Gondola, Double Eagle 2

    Double Eagle 2 Gondola

    Double Eagle 2 Gondola at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

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    Double Eagle II Over Farmland during its Transatlantic Flight

    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, the crew of Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson, and Larry Newman, all of Albuquerque, New Mexico, had crossed the Atlantic Ocean. 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.

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This object is on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Boeing Aviation Hangar

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.