Gordon Bennett

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09 August 2009

Tragic death of balloon team leader

The leader of the Jersey Balloon team, due to compete in one of the sport's most prestigious races, has died in a tragic accident.Serge Cuhat from Switzerland died on Friday in the Italian Alps.

On the picture, left to right - Paul McCallum  Balloon Meister, Serge Cuhat, Sten Adeler

Serge Cuhat and Sten Adeler, a retired pilot who lives in Jersey, had been preparing to take part in the Gordon Bennet Cup - an exclusive gas balloon race due to start in Geneva next month. The race is known as the Grand Prix of ballooning with entry limited to just 18 places.

Yesterday, after a flight from Switzerland, the balloon landed in the Italian Alps near Pejo. After securing the balloon, Cuhat slipped on a bolder, lost his footing and tragically slipped over a drop to his death. He'd been flying balloons for 20 years.

Team-mate and close friend Sten Adeler said the Jersey team were in deep shock.

See also the video


Posted by Luc at 2:22 PM | Email this to a friend

20 July 2008

Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett 2008 - the teams

The participants of the Gordon Bennett Race in Albuquerque are known. 12 teams from 6 countries will compete against each other:

    Nicaero Nautilo
  • GBR1 - David HEMPLEMAN-ADAMS - Jonathan MASON
  • GBR2 - Simon FORSE - Allan NIMMO
  • GER1 - Wilhem EIMERS - Ulrich SEEL
    Columbus IV
  • GER2 - Tomas HORA - Volker LOESCHHORN
  • GER3 - Peter KRAFCZYK - Tobias ANZENEDER
  • USA1 - Barbara FRICKE - Peter CUNEO
    Foxtrot Charlie
  • USA2 - John CAYTON - Stuart ENLOE
    Bucky's Dream
  • USA3 - Louis VITANZA - Bert PADELT
    Casey Lynn

We are updating our site, so you will be able to follow the race from hour to hour in front of your computer.

Posted by Marianne at 6:57 PM | Email this to a friend

08 March 2008

GB 2009 in Geneva

Today was decided where the Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett 2009 will take place. There were 5 candidates, but Luxembourg has withdrawn during the CIA conference in Luxembourg.

The 4 candidate cities had to give a presentation of the location, the airspace, hotels,... After the first round there were not enough votes for USA and UK.

In the next round Geneve (Switzerland) won with one vote from Stuttgart.

Posted by Luc at 2:07 PM | Email this to a friend

20 December 2007

GB 2008 in Albuquerque

I am pleased to be in a position to close our calendar year with the good news that the 52nd Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett in 2008 will take place in Albuquerque (USA). The CIA Bureau has decided to accept the bid from the US, to grant a sanction to the organizers, and recommend the ratification of this decision to the 2008 CIA Plenary meeting. The event details will be published on the CIA web pages.

In addition, I am pleased to announce that five NAC have declared that they will bid for the organization of the 53rd Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett in 2009, namely

• Germany
• Luxembourg
• Switzerland
• UK

The respective bids are now being actively prepared and must be submitted to the CIA at the latest on February 15, 2008. The bid details will then be published on our web-site and you may study them and consult with your ballooning community before deciding on the 2009 organizer at the Plenary in Salzburg. We will invite the five concerned delegates to prepare a short presentation for the Plenary as well.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy and successful New Year.

Buoyant regards,

JC Weber, president
FAI Ballooning Commission

Posted by Luc at 10:18 PM | Email this to a friend

18 July 2007

New logo for Gordon Bennett 2007

GB-logo-2007Some time ago the Belgian Balloon Federation organised a design competition for the logo of the 51th edition of the Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett. We received a nice amount of designs, and after a first selection 8 designs went to the next evaluation round. The final winner is Martijn Korstanje from Sint-Niklaas.

After some slight changes we have taken steps to register the logo. This means no one can use the logo commercially without approval of the organisation. It will be available on the Gordon Bennett website as soon as it gets online.

In the meantime feel free to download this document: Logo GB 2007

Posted by Marianne at 12:17 PM | Email this to a friend

05 June 2007

GORDON BENNETT 2006 - They did it again!

GORDON BENNETT 2006 - They did it again.

Film Gordon Bennett 2006

September 9th, 2006: The major gas balloon race in the world started in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium. All the big tv stations like VRT VTM RTL, and even a Russian tv station were present to cover the race. William De Rudder from Sint-Niklaas, who already made several National Geographic films, was present too. He made a magnificent reportage (as he does every year) about this unique and spectacular event. He mixed his own pictures with those taken by the pilots in their baskets, and by the chase crews. You can also witness the triumphant return of the winners Philippe De Cock and Ronny Van Haver, when they were driven into town like real gladiators, something Sint-Niklaas had never ever seen before.

Did you miss all the fun or would you like to see it again?

The Belgian Balloon Federation offers you a onetime occasion to see the movie in the presence of all the pilots, on June 24th 2007 in SINISCOOP (Sint-Niklaas), at 10:30 am. Entrance: 5 Euro per ticket.

Because of the limited amount of seats we ask you to book your seat in advance, by sending a mail at tickets2@balloonfederation.be, mentioning you name and first name, and the amount of tickets you want us to put aside.

For payments in Belgium: account nr. 850-8130365-17
For international (european) payments: IBAN - BE61 8508 1303 6517, BIC - SPAABE22
Please don't forget to mention your full name and the amount of tickets in your payment too.

As soon as we receive you payment your tickets will be put aside and will be waiting for you at the entrance of SINISCOOP!

We hope to meet you in Sint-Niklaas!

The Board of the Belgian Balloon Federation

Posted by Marianne at 8:14 PM | Email this to a friend

09 November 2006

Gordon Bennett Race 2006 - "The Movie"

The Movie

Gordon Bennett Race 2006 on screen

In the first half of September this world famous balloon competition took place in Waasmunster, as the Belgians Bob Berben and Benoit Simeons won the race in 2005. This year 2 pilots from the same Belgian region (Waasland) won the race, and that is very exceptional.

