Rozière balloon

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In 1999, Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones achieved the first non-stop balloon circumnavigation in Breitling Orbiter 3, a Rozière balloon.

A Rozière balloon (or simply Rozière) is a type of hybrid balloon that has separate chambers for a non-heated lifting gas (such as hydrogen or helium) as well as a heated lifting gas (as used in a hot air balloon or Montgolfière).[1] The design was created by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier.[2]

The advantage of a Rozière is that it allows some control of buoyancy with much less use of fuel than a typical hot air balloon.[2] This reduction in fuel consumption has allowed Rozière balloons and their crew to achieve very long flight times, up to several days or even weeks.

Early endeavours[edit]

The first Rozière was built for an attempt at crossing the English Channel on 15 June 1785. The balloon suddenly deflated (without the envelope catching fire) and crashed near Wimereux in the Pas-de-Calais.[3]

Modern era[edit]

Today, Rozière designs use non-flammable helium rather than hydrogen. Their primary application is for extremely long duration flights.[4]

The first successful Atlantic crossing was made 31 August to 2 September 1986, Newfoundland to the Netherlands, by Brink, Brink & Hageman in Dutch Viking.[5]

In February 1992, the first east-to-west Atlantic crossing was achieved by Feliu & Green.[5]

Four Cameron-R77s made Atlantic crossings, west to east, in September 1992. One was co-piloted by Bertrand Piccard.[5]

Australian adventurer Dick Smith and his co-pilot John Wallington made the first balloon trip across Australia, in another Cameron-R77 Rozière, Australian Geographic Flyer, on 18 June 1993.[6]

Steve Fossett made the first successful Pacific crossing in February 1995.[5]

On 27 February 1999, while they were trying to circumnavigate the world by balloon, Colin Prescot and Andy Elson set a new endurance record after flying in a Rozière combined helium and hot air balloon (the Cable & Wireless balloon) for 233 hours and 55 minutes.[7] Then on 21 March of that year, Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones became the first to circumnavigate the Earth, in a Rozière known as the Breitling Orbiter 3, in a flight lasting 477 hours, 47 minutes.[7]

On 4 July 2002, after five previous attempts, Steve Fossett became the first to achieve a round the world solo flight also in a Rozière, the Spirit of Freedom.[8]

On 23 July 2016, Fyodor Konyukhov completed a round the world solo flight in a Rozière in just over 11 days, setting a new world record. [9]


  1. ^ Davis, Johnson, Stepanek, and Fogarty, p. 660.
  2. ^ a b Shectman, p. 26.
  3. ^ Ruler and Phillips, p. 97.
  4. ^ Federal Aviation Administration, p. 2—2.
  5. ^ a b c d Cawsey, Richard. "Roziere Balloons". Bison Consultants Ltd. Retrieved 30 April 2016. 
  6. ^ "Crossing of Australia by hot air balloon". Australian Geographic. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Balloonists Soar Into History Books." Contra Costa Times. March 21, 1999.
  8. ^ Glenday, p. 179.
  9. ^ "Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov breaks world hot air balloon record, lands safety in WA". Retrieved 27 July 2016. 


  • Davis, Jeffrey R.; Johnson, Robert; Stepanek, Jan; and Fogarty, Jennifer A. Fundamentals of Aerospace Medicine. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008.
  • Federal Aviation Administration. United States Department of Transportation. Balloon Flying Handbook. FAA-H-8083-11A. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2007.
  • Glenday, Craig. Guinness World Records 2011. New York: Bantam Books, 2011.
  • Ruler, John and Phillips, Laurence. Cross-Channel France: Nord-Pas de Calais: The Land Beyond the Ports. Chalfont St Peter, Bucks: Bradt Travel Guides, 2010.
  • Shectman, Jonathan. Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments, Inventions, and Discoveries of the 18th Century. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2003.

See also[edit]