Gor­don Ben­nett!

Pilot - - NOTES -

The Swiss team of Lau­rent Sci­boz and Ni­co­las Tieche took vic­tory in the 63rd Coupe Aero­nau­tique Gor­don Ben­nett, The FAI World Long-dis­tance Gas Bal­loon Cham­pi­onship. The team – com­pe­ti­tion des­ig­na­tion SUI-1 – flew its bal­loon 1,774.76km from the take­off site in Mont­be­liard, France to Ro­ma­nia, spend­ing 82 hours and three min­utes in the air.

Twenty teams took part, most choos­ing to fly low af­ter take­off on Sat­ur­day 14 Septem­ber, ex­pect­ing a change of winds to en­able them to push into Aus­tria, Hun­gary, Ro­ma­nia and Bul­garia. With seven teams still in com­pe­ti­tion at dawn on Tues­day, it took sev­eral hours un­til the last bal­loon touched down that af­ter­noon to cal­cu­late the win­ner.

Com­pe­ti­tion Di­rec­tor Markus Haggeney said: “What an epic race it has been! I can only con­grat­u­late all the pi­lots and their sup­port teams for their de­ter­mi­na­tion, courage and com­pet­i­tive spirit in this ex­traor­di­nar­ily long race. Hats off to them! The teams fought tooth and nail un­til the very end, which made the race more ex­cit­ing than ever.

“These pi­lots, pow­ered only with the help of the winds, man­aged the ex­ploit of fly­ing for al­most four days un­til the Black Sea. This in­cred­i­ble spirit of sheer ad­ven­ture is what makes the Coupe Aéro­nau­tique Gor­don Ben­nett so spe­cial.”

The win­ning team will now or­gan­ise the 2021 race take­off from Switzer­land; the 2020 race will take off from Poland (the 2018 win­ning team’s home coun­try).

En route from France to Ro­ma­nia, Lau­rent Sci­boz and Ni­co­las Tièche pose for a selfie in their bal­loon bas­ket...

... and en­joy the spoils of vic­tory af­ter mak­ing the long­est flight

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