They brought splendid stories, unique pictures and films with them.

The winners

Philippe De Cock and Ronny van Havere

are our guests on
Friday November 17th at 20.00h

in the meeting hall of the City Library,
Heymanplein, Sint-Niklaas.
The third indispensable man of the team will be present too:
meteorologist Michel De Meyer

Do not miss this wonderful story and the pictures never seen by anyone before!

Tickets in advance booking: 3 euro (5 euro at the entrance on September 17th).
Reservation of tickets: 0032-(0)3/776.80.90 or 0032-(0)3/777.55.40

Posted by Marianne at 9:31 AM | Email this to a friend

05 September 2006

A unique collector's item

100 Years of Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett ... the 50th edition ... and in Belgium! We couldn't let this go by without issuing a special commemorative item. But what were we looking for? Well, we wanted something that would also be able to withstand a century of wind and rain as a memento of Gordon Bennett 2006 in Waasmunster.

Some surfing on "the Web" brought us to enamel publicity signs. Strong as iron, and with a nostalgic touch ... that was the perfect item! The price was the only thing that made us hesitate for a while...

But ... today we proudly present a beautiful creation of "Emaillerie Belge": the official Gordon Bennett 2006 poster, measuring 60cm x 42cm, enamel on 1,5 mm thick steel and weighing 2,7kg ... cost price 85 euro.

An absolute must for the real Gordon Bennett lover!!!

Bear in mind that this is a limited edition of only 100 items, so don't hesitate too long!

Donald & Luc Buyle

Take a look at http://gb2006.gasballon.be/collectors for information, a photo of the sign and reservation.

Posted by Marianne at 10:49 PM | Email this to a friend

03 September 2006

Return to the past


If the weather decides to choose our side the Gordon Bennett 2006 contestants will be in the air this time next week.

For those who understand the Dutch language: to get a taste of the atmosphere of the competition you can listen here to a historic radio report (1938) and a nice interview by Francois Schaut.

Click on the balloon of Ernest Demuyter to hear the fragments and enjoy!!!

Posted by Marianne at 10:30 AM | Email this to a friend

Far ... farther ... the farthest

Gas balloons ... a rare sight in the sky. In fact the entire world only counts several tens of active gas balloons. Once a year a major gas balloon competion, established in 1906, gathers the best gas balloon pilots to race against each other.

We can see hot air balloons all the time. You heat the air in the envelope, and because this warmer air is lighter than the surrounding air the balloons rises. But 220 years ago an alternative way of ballooning was born: the gas balloon. A gas balloon is filled with helium or hydrogen gas and then closed. Very important accessories of a gas balloon are the sand bags dangling beside the basket. By throwing out a bit of sand ballast you will rise, by releasing a bit of gas you will descend.

Continue reading : "Far ... farther ... the farthest"

Posted by Marianne at 9:33 AM | Email this to a friend

12 December 2005

Gordon Bennett 2006 in Belgium!

Gordon Bennett 2006

Because of the victory of Bob Berben and Benoit Simons in this year's race Belgium became the first candidate to organize the Gordon Bennett race 2006.

During the press conference in Waasmunster (in October) the mayor already mentioned that his city was eager to organize the race. And last Friday the Royal Belgian Balloon Federation finally obtained the permission to use hydrogen gas.

So ... Gordon Bennett 2006 will take place in Waasmunster, from September 9th till September 16th! More information will follow later...

Posted by Marianne at 1:35 PM | Email this to a friend

12 November 2005

How to cross the USA within two days.

Bepperl Hoehl from Munich and Stefan Handl of our Frankenballon Club have been qualified for the 49th Gordon Bennett Race and were launched into the skies of Albuquerque on the 1st of October. Sabrina Handl, Bernhard and Christine Mohr were deeply touched by the sound of the National anthem.

We, the chase-crew, decided to stay in our own beds for one more night, as we thought the wind would not take our balloon D-OFVA too far away so fast. A very good decision, but we should have got up earlier! Every hour the wind increased more and more, partially the balloons flew a speed of nearly 100 km/h. So we three drove 30 hours (just one hour rest and sleep for all of us) nearly 3000 km across the United States, from New Mexico to Crystal Falls, Michigan, near the Canadian border. Because of the bad cell phone net throughout the states, we just knew the approx place where our pilots had a save landing.

USA in 2 days

Continue reading : "How to cross the USA within two days."

Posted by Luc at 11:33 AM | Email this to a friend

05 November 2005

"The last street before ... Nothing"

A week ago (Saturday,October 31st) another big moment had come for Wilhelm Eimers. After many hours of hard work he was ready to present his movie of the last Gordon Bennett race to all the helpers and to his friends the gas balloonists. First something to eat and drink and then ... Willi had a regrettable announcement to make. Instead of the promised 40 minutes there would be 50 minutes of film (lol). The movie was magnificent and showed all the preparations, the beautiful flight, the suspenseful landing and the trip back to Albuquerque. Comic situations and funny expressions were registered and presented to the audience as well.

Below we tried to translate the story of Willi and Ulrich for you.

Die letzte Stasse vor dem Nichts

Continue reading : ""The last street before ... Nothing""

Posted by Marianne at 9:16 AM | Email this to a friend

28 October 2005

Medical report of Richard Abruzzo

We all know that not everything went well during the last Gordon Bennett race. The text below is from Richard Abruzzo. We want to emphasize that this is not published because of its "sensational value", but because Richard asked us to do so.

To us it is the proof that Richard's medical condition is definitely improving! We wish him a speedy recovery and we hope to see him again very soon!


Continue reading : "Medical report of Richard Abruzzo"

Posted by Marianne at 7:12 PM | Email this to a friend

21 October 2005

In the centre of attention...

A little bit late but here we are with some homecoming pictures of our winning Belgian team. When Bob Berben and Benot Simons arrived at Zaventem Airport after their glorious victory their family and many friends, neighbours, and even some journalists waited for them at the gate.


