Gondola, Double Eagle 2

Gondola, Double Eagle 2

     

The flight of the Double Eagle II balloon came to a safe and successful end in a wheat field near Miserey, France, about 60 miles northwest of Paris, on August 17, 1978. The event closed a chapter in the history of flight that had begun when the first human beings ventured aloft in 1783. At long last, a crew of balloonists had crossed the Atlantic Ocean.

Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson, and Larry Newman, all of Albuquerque, New Mexico, completed the first balloon flight across the Atlantic, flying the 3,100-mile flight from Presque Isle, Maine, to Miserey in 137 hours, 6 minutes. Lift-off had been at 8:42 p m on August 11. Their helium-filled balloon, the Double Eagle II, was 112 feet high, 65 feet in diameter, and had a capacity of 160,000 cubic feet. Abruzzo, Anderson, and Newman rode in a 15 x 7 x 4 1/2-foot gondola named The Spirit of Albuquerque, equipped with a twin-hulled catamaran that would float in case of an emergency water landing. Also carried along by Newman, a hang-glider pilot and owner of a hang-glider manufacturing company, was a glider which was attached to the gondola with the idea of using it for the descent at the end of the flight. It had to be cast off to lighten the balloon, however, before the crew reached their goal.

Physical Description:
Yellow and red with black lettering.

Country of Origin
United States of America

Location
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, VA
Hangar
Boeing Aviation Hangar

Type
CRAFT-Balloons & Parts

Dimensions
Overall: 180 x 84 x 60in., 1610lb. (457.2 x 213.36 x 152.4cm, 730.3kg)

The flight of the Double Eagle II balloon came to a safe and successful end in a wheat field near Miserey, France, about sixty miles northwest of Paris, on August 17, 1978. The event closed a chapter in the history of flight that had begun when the first human beings ventured aloft in 1783. At long last, a crew of balloonists had crossed the Atlantic Ocean.

In 1844, the American writer Edgar Allen Poe had captured the attention of the public with his "Balloon Hoax," an article in the New York Sun claiming that balloonist Monck Mason had flown the Atlantic. The earliest-known serious attempt at a crossing came in 1873, when the well-known Civil War balloonist John Wise, sponsored by the newspaper Daily Graphic, took off from New York City but was forced down by a storm over the Catskills. The old dream was reborn in the 1970s, as a new generation of aeronauts sought fresh challenges. Flying a balloon across the ocean was not something to be undertaken lightly, however. Before the success of Double Eagle II, seventeen attempts had been made to cross the Atlantic by balloon with the loss of seven lives.

Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson, and Larry Newman, all of Albuquerque, New Mexico, made the 3,100-mile flight from Presque Isle, Maine, to Miserey in 137 hours, 6 minutes. Lift-off had been at 8 42 p m on August 11. Their helium-filled balloon, the Double Eagle II, was 112 feet high, 65 feet in diameter, and had a capacity of 160,000 cubic feet. Abruzzo, Anderson, and Newman rode in a 15 x 7 x 4 1/2-foot gondola named The Spirit of Albuquerque, equipped with a twin-hulled catamaran that would float in case of an emergency water landing. Also carried along by Newman, a hang-glider pilot and owner of a hang-glider manufacturing company, was a glider which was attached to the gondola with the idea of using it for the descent at the end of the flight. It had to be cast off to lighten the balloon, however, before the crew reached their goal.

The most recent attempt before that of the Double Eagle II was in July 1978 by two Englishmen who took off from Saint John's, Newfoundland. They fell short of their goal, Brest, France, by only 103 miles. Abruzzo and Anderson themselves had made an attempt in September 1977, but were forced down by bad weather off the coast of Iceland. Their balloon for that try was the Double Eagle.

The Double Eagle II was constructed by Ed Yost of Tea, South Dakota, who had himself made a trans-Atlantic attempt in 1976. The gondola was equipped with computers for navigation and radio gear for communication with land monitoring stations. It carried a VHF radio, two single sideband HF radios, an ADF beacon transmitter, an amateur band radio, a maritime radio, and a hookup to the Nimbus 6 satellite, which transmitted their latitude and longitude to Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

Officially, the Atlantic crossing was attained at 10:02 p.m. on August 16, when the Double Eagle II crossed the Irish coast. But the goal of the three pilots was le Bourget airfield near Paris, where Lindbergh had landed. However, late in the afternoon of the 17th, with ballast low and daylight fading, the pilots reached the decision to land in the French province of Normandy. Thus at 7:48 p.m. they came down in a wheat field near Miserey and were immediately surrounded by crowds who had been following the balloon's path.

During the crossing, the altitude of the Double Eagle II had varied from a heart-stopping low point of 3,500 feet on August 13 when clouds screened the sun and cooled the gas, causing the balloon to sink, to a high point of 24,950 feet on August 16.

The success of the Double Eagle II, after so many others had failed, was not simply a matter of luck. It can be attributed to a combination of twentieth-century technology, better understanding of weather patterns, and the skill and experience of a crew who achieved one of the oldest goals in flying.

