History about the coupe aeronautiaue gordon bennett, gasballoon race

 

The Gordon Bennett Cup is a gas balloon race.
The goal is simple: the winner is the one who flies the longes distance.
It is the most respected race in aviation in the world!

The first edition of this beautiful race was in 1906, in Paris (France). Since the beginning, the Gordon Bennett was already won 10 times by the Belgian nationality!

During the years the technique has changed a lot.
Nowadays the pilots have very accurate meteo information, gps information,...
In the beginning years the pilots had only their experience, an altimeter and a compass. There are even stories of participants who even did not know in which country they landed!

James Gordon Bennett Jr, who was owner of the famous newspaper "The New York Herald", had a lot of feeling for competition.
He organised a lot of competitions, also in auto races.

During the World War 1, the race was interrupted. After World War 2, the race was not hold until 1983.

The winning country is usually hosting the competition of the following year.

In the Gordon Bennett Cup of 1995, a big tragedy happened. Three gasballoons which were participating the race, entered into the Belarusian airspace. The Belarusian airforce shot down one balloon. The two pilots, with American nationality were killed.
The other two balloons could land safely, and the crews of these balloons were fined because they were entering Belarus without a visa...
However the organizers informed the Belarusian Government about the race, already months before, and all the necessary flight plans were filed.

In the years '20 the Belgian Ernest Demuyter won several times the Gordon Bennett race! What was special: he won the race three times in a row. This meant that he could keep the Gordon Bennett trophy! The cup is now preserved at the Royal Army Museum in Brussels! Ernest Demuyter participated with his balloon the Belgica1 (the name of D-OCOX is Belgica2, nicknamed to this historical balloon and its pilot). Ernest Demuyter wrote two very beautiful books: "Belgica" and "La Navigation Aerienne et les randonnees victorieuses du Belgica."

And in 2005, our good friends and BIG help for this GB: pilot’s Bob Berben & Siméons Benoît won this prestigious race with a record breaking distance of 3400,38 km in 65:20 h!

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