After a short speech the group drove to Sint-Niklaas where Bob and Benot were treated to a real reception ... with lots of champaign! They again thanked all the helpers - and especially the retrieve crew - for the big efforts they had made. The reception ended with an appetizing (and beautiful) piece of cake.


Posted by Marianne at 5:34 PM | Email this to a friend

09 October 2005

Gordon Bennett 2005 - results

The results are now official :

1. Bob BERBEN - Benot SIMEONS - 3400,3922 km
2. Wilhelm EIMERS - Ulrich SEEL - 2582,5356 km
3. Christian STOLL - Walter MATTENBERGER - 2404,6063 km
4. Ronny VAN HAVERE - Luc VAN GEYTE - 2268,2747 km
5. John CAYTON - Dan SUSKIN - 1962,0179 km
6. Josef HHL - Stefan HANDL - 1959,1181 km
7. Gerald STURZLINGER - Johann FUERSTNER - 1890,8035 km
8. Leo BURMAN - Danielle FRANCOEUR - 1696,7534 km
9. Max KREBS - Walter VOLLENWEIDER - 1591,5998 km
10. Tom DONNELLY - Colin BUTTER - 1064,8602 km
11. David LEVIN - Mark SULLIVAN - 980,6251 km
12. Sabu ICHIYSHI - Maco OIWA - 963,0960 km
13. Heinrich BRACHTENDORF - Karl Heinz HUTHMACHER - 958,2276 km
14. Richard ABRUZZO - Carol DAVIS - 530,7506 km




Posted by Luc at 6:00 AM | Email this to a friend

08 October 2005

Heroic stories...

In the next few days we hope to publish here some stories of this year's Coupe Gordon Bennett and America's Challenge.


Continue reading : "Heroic stories..."

Posted by Marianne at 10:26 PM | Email this to a friend

The winners are back in Albuquerque

Yesterday at 15:10hr the flight of Southwest Airlines from Chicago arrived at the Albuquerque International Sunport. On board of that flight: Bob Berben and Benot Simons. They were welcomed by an enthusiastic group of people.


Continue reading : "The winners are back in Albuquerque"

Posted by Marianne at 3:32 PM | Email this to a friend

07 October 2005

A gas balloon flight to keep in memory...

The teams keep coming in. Every pilot is quite impressed by his flight, and especially by the top speeds of his balloon.


Continue reading : "A gas balloon flight to keep in memory..."

Posted by Marianne at 9:01 AM | Email this to a friend

06 October 2005

Return to Albuquerque

The first teams have arrived in Albuquerque, some others still have a long way to go...

We are really looking forward to the heroic stories of all the competitors!



Posted by Marianne at 10:03 AM | Email this to a friend

Albuquerque Journal

The local newspapers do not mention the Belgian victory in the Coupe Gordon Bennett. Only the Albuquerque Journal published a small article.


Continue reading : "Albuquerque Journal"

Posted by Marianne at 9:51 AM | Email this to a friend

05 October 2005

Gordon Bennett 2005 is over !

The last remaining participants at the Coupe Gordon Bennett - the Belgians Bob Berben and Benot Simons - have landed safely with their American balloon N6326T.


We'll have to wait till all the teams are back in Albuquerque to hear the official results...

Posted by Marianne at 12:45 AM | Email this to a friend

04 October 2005

What a flight...

The BEL-1 team Bob Berben/Benot Simons is still in competition, with a distance of 4225 km on the counter. It is the second time that a Belgian team brings the Coupe Gordon Bennett back to Europe. We think it will take years to snatch this record away from Bob and Benot!


Continue reading : "What a flight..."

Posted by Marianne at 6:05 PM | Email this to a friend

We know the winners !

Eimers/Seel and Stoll/Mattenberger have landed. Only Bob Berben and Benot Simons are still in the air. With over 3450 km and ... STILL FLYING this is going to be a victory that pulverizes all the existing distance records! Now we're looking out for a safe landing and lots of champagne!


Continue reading : "We know the winners !"

Posted by Marianne at 1:55 PM | Email this to a friend

Gordon Bennett over for BEL-2

Early in the afternoon BEL-2 Ronny Van Havere / Luc Van Geyte made a safe landing. Shortly after the landing it started raining heavily. The retrieve cannot happen until tomorrow as they put their balloon down in an inhospitable region.


Continue reading : "Gordon Bennett over for BEL-2"

Posted by Marianne at 8:48 AM | Email this to a friend

Victory America's Challenge goes to a woman!

According to the official site only 5 gas balloons are still in the air, 3 of the Gordon Bennett race and 2 of the America's Challenge, namely Barbara Fricke / Peter Cuneo and Janet Folkes / Bill Arras !

Our sincere congratulations!

Posted by Marianne at 8:34 AM | Email this to a friend

03 October 2005

Competition groups have been halved

At dawn only 6 Gordon Bennett teams and 6 Americas Challenge teams were still aloft, scattered over Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. During the night the Swiss team Krebs / Vollenweider, the Austrian team Strzlinger / Frstner and the American team Cayton / Suskin decided to land.

Continue reading : "Competition groups have been halved"

Posted by Marianne at 8:27 PM | Email this to a friend

More landings...

GBR-1 (Donnelly/Butter) and JAP-1 (Ichiyoshi/Oiwa) - both Gordon Bennett teams - have set foot to earth.


In the America's Challenge Ron Martin / Alan Levin have reported a safe landing.


Posted by Marianne at 10:20 AM | Email this to a friend

Last year's winner has landed!

The Gordon Bennett / America's Challenge control center received a message that the Gordon Bennett team Richard Abruzzo - Carol Rymer Davis landed at 15:30 in thermal conditions near Kendall, Kansas!


Continue reading : "Last year's winner has landed!"

Posted by Marianne at 9:01 AM | Email this to a friend

02 October 2005

First balloon America's Challenge has landed

The first participant of the America's Challenge has landed: N64KD with Ruth Lind and John Davis. They put the balloon safely down near Dalhart, Texas.