The flight of the Double Eagle II balloon came to a safe and successful end in a wheat field near Miserey, France, about 60 miles northwest of Paris, on August 17, 1978. The event closed a chapter in the history of flight that had begun when the first human beings ventured aloft in 1783. At long last, a crew of balloonists had crossed the Atlantic Ocean.

Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson, and Larry Newman, all of Albuquerque, New Mexico, completed the first balloon flight across the Atlantic, flying the 3,100-mile flight from Presque Isle, Maine, to Miserey in 137 hours, 6 minutes. Lift-off had been at 8:42 p m on August 11. Their helium-filled balloon, the Double Eagle II, was 112 feet high, 65 feet in diameter, and had a capacity of 160,000 cubic feet. Abruzzo, Anderson, and Newman rode in a 15 x 7 x 4 1/2-foot gondola named The Spirit of Albuquerque, equipped with a twin-hulled catamaran that would float in case of an emergency water landing. Also carried along by Newman, a hang-glider pilot and owner of a hang-glider manufacturing company, was a glider which was attached to the gondola with the idea of using it for the descent at the end of the flight. It had to be cast off to lighten the balloon, however, before the crew reached their goal.

Physical Description:
Yellow and red with black lettering.

Country of Origin
United States of America

Location
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, VA
Hangar
Boeing Aviation Hangar

Type
CRAFT-Balloons & Parts

Dimensions
Overall: 180 x 84 x 60in., 1610lb. (457.2 x 213.36 x 152.4cm, 730.3kg)

The flight of the Double Eagle II balloon came to a safe and successful end in a wheat field near Miserey, France, about sixty miles northwest of Paris, on August 17, 1978. The event closed a chapter in the history of flight that had begun when the first human beings ventured aloft in 1783. At long last, a crew of balloonists had crossed the Atlantic Ocean.

In 1844, the American writer Edgar Allen Poe had captured the attention of the public with his "Balloon Hoax," an article in the New York Sun claiming that balloonist Monck Mason had flown the Atlantic. The earliest-known serious attempt at a crossing came in 1873, when the well-known Civil War balloonist John Wise, sponsored by the newspaper Daily Graphic, took off from New York City but was forced down by a storm over the Catskills. The old dream was reborn in the 1970s, as a new generation of aeronauts sought fresh challenges. Flying a balloon across the ocean was not something to be undertaken lightly, however. Before the success of Double Eagle II, seventeen attempts had been made to cross the Atlantic by balloon with the loss of seven lives.

Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson, and Larry Newman, all of Albuquerque, New Mexico, made the 3,100-mile flight from Presque Isle, Maine, to Miserey in 137 hours, 6 minutes. Lift-off had been at 8 42 p m on August 11. Their helium-filled balloon, the Double Eagle II, was 112 feet high, 65 feet in diameter, and had a capacity of 160,000 cubic feet. Abruzzo, Anderson, and Newman rode in a 15 x 7 x 4 1/2-foot gondola named The Spirit of Albuquerque, equipped with a twin-hulled catamaran that would float in case of an emergency water landing. Also carried along by Newman, a hang-glider pilot and owner of a hang-glider manufacturing company, was a glider which was attached to the gondola with the idea of using it for the descent at the end of the flight. It had to be cast off to lighten the balloon, however, before the crew reached their goal.

The most recent attempt before that of the Double Eagle II was in July 1978 by two Englishmen who took off from Saint John's, Newfoundland. They fell short of their goal, Brest, France, by only 103 miles. Abruzzo and Anderson themselves had made an attempt in September 1977, but were forced down by bad weather off the coast of Iceland. Their balloon for that try was the Double Eagle.

The Double Eagle II was constructed by Ed Yost of Tea, South Dakota, who had himself made a trans-Atlantic attempt in 1976. The gondola was equipped with computers for navigation and radio gear for communication with land monitoring stations. It carried a VHF radio, two single sideband HF radios, an ADF beacon transmitter, an amateur band radio, a maritime radio, and a hookup to the Nimbus 6 satellite, which transmitted their latitude and longitude to Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

Officially, the Atlantic crossing was attained at 10:02 p.m. on August 16, when the Double Eagle II crossed the Irish coast. But the goal of the three pilots was le Bourget airfield near Paris, where Lindbergh had landed. However, late in the afternoon of the 17th, with ballast low and daylight fading, the pilots reached the decision to land in the French province of Normandy. Thus at 7:48 p.m. they came down in a wheat field near Miserey and were immediately surrounded by crowds who had been following the balloon's path.

During the crossing, the altitude of the Double Eagle II had varied from a heart-stopping low point of 3,500 feet on August 13 when clouds screened the sun and cooled the gas, causing the balloon to sink, to a high point of 24,950 feet on August 16.

The success of the Double Eagle II, after so many others had failed, was not simply a matter of luck. It can be attributed to a combination of twentieth-century technology, better understanding of weather patterns, and the skill and experience of a crew who achieved one of the oldest goals in flying.

ID: A19790532000