leys  France F-PPSE Le Petit Prince 69:59 1,282.30
47 September 14, 2003 Arc-et-Senans (France) Leys, VincentVincent Leys, Jean François Leys  France F-PPSE Le Petit Prince 53:42 1,596.50
48 August 29, 2004 Thionville (France) Abruzzo, RichardRichard Abruzzo, Carol Rymer Davis  USA N96YD Zero Gravity 52:52 1,803.36
49 October 1, 2005 Albuquerque (United States) Berben, BobBob Berben, Benoît Siméons  Belgium N6326T 65:20 3,400.39
50 September 9, 2006 Waasmunster (Belgium) Cock, Philippe dePhilippe de Cock, Ronny Van Havere  Belgium D-OCOX Belgica 2 66:53 2,449.60
51 September 15, 2007 Brussels (Belgium)[C]
52 October 7, 2008 Albuquerque (United States) Hempleman-Adams, DavidDavid Hempleman-Adams, Jonathan Mason  Great Britain N5054 Lady Luck 74:12 1,768.67
53 September 5, 2009 Geneva (Switzerland) Rolland, SébastienSébastien Rolland, Vincent Leys  France F-PPSE Golden Eyes 85:18 1,588.29
54 September 25, 2010 Bristol (England) Frieden, KurtKurt Frieden, Pascal Witpraechtiger[30]   Switzerland[30] HB-QKF[30] 58:37[22]58:37[30] 2,434.31[22]2,434.31[30]
55 September 10, 2011 Gap-Tallard (France) Rolland, SébastienSébastien Rolland, Vincent Leys  France F-PPSE 26:42[22]26:42[31] 779.83
56 August 31, 2012 Toggenburg (Switzerland) Rolland, SébastienSébastien Rolland, Vincent Leÿs  France F-PPGB 69:02[22]69:02[32] 1620.06
57 August 24, 2013 Grand Nancy-Tomblaine (France) Vincent Leys, Christophe Houver  France F-PPGB 73:33[22]73:33 1402.42[10]
58 August 29, 2014 Vichy (France) Wilhelm Eimers, Matthias Zenge  Germany D-OTLI -[22]61:35 1410.64[33]
Gordon Bennett Cup images
A man in a military uniform, sitting on a bench.
Frank Lahm, inaugural winner of the cup 
Balloons and grandstand.
St. Louis GB Cup 1907, mass inflation of balloons 
A large ballon lifts off
The balloon United States rises, October 21, 1907, St. Louis, Gordon Bennett 'Great Balloon Race of 1907' 
An airship floating behind a number of balloons in the foreground.
Gordon Bennett balloon race in 1909, Zürich featuring the Parseval airship PL-1 
A man in a pilot's uniform, smiling.
1932 winning pilot Thomas G. W. Settle 
Many white and yellow gas balloons taking off from a grassy field.
Launch day of the 50th Gordon Bennett Cup in Dendermonde, Oost-Vlaanderen 
Several white balloons and two yellow balloons taking off from a grassy field.
Gordon Bennett Cup 2007, Brussels 

Notes[edit]

  • A The competition was not held from 1914 to 1919 as a result of World War I, not held in 1931, nor from 1939 to 1982.[34]
  • B Canceled as a result of the outbreak of World War II.[34]
  • C Canceled due to bad weather.[34]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Browne, Malcolm W. (September 14, 1995). "2 American Balloonists Die When Shot Down in Belarus". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Cimons, Marlene; Williams, Carol J. (September 15, 1995). "Ill-Fated Balloonists Shared Passion for Flying". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Aero Club of the United Kingdom — Official notices to members — Gordon-Bennett Aeronautical Race, 1909". Flight Global. January 30, 1909. p. 69. Retrieved September 27, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "The Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett". Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Retrieved September 27, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Jares, Joe (June 11, 1979). "A Bunch Of Basket Cases". Sports Illustrated. Time Inc. Retrieved October 5, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "CIA Policy Manual" (doc). Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. June 1997. p. C6/6. Retrieved October 5, 2010. "The First Official Gordon Bennett Cup race since 1938 will take place on 26 June 1983, from Place de la Concorde in Paris, the same spot where the first race started on September 30th 1906." 