Donald & Luc Buyle

Posted by Marianne at 10:00 PM | Email this to a friend

01 October 2005

Gordon Bennett / America's Challenge 2005

After a long and tiring flight we landed Wednesday evening in Albuquerque. We hope the balloons won't get the same weather conditions as DL1589, the flight of Delta Airlines Atlanta - Albuquerque. If an Airbus 737-800 is already shaken like this, what would be the effect on a simple gas balloon ???


BEL1 & BEL 2 are ready ... So, 'let the games begin'!


Continue reading : "Gordon Bennett / America's Challenge 2005"

Posted by Marianne at 1:20 PM | Email this to a friend

25 September 2005

Gordon Bennett - European teams on their way tot ABQ

The European teams have been preparing for months for the Gordon Bennett Race in Albuquerque. Last week the balloons and baskets left from different airports, wrapped up carefully and after several checks to ensure that the necessary equipment is really there.

America, here we come...

Most of the teams leave next Wednesday for Albuquerque. On Thursday and Friday they'll prepare the balloons and the equipment. On Saturday October 1st the Race will start!

Posted by Marianne at 1:19 PM | Email this to a friend

15 August 2005

Participating teams Gordon Bennett 2005

Gordon Bennett 2005On the site of the organisation (www.aibf.org) you can find all the participants for the Gordon Bennett race 2005 and the America's Challenge. In each race 14 gas balloon will start.

This year the participants can also choose which gas they'll use. For the Gordon Bennett race 7 out of the 14 teams chose to use hydrogen gas.

On our site too you can find the participants and the balloons, with additonal information.

Some pictures are still missing (balloons and pilots). So, if you're a participant in either the Gordon Bennett race or the America's Challenge and your picture is not on our site: please send a digital photo to: ludobuyle@gasballon.be.

Thanks a lot in advance!

Posted by Marianne at 1:33 PM | Email this to a friend

27 September 2004

Slide Show Gordon Bennett

No Gordon Bennett race without loads of photos. The quantity of good material made choosing between the pictures very difficult.

Nevertheless we've managed - again - to create a complete survey of Gordon Bennett. Click on the link, and enjoy!

---> SLIDESHOW Gordon Bennett 2004

or: menu -> Gordon Bennett -> Gordon Bennett 2004 -> The competition -> Pictures

Posted by Marianne at 6:43 PM | Email this to a friend

16 September 2004

GB 2004 - final results

Since this morning you can find the official results of Gordon Bennett 2004 on our website. Click on the photo or follow this link.

We want to congratulate all the pilots - and the winners of course - for having transformed this race once more in a thrilling and unique event.

Posted by Marianne at 12:04 PM | Email this to a friend

01 September 2004

GB2004 - flight update #8

Around 22:00hr yesterday night an impressive 48th Coupe Aronautique Gordon Bennett finally came to its end. Richard Abruzzo and Carol Rymer-Davis landed safely but in difficult circumstances in Sweden. They made a flight of 1798,5 km and spent 52hr50min in the air.

The official results will only be announced on Friday, when all the pilots have returned to Thionville for the prize-giving.

Our sincere congratulations on the achieved results nd thanks for the exceptional and thrilling hours.

Posted by Marianne at 10:27 AM | Email this to a friend

GB2004 - flight update #7

Abruzzo / Rymer-Davis are almost above land near Umea, Sweden.
We know 2 Belgians who certainly share in the honours!
Marc Sevrin, for many years regular crew member (during the Gordon Bennett race) and Luc Trullemans, meteorologist ... he did it again!
Well, the Belgian coloured sandbags appeared to be a real sign after all...

Posted by Marianne at 12:12 AM | Email this to a friend

31 August 2004

GB2004 - flight update #6

The race is over...

Earlier this afternoon Mark Sullivan and David Levin landed safely on Swedish soil after a flight of 1471 km. Eimers / Seel and Abruzzo / Rymer-Davis did not yield to each other, but early in the evening Germany 1 had to give in. After a breathtaking flight and 1631 km Willi and Ulrich put down their balloon near stersund in Sweden.

Richard and Carol are still aloft! They still have to reach land and then ... Gordon Bennett 2005 will take place in America. We hope they'll have a safe landing too!

Posted by Marianne at 11:45 PM | Email this to a friend

30 August 2004

GB2004 - flight update #5

AUT 2 (Gerald Strzlinger and Johann Frstnerhas) has also landed safely, in the pouring rain.

Only 3 balloons keep on going. The men are cold and wet, but they don't think about giving up. USA 3 is flying over Sweden to the North, Germany 1 and USA 1 are still above the Baltic Sea, flying East...

Posted by Marianne at 10:22 PM | Email this to a friend

GB2004 - flight update #4

At this moment 4 teams are still in the air. The 2 American teams and GER 1 are still above the Baltic Sea. AUT 2 is leading. BEL 1 landed safely in Sweden.

The BEL 2 team (Benoit Simons and Bob Berben) has spent a lot of time at an altitude of 20.000 ft. By doing so they consumed a lot of oxygen.

Tomorrow all the teams will drive back to Thionville.

The fight for the first place promises to be exciting. A lot will depend on the strength of will (and of course the amount of ballast) of the pilots.

Posted by Marianne at 8:45 PM | Email this to a friend

GB2004 - flight update #3

Three balloons are flying over the Baltic Sea now: Switserland 3 (Christian Stoll and Walter Mattenberger), Belgium 1 (Ronny Van Havere en Philippe de Cock) and USA3 (Mark Sullivan and Davin Levin).

In the meantime 2 other balloons have landed: the Polisch team (Stefan Makn and Krzysztof Stanecki) at 13:00hr after 772 km, and Germany 3 (Heinrich Brachtendorf and Karl-Heinz Huthmacher) at 13:45hr after 831 km...

