Atlantic Crossings 1970-1977
During the 1970s some of the most famous attempts at crossing the Atlantic were carried out.
FREE LIFE - 20th September 1970
In September 1970 Malcolm Brighton, an English balloon pioneer, teamed up with a couple of Americans named Anderson to attempt a crossing of the Atlantic. The flight was the first example of a combined helium and hot air balloon. They took off on 20th September, but ditched about 30 hours later in a terrible storm just off Newfoundland. All 3 crew died in the crash and the wreckage was never recovered.
YANKEE ZEPHYR - 7th August 1973
On August 7th 1973, the Yankee Zephyr was set off, piloted by Bobby Sparks, another balloon operating on the hot air/helium combination and featuring a basket based on the design of Small World. It was the first attempt from Bar Harbour, Maine. The flight was brought to an end by a violent storm after 23 hours. Luckily Sparks was rescued.
LIGHT HEART - 18th February 1974
The first 'jet stream' attempt was made by Thomas Gatch using a cluster of 10 super high pressure helium balloons. Unfortunately, Mr. Gatch crashed the balloon into the ocean and no wreckage was recovered.
WINDBORNE - 6th January 1975
Malcolm Forbes used a combination of design and planning for his second high altitude attempt in January 1975. The weather was against him once again. His balloon became uncontrollable during take off and the cluster of helium filled balloons had to be cut loose to save the pilots' lives.
ODYSSEY - 21st August 1975
Made more determined by his first failure, Bobby Sparks lifted off again in the Odyssey on 21st August 1975. He was accompanied by a stowaway on this occasion, his chief ground crewman, which added an unexpected weight to the balloon. The flight lasted only 2 hours before Sparks was once again in the ocean!
SPIRIT OF '76 - 25th June 1976
Odysseys' basket was recovered with the return on a loan given to the unsuccessful venture. The refitted basket, attached to the 4th Semich built envelope to make an Atlantic attempt, set off from Lakehurst, New Jersey, an old airship base. Spirit of '76 was forced down by a storm 550 miles later and Thomas was luckily rescued by a Russian Trawler.
SILVER FOX - 5th October 1976
Ed Yost made the 7th modern attempt on the Atlantic Crossing in Silver Fox which was the first Yost built balloon to attempt the crossing. Ed lifted off on 5th October 1976. He smashed all the records set a staggering 18 years before by Small World, and he seemed well on his way to a successful run straight to Europe. But bad luck and a change in the wind direction brought him down mid ocean, 700 miles from Europe.
DOUBLE EAGLE - 9th September 1977
Maxie Anderson and Ben Abruzzo's first attempt nearly ended in disaster when they crashed into a stormy ocean off Iceland. They had flown Double Eagle for 64 hours and 2950 miles.
EAGLE - 10th October 1977
The 3rd Yost built envelope to be used on an Atlantic crossing attempt lifted off from Bar Harbour, Maine, on 10th October 1977. The 86,000 cubic feet balloon piloted by Reinhard and Stevenson covered a mere 220 miles in 46 hours before crashing in yet another storm.