  7. ^ a b "Winning pilots and co-pilots (alphabetic list)" (xls). Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Retrieved September 27, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "Italian coastguards call off search for US balloonists". BBC News. October 4, 2010. Retrieved October 4, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "Bodies of missing US balloonists found off Italy". BBC News. December 6, 2010. Retrieved December 6, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b Haggeney, Markus (August 29, 2013). "57th. Coupe Aéronautique Gordon BennettFAI World Long Distance Gas Balloon Championship Official Results" (pdf). GordonBennet2013.org. Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "Model Event Rules for Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett" (doc). Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. 2010. p. 2. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  12. ^ a b Hohmann Sr, Ulrich. "The 27th Gordon Bennett Race 1983" (doc). Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Retrieved October 6, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Model Event Rules for Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett" (doc). Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. 2010. pp. 5, 10–11. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  14. ^ "2 Denver pilots win Gordon Bennett race". The Bulletin. Bend, Oregon. April 30, 1980. p. 43. Retrieved October 5, 2010. 
  15. ^ a b "Balloonists' 884-Mile Flight Is Tops In Endurance Race". Toledo Blade. Block Communications. May 10, 1982. p. 12. Retrieved October 5, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Winner declared in balloon race". The Register-Guard. Eugene, Oregon. May 6, 1986. p. 3A. Retrieved October 7, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Rosie O'Grady wins balloon race". Ellensburg Daily Record. May 3, 1988. p. 9. Retrieved October 7, 2010. 
  18. ^ Johnson, Ann (October 28, 1989). "Rolling Hills Official Nudges Soviets to an Uplifting Venture Ballooning: The Soviet Union gets its first taste of the sport in a competitive, international venue and a glimpse at its research application.". Los Angeles Times. p. 28. 
  19. ^ "Luchtballon op Loosbroek" (in Dutch). Brabants Historisch Informatie Centrum. Retrieved March 3, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Scores of Lives Deliberately Risked and Sacrificed in Pursuit of Knowledge to Protect Others From Disease and Death". Popular Mechanics (Popular Mechanics Co) 44 (July): 49–54. 1925. 
  21. ^ "First photos of International Balloon Race which resulted in five deaths". Hagley Digital Archives. Retrieved March 8, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Balloon tried to avoid border". The Milwaukee Sentinel. July 1, 1983. p. 3. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  23. ^ "Racing Balloon Is Shot Down by Attack Helicopter in Belarus" (pdf). Flight Safety Foundation. July 1996. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Belarus shoots down US balloon". The Independent. September 14, 1995. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  25. ^ "Belarus". United States Department of State. August 27, 2010. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Hydrogen race balloonists missing in Adriatic storm". BBC News. September 29, 2010. Retrieved September 30, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Lightning may have struck missing balloonists' craft". BBC News. September 30, 2010. Retrieved September 30, 2010. 
  28. ^ Messia, Hada (October 1, 2010). "Debris may not be of missing balloon". CNN. Retrieved October 1, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Gordon Bennett director 'pessimistic' about balloonists". BBC News. October 1, 2010. Retrieved October 1, 2010. 
  30. ^ a b c d e "Race Home Page". The British Balloon and Airship Company Ltd. Retrieved October 6, 2010. 
  31. ^ "Event Director's eBoard". www.gordonbennett2011.org. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  32. ^ "Official Results Are Final". www.gordonbennett2012.ch. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  33. ^ "58th. Coupe Aéronautique Gordon BennettFAI World Long Distance Gas Balloon Championship". GordonBennet2014.org. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  34. ^ a b c "Gordon Bennett Historical Results". Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]