Posted by Marianne at 3:58 PM | Email this to a friend

GB2004 - flight update #2

At this moment USA2 (Barbara Fricke and Peter Cuneo) is in the lead, followed by BEL2 (Benoit Simeons and Bob Berben). They're flying over Poland, and so are BEL1, GBR2, AUS 1 & 2. The other teams are moving more to the north.

For two teams the race is already over. The only French team (Thierry Villey and Philippe Buron) landed this morning at 7:38 near Braunschweig, after 436 km; GBR1 (Janet Folkes and Colin Butler) landed at 11:00 after 683 km of flight.

Posted by Marianne at 1:20 PM | Email this to a friend

GB2004 - flight update #1

All the balloons have made it through the night. There's not much to be said about their positions.
As expected everybody has moved to the East, the tracks are getting now a more Southern current.

Despite the very rigorous preparations with checklists etcetera, the teams have discovered they forgot things at home or in the retrieval vehicles.
GER1 forgot its rain curtain, BEL2 left without thermic clothing. POL almost lost a pilot; at the start (2nd) he seemed to have disappeared awhile without a trace.

A very eye-catching balloon is the white Warsteiner balloon of team GER1 (Eimers-Seel). Willi has dreamt for years to partake in a white balloon.
The colour has an enormous influence on the consumption of ballast. This race is D-OWBI's first flight!

Posted by Marianne at 8:02 AM | Email this to a friend

29 August 2004

GB2004 - 14 balloons ready

After 3 hours of filling 14 of the 18 balloons are ready. The teams are still installing their equipment. The Thunder & Colt balloons of the Americans really catch they eye, netlless balloons that weigh 65 kilo less than a Wrner.

It is windy, but the wind should fall by tonight. At 17:00hr the pilots will gather for another briefing, after which they will immediately take off. The meteo predictions remain the same as before.

Posted by Marianne at 3:29 PM | Email this to a friend

Shit ... no sand for Willi ...

Posted by Marianne at 1:06 PM | Email this to a friend

GB2004 - first balloons ready

The first balloons are inflated. "Le Petit Prince" and "Belgica II" are laid out and waiting with patience for the filling signal. At this moment everyting is running as scheduled.

The brothers Leys are present too. Below you see a picture of their balloon, edition 2004 ... half filled !

Posted by Marianne at 12:30 PM | Email this to a friend

GB2004 - inflation has started

The inflation of the gas balloons has started. The 2 net balloons will be filled first (teams 1 and 2). The others will follow at the rate of 3 balloons per hour.

Following this scheme all the balloons should be ready by 16:00 - 17:00hr (LT). At 17:00hr there is a last briefing (meteo) for the pilots, the first takeoffs are planned for 18:00hr.

All the balloons will start in the direction of Germany, after half an hour they will allready leave French airspace. At dawn they are expected at the German-Polish border. Then the balloons will continue on a more South to South-Eastern track to Scandinavia.

Posted by Marianne at 11:00 AM | Email this to a friend

28 August 2004

GB2004 - meteo briefing

At this moment it is raining a little in Thionville. In the morning we had a meteo briefing and the expectations for today are not so good: rain, rain and ... more rain. The reason is that the front advances slower than anticipated.

Another meteo briefing will be held tomorrow morning at 09:00hr. If the weather situation develops as expected, the first balloons will start filling tomorrow (Sunday) around 11:00hr. As it will take about 6 hours to fill the 17 balloons with helium, they should all be ready by 18:00hr (LT), and take off between 18:00hr and 20:00hr.

Posted by Marianne at 12:16 PM | Email this to a friend

27 August 2004

GB2004 - Friday

After the general briefing everybody had to pose for the group photo. Then the teams began to fill the sandbags. This can certainly not be compared with playing in a sandbox, in fact it has to happen very accurately... once in the air the pilots like to be sure about the amount of ballast they have left. Some antifreeze was added because of the possibility to fly to the Scandinavian countries. It leaped to the eye that one of the foreign teams was using sandbags in the Belgian colours ... could this be an omen?

Apparently everybody has the positive feeling that the race will really go on! The question is only: WHEN???

Posted by Marianne at 11:23 PM | Email this to a friend

GB2004 - starting order

One team has been changed. Wilhelm Eimers will take Ulrich SEEL as copilot. This because Bernd LANDSMAN is in hospital.

The starting order:

1. BEL 2 - SIMONS Benot - BERBEN Bob
2. POL - MAKNE Stefan - STANECKI, Krzysztof
6. USA3 - SULLIVAN Mark - LEVIN David
7. AUT1 - STRZLINGER Gerald - FRSTNER Johann
8. UK1 - FOLKES Janet - BUTTER Colin
9. BEL1 - VAN HAVERE Ronny - DE COCK Philippe
10. GER2 - SCHMHL Klaus - GOEHRMANN Bernd
11. SUI3 - STOLL Christian - MATTENBERGER Walter
12. USA2 - FRICKE Barbara - CUNEO Peter
15.GER1 - EIMERS Wilhelm - SEEL Ulrich
16. SUI2 - TICHE Nicolas - DUVOISIN Pierrick
17. USA1 - ABRUZZO Richard - RYMER-DAVIS Carol

Posted by Marianne at 5:59 PM | Email this to a friend

26 August 2004

GB2004 - tracking

Saturday (August 28th) another Gordon Bennett Race will start from the Place de la Libert in Thionville (France). The winners of 2003, Franois and Vincent Leys, won't participate this time. Nevertheless it promises to become a thrilling race.

The official website of this year's race is www.gordonbennett2004.org. And of course lots of relevant information will be published on OUR site too.

After the take-off you'll be able to follow the balloons 'live' on the official site. This is possible thanks to the Immarsat Satellites. On gb2004.sat-tracker.de you find a page in three languages (English, French and German) for the tracks of the balloons and all the necessary maps.

