This year’s Swiss hot air balloon festival included something a little special took to mark the first time a hot air balloon had successfully navigated the globe.
This month, the 41st Swiss hot air balloon festival took place in Switzerland’s ballooning capital of Château-d’Oex. Perched within the Alps, this nine-day gathering is one of the most picturesque events on the hot air ballooning calendar. Each year, over 100 balloons from over 20 countries gather to the town to enjoy spectacular night glows, balloon races, and a visit to the hot air balloon museum.
At the 1999 gathering, aeronauts Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones set off from Château-d’Oex to embark on their audacious attempt. This year, to mark the 20th anniversary of this ballooning feat, the pilots launched their very own balloon race.
Named the Piccard-Jones Eco Trophy, the race is intended to usher in a new age of hot air balloon engineering. The contest is only open to the new breed of ‘eco-balloons’. which are designed to use less fuel and to stay in the air four times longer. The Piccard-Jones Eco Trophy is a way of showing off what they can do.
Seven contestants took off from the same point on the mountain to see how far they could go. This year, the prize was won by a French team called Balloon Concept that made it all the way to the Italian Alps.
Hot air balloon flights are always exciting. For a taste of this thrill closer to home, enquire about our hot air balloon adventures in Bath, Bristol, or other areas of the South West.