Cover image for Around the world in 20 days : the story of our history-making balloon flight
Around the world in 20 days : the story of our history-making balloon flight
Piccard, Bertrand.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : J. Wiley, 1999.
Physical Description:
306 pages ; 25 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TL620.P523 A3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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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

Author Notes

Bertrand Piccard, 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, 52, spent thirteen years with England's Royal Air Force. He developed a passion for flying balloons in 1986, became an instructor in 1989, and is now the United Kingdom's 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.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

For 20 days in March 1999, Piccard and Jones tempted fate, the jet stream and countless surly, foreign air-traffic controllers in a successful attempt to be the first to float a giant balloon nonstop around the world. Hyped as aviation's last great challenge and fueled by a million-dollar purse from Budweiser, the quest attracted the attention of millionaires such as Richard Branson of Virgin and David Liniger of Re/Max International. But Piccard, a Swiss psychiatrist, brought an adventurous pedigree as well as deep pockets to the undertaking: his grandfather was the first person to reach the stratosphere in a balloon, and his father set the record for the deepest dive in a submarine. Piccard and Jones, the project manager, take turns telling the story of their flight from Switzerland to Egypt the hard way. If the notion of flying around the world in a balloon has a romantic allure, the day-to-day reality consisted primarily of pirouetting slowly at the behest of the wind while remaining in constant contact with mission control on flight speed and ideal altitude. Technical problems cropped up, and readers will sympathize with the fear of flying an uncharted path across 8000 miles of Pacific Ocean. But mostly the crew in the cramped, often freezing gondola seems to have been closer to being severely inconvenienced than to being harmed. This may be a reflection on the thoroughness of their team's planning and skill, but it makes for some surprisingly dull reading. 24 pages of photos not seen by PW. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This is the tale of two courageous men who last spring were the first to traverse the world, nonstop, in a balloon Starting from Switzerland, they journeyed 29,000 miles in 20 days, concluding their experience in the Egyptian desert. Their adventure was often perilous, with each moment captured by on-board photos and diary excerpts. Without a doubt, this is an interesting story that takes the reader on a roller-coaster adventure of emotional highs and lows. Piccard is a Swiss doctor whose grandfather was the first balloonist to reach the stratosphere and whose father reached the deepest point of the ocean in a bathyscaph. Jones served as the project manager and pilot and was responsible for much of the design of the balloon, "Breitling Orbiter 3." Armchair travel enthusiasts will enjoy the book. Recommended for all public libraries. (Photos not seen.)ÄLarry Little, Penticton P.L., BC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Dedication and Acknowledgementsp. vii
Diagrams of the Breitling Orbiter 3p. viii
1. Take-offp. 1
2. Originsp. 29
3. Enter Breitlingp. 39
4. Third Time Luckyp. 59
5. Heading Southp. 73
6. Fresh Air Over Africap. 103
7. Trouble Aheadp. 133
8. Chinese Puzzlesp. 157
9. Pacific Bluesp. 171
10. Cast Adriftp. 209
11. Last Lapp. 237
12. Hard Landingp. 261
13. Heroes' Welcomep. 281
Appendix Round-the-World Attemptsp. 301
Technical Termsp. 307