Posted by Marianne at 8:10 AM | Email this to a friend

23 July 2004

Gas supply GB2004

The organisation originally proposed to use hydrogen for the 48th Gordon Bennett since Thionville has been the sight of flights with hydrogen regularly for years. Unfortunately, they have been informed by the organizers that the French authorities will not allow us to use hydrogen for the Gordon Bennett. The organizers have argued strongly with the authorities but the answer is still no.
The security level is high in France now and for that reason, there is no chance that they will change their mind.

Posted by Luc at 9:45 PM | Email this to a friend

19 July 2004

Competition map

Click on the map to enlarge it The map with the GB2004 "open countries" has been released.

As you can see it is a beautiful and vast competition area. Nevertheless some countries remain closed, mainly because of internal political complications.

When a competitor enters one of these countries he'll immediately be disqualified.


Posted by Marianne at 2:08 PM | Email this to a friend

04 June 2004

New trophy for GB2004

Last year the brothers Leys won the Coupe Gordon Bennett for the 3rd time, so the trophy will stay in France.

Therefore a new challenge-trophy had to be produced for the next editions; yesterday it was finally presented at a press conference. Here are the pictures of the GB2004 poster and of the new trophy.

Presentation at the press conference

New Gordon Bennett trophy the poster ...

Posted by Marianne at 11:32 PM | Email this to a friend

09 February 2004

Participants Gordon Bennett 2004

This year the Swiss team of Kurt Frieden won't be able to participate at the Gordon Bennett race. But the team already started preparations for Gordon Bennett 2005.

Belgium will be represented by 2 teams.

Posted by Marianne at 7:05 PM | Email this to a friend

10 December 2003

Gordon Bennett 2004

Gordon Bennett 2004

Gordon Bennett 2004 will start in Thionville (F).
Dates: August 26 till September 04 2004.
Balloons will normally fly on hydrogen gas.

By clicking the picture you'll be sent to the website of Thionville. More information you can also find on the site of the organisation and on the Gordon Bennett site.

Posted by Marianne at 7:00 AM | Email this to a friend

25 September 2003

Flight report Frieden/Zeberli

Click on the link below to discover the storie and a collection of pictures of the Swiss team Kurt Frieden & Stefan Zeberli during the Gordon Bennett 2003.

Flight report Kurt Frieden / Stefan Zeberli

Posted by Marianne at 10:22 PM | Email this to a friend

22 September 2003

Photo album

The organisation of Gordon Bennett 2003 wants to compose a commemorial photo album. In this album they not only want to publish photos, but also the curriculum vitae of the participating pilots and the flown tracks.

WE already promised to co-operate ... but we hope YOU can help them a little bit too! Do you have interesting pictures? You can mail them to us: ludobuyle@gasballon.be. We will copy everything to a CD-Rom and send this to France.

Thanks in advance,

Donald & Luc Buyle
for ... Gasballon.be

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21 September 2003

Slideshow Gordon Bennett

Under the headings Gordon Bennett - GB2003 - The competition - Pictures we posted a slideshow of this year's GB. Because of the stormy start there are no pictures availabe of the launching of the balloons ... We think we'd better go and find some video recordings to illustrate the very windy and difficult take-offs...

GB 2003 Slideshow

Donald & Luc Buyle
balloonspotter ... for Gasballon.be

Posted by Marianne at 10:09 PM | Email this to a friend

18 September 2003

Official results GB 2003

At this very moment they are partying ... the men (and women) who were responsible for so many tense moments during the last week. The tracks have been checked and they have told each other their wild adventures. Lets hope the pilots will share their stories with us too in the next few days... Anyway, we are already looking forward to the videotape of the stormy start.

Under the heading Gordon Bennett 2003 / Wedstrijdverslag / Results you can find the official results of the race.

Herewith we want to congratulate once more Vincent & Jean-Franois LEYS (FRA), Richard ABRUZZO and Gary JOHNSON (USA), Philippe DE COCK and Ronny VAN HAVERE (BEL) ... and also all the other competitors ... Congratulations!

See you all in France next year!

From the team of www.gasballon.be

Posted by Marianne at 8:32 PM | Email this to a friend

17 September 2003

Website GB 2004

The organisation of Gordon Bennett 2004 has been very predictive... they already registered the domain name for 2004.


Posted by Marianne at 10:59 PM | Email this to a friend

16 September 2003

Le Petit Prince

Track GB 2003 The balloon "Petit Prince" named after the famous work of Antoine de St Exupry landed safely this morning at 6:15 UTC (8:15 Paris time), 5 minutes after sunrise, in the tiny village named Tinhosas, 4km East of Silves, 15 km ENE of Portimo, and 58 km ENE of Cabo de So Vincente (Cape St Vincent, extreme South-West point of Portugal).

Continue reading : "Le Petit Prince"

Posted by Luc at 2:55 PM | Email this to a friend

The 47th Gordon Bennett is over.

Jean Francois LEYS just called me telling he has landed in Tinhosas near Silves in Portugal at 08:15. Pending confirmation from the GPS loggers the standing of the top three pilots is:

Vincent and Jean Francois LEYS 1596,5 km
Richard ABRUZZO and Gary JOHNSON 1519.9 km
Philippe DE COCK and Ronny VAN HAVERE 1422.7 km


Congratulations to the winners and all other pilots for this outstanding competition

Posted by Luc at 9:44 AM | Email this to a friend

Three times in a row

Vincent & Franzi Leys Vincent and Jean Francois LEYS landed this morning. Right before the landing they still had 50 kg of ballast, after the landing about 2 - 30 kg of ballast was left. Everything went very well.

We presume Gordon Bennett will be held in France again next year!

Tonight probably a report on Eurosport around 23hr. The brothers have constantly been followed by a camera team. And as another camera was mounted on the basket, we will be able to see shots of the race from the preparations till the landing!

Posted by Marianne at 9:30 AM | Email this to a friend

They have done it again!

Sunrise Calculations based on unconfirmed positions, reveal that the Vincent and Jean-Francois LEYS have overtaken USA 1 during the night around 03:00 UTC.
Sunrise for them will be at 06:10 UTC when they will probably be in Portugal. We wish them a safe landing and will report without delay of their landing position.

Mathijs R. de Bruijn.
ED 47th Gordon Bennett 2003
Arc et Senans, 16 September 2003 05:15

Posted by Marianne at 8:08 AM | Email this to a friend

A little bit tired but very happy!


We received the confirmation that our Belgian team landed smoothly, the crew was near the landing-spot, the GPS indicates 1423 km ... the balloon has already been packed.

Till the end there often was visual contact with 'Le petit prince' of the brothers Leys, so you can imagine the tension was enormous.

We think our men performed very well and it is our guess that Philippe and Ronny also can live with this outcome. The pilots and the crew of 'Belgica II' will take some rest in Spain before returning to Arc et Senans... We're sure they are going to celebrate now.

Also on our behalf: well-meant congratulations!!!

Donald & Luc Buyle
Balloonspotter... for Gasballon.be

Posted by Marianne at 7:01 AM | Email this to a friend

15 September 2003

The end is near

The news has just reached us: The Eagle has landed!

It had become very difficult to keep The Belgica II stable, which resulted in an excessive use of ballast. The pilots then decided to put the balloon down.
Now we have to wait and see what the two remaining participants still are going to do.

Our sincere congratulations to both our Belgian teams on the occasion of their splendid achievements!!!

Posted by Marianne at 9:37 PM | Email this to a friend

More news from the front

Chasecrew Monday 15/09/2003, 19:30

Another day of following has gone by. Our pilots have been up in the air for 39,5 hours now and we in our chase car have traveled 2500 km. It is now 19:30 and still 30 outside. Long live the airco!

Continue reading : "More news from the front"

Posted by Marianne at 9:20 PM | Email this to a friend


The 47th Gordon Bennett is going in its final phase. GER 1 with Willy EIMERS and Bernd LANDSMANN landed around midday and most likely secured a fourth position. Claudia (Willy’s wife) called in and said he had problems with his Oxygen system and was forced to fly low although he had enough sand left.

The final battle will be between USA 1, FRA 1 and BEL 1.


We are trying to be more restrictive in our predictions in the Operation HQ. However I can tell you that all computers are running hot. Each of us has its secret site and better information and knows what to do if only the pilots up there would listen us.

Jens MERCZAK is guiding the pilots through the Spanish and Portuguese Air Traffic Control centres and calming done some worried controllers what these balloons are doing there.

We will see what the late evening or night will bring or maybe even the day of tomorrow.

To put it in Spanish will see “Maana”

Mathijs R. de Bruijn
ED 47th Gordon Bennet
Arc et Senans, 15 September 2003, 17:15

Posted by Luc at 5:48 PM | Email this to a friend

Three balloons above Spain

Eimers - Landsmann GER1 has landed safely at 11:00 (UTC) and the 3 last balloons are fighting at less than 200 km from the coast for the first place.

USA1 (Abruzzo / Johnson) is heading, followed by FRA1 (Leys / Leys) and BEL1 (De Cock / Van Havere).

The suspens lets us breathless !!

Posted by Luc at 4:44 PM | Email this to a friend

Hot news from the front

Monday 15/09/03, 9:00

After an all-night drive we have finally caught up on our men. We are now 2000 km from the launching area. Time for breakfast in a typical Spanish road-house.

Continue reading : "Hot news from the front"

Posted by Marianne at 4:27 PM | Email this to a friend

Four balloons are battling it out

As you can see from the live tracking page, there are still 4 balloons in the air at daybreak of September 15th. All other balloons landed safely and will be on their way back to the competition centre.
The balloons still flying are spread over the middle of Spain with the brothers LEYS leading, EIMERS trailing behind and DE COCK and ABRUZZO in the middle.


Leading now is not necessarily an advantage at this moment because once landed near the coast line the others may try to just beat that with a couple of hundred meters. So the race is still open and becoming very exciting as time progresses. Our simple calculations show that theoretically every point at the coast line is reachable.

We will keep you informed!

You reactions to our coverage of the GB2003 are welcome write to: reaction@gordonbennett2003.org

Mathijs R. de Bruijn
ED 47th Gordon Bennett 2003
Arc et Senans.

Posted by Luc at 10:30 AM | Email this to a friend


at 21:00hr LT --

GER1 - 1030 km
BEL1 - 1165 km
USA1 - 1230 km
FRA1 - 1292 km

Continue reading : "Distances..."

Posted by Marianne at 10:14 AM | Email this to a friend

Thrilling till the end

Because the race has reached a crucial phase no outsider is allowed to enter the control-centre of the tournament organisation anymore. Even our webmaster, being a member of the jury, can no longer provide information to the site...

One thing is certain: it promises to become a very tense day, and who knows ... maybe some will add another night...

Continue reading : "Thrilling till the end"

Posted by Marianne at 9:48 AM | Email this to a friend

Take-off report by the Belgica2 crew

The Belgica2 (BEL1) crew yesterday sent in a report about the start of the race... Read and ... shiver ...

Lunch Sunday September 14, 2003 15:44

After a very short night (4:00 - 7:30) we left to the south. But first some more news about yesterday. WHAT A START !!! At 10 oclock in the morning we already were in the launching area because we had to start inflating at 13:00. First we wanted to take a copious breakfast in Hotel De Hoop but too late, so we had to find another solution. With a bread from a genuine French baker, meat from our own fridge, coffee prepared on a small camping-cooker, and two borrowed seats we organised a pleasant, healthy and very tasty breakfast. Our catering department thought this to be essential as preparation to a - hopefully - long flight.

Continue reading : "Take-off report by the Belgica2 crew"

Posted by Marianne at 9:45 AM | Email this to a friend

14 September 2003

Gordon Bennett is exciting as ever !

Six balloons have landed in close proximity north of Bordeaux after travelling a distance of around 500km in 8-10 hours.
Leading are the LEYS brothers in FRANCE 1 followed on the heels by BELGIUM 1, Philippe DE COCK and Ronny VAN HAVERE. It looks like a neck to neck to the Portuguese coast line at the moment and the outcome will have all the excitement of a typical Gordon Bennett race. Our amateur speculations using the HYSPLITT trajectories reveal that the furthest possible point in Portugal can be reached

Continue reading : "Gordon Bennett is exciting as ever !"

Posted by Luc at 5:22 PM | Email this to a friend

The results at this moment

... nearly 2 o'clock (LT). Three teams have gone in the water near Bordeaux, to reach Spain/Portugal. All the other teams are flying a little bit more to the north, but they all follow the same direction.

Three teams have landed: FRA2, USA2 and GBR1 (in this order).

Posted by Marianne at 2:09 PM | Email this to a friend



Click on the picture to enlarge this map.

Almost all the teams are flying in the direction of Bordeaux. Only SUI2 has a direction of 300. Most of the balloons have reached Limoges or are flying NE of this town.

Up to this moment FRA2 and FRA1 have covered the largest distance.

Posted by Marianne at 10:03 AM | Email this to a friend

The take-off ... and 2 abandonments

Berben / Simons After midnight the wind suddenly picked up again. The balloncrew needed all their strength and ballast to keep the balloons to the ground. The balloon of Krebs and Vollenweider (SWI1) had to be deflated again because its heavy swaying had completely deformed the basket.

Some time later team SWI3 (Christian Stoll and Werner Najer) also decided not to inflate their balloon and thus not to participate at the race.

Continue reading : "The take-off ... and 2 abandonments"

Posted by Marianne at 9:55 AM | Email this to a friend

13 September 2003

Patience is ...


... a beautiful virtue …

At 18:00 the inflation of the first balloon started, followed by the second one at 19:30 ... The 3 netballoons will be inflated first because they are much more stable without the basket hanging underneath.

At this moment the wind has already decreased, so the expectations are that the netless balloons too will be filled very soon and at high speed.

The organisation still hopes to let the first balloons take off by midnight. Until then all we can do is sit ... and wait.

As the officials are almost constantly using the internet connections, it can take some time before more news will reach you.

LuDo… for www.gasballon.be

Posted by Marianne at 9:29 PM | Email this to a friend

Time for some fun


Yesterday evening everybody was still in the mood for some jokes and fun.

Relaxed the gasballoon pilots watched their hotair collegues at work, and event manager Mathijs even accepted an offer to make a flight.

Some time later he was seen to be racing around on an old bike.

Continue reading : "Time for some fun"

Posted by Marianne at 7:50 PM | Email this to a friend

Take-off postponed

Due to increasing winds on the ground the time schedule for inflation and take-off has been changed:
19:00 Start of inflation
23:30 Last briefing (update weather and ATC)
24:00 Take-off

Posted by Marianne at 4:03 PM | Email this to a friend

12 September 2003

Starting order

General Briefing

At the General briefing we were told the start is almost certainly going to be tomorrow. The weather forecasts for tomorrow evening are ... a clear sky, wind from the north-east, possibly turning to the west later on.

Tomorrow at noon there will be another meteo briefing and by 13:00h the first balloons must be ready to be filled. The filling will happen in groups of 4 balloons; Philippe and Ronny are in the first group, Bob and Benot have to be ready to start filling their balloon by 14:00h.

Continue reading : "Starting order"

Posted by Marianne at 9:57 PM | Email this to a friend


Check In

All the teams have been checked in, except Austria 2 and Poland, who still didnt show up. Several teams are already filling sandbags.

Everybody is waiting for the General briefing and curious about the starting order.

Continue reading : "Check-in"

Posted by Marianne at 6:30 PM | Email this to a friend

Yesterday morning...

Launchfield Logement

Yesterday morning we left under a bright full moon for Arc et Senans (France). Easy traffic and two pitstops later we arrived on our destination, via Lille, Arras, Reims and Dole. And here it is that the 2003 Gordon Bennett will start tomorrow.

Continue reading : "Yesterday morning..."

Posted by Marianne at 2:58 PM | Email this to a friend

09 September 2003

Helicopter will follow Belgian team

Leys BrothersDuring the Gordon Bennett a film will be made about the brothers Leys. For the very first time in the history of the race aerial filmshots will be taken. This will happen from a helicopter chartered by the Belgian team Bob Berben/Benot Simons.

Posted by Marianne at 9:19 AM | Email this to a friend

08 September 2003

General Information

Gordon BennettNext week-end, hopefully, the balloons will be in the air at this time..
In few days, gas balloons from 9 countries will take off in an intense moment of emotion and will fly over Europe...

Arc et Senans has organised a big event around the Gordon Bennett Race and the hot air balloons will take off on Saturday afternoon from the inside of the saline Royale.. Followed in the evening by the gas balloons take off.

Here the general information :

Continue reading : "General Information"

Posted by Luc at 6:29 PM | Email this to a friend

03 September 2003

Preparations for Gordon Bennett


The two Belgian teams have been preparing for Gordon Bennett for months. There are rumours about pilots who are going to make it hot for Armstrong, and others who can already run faster than their own shadow; about pilots who drift about at sea or who spend a night at the home of some relatives because they have a cold storage room. Thats apparently the way to test whether the new thermosuit is as good as stated in the directions for use.

Continue reading : "Preparations for Gordon Bennett"

Posted by Marianne at 11:30 PM | Email this to a friend

02 September 2003


Royal Saltworks

The check in will be on Thursday (11 Sep) from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm
And on Friday (12 Sep) morning, from 9:00 to 1:00 pm

You can find map, pictures, information, e-book, e-cards, wallpapersetc.. on the website :


Posted by Luc at 7:09 AM | Email this to a friend

Last messages

Tragic death of balloon team leader
Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett 2008 - the teams
GB 2009 in Geneva
GB 2008 in Albuquerque
New logo for Gordon Bennett 2007
GORDON BENNETT 2006 - They did it again!
Gordon Bennett Race 2006 - "The Movie"
A unique collector's item
Return to the past
Far ... farther ... the farthest


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