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Circumnavigating the Globe in a Hot Air Balloon
Dátum pridania: 03.03.2008 Oznámkuj: 12345
Autor referátu: malemasko
Jazyk: Angličtina Počet slov: 1 370
Referát vhodný pre: Gymnázium Počet A4: 4.6
Priemerná známka: 2.98 Rýchle čítanie: 7m 40s
Pomalé čítanie: 11m 30s
Bertrand Piccard and Bryan Jones guided Breitling Orbiter 3 up and away from the Swiss Alpine village of Chateau d'Oex at 8:05, GMT, 1March 1999. They landed in the Egyptian desert 19 days, 21 hours, and 55 minutes later (March 21, 1999), having traveled a distance of 40,814 kilometers (25,361 miles). During the course of the trip, the balloon had climbed to altitudes of up to 11,373 meters (37,313 feet), and achieved a maximum speed of 161 knots per hour.

The journey was far from easy. The two crewmen spent almost three weeks in a confined space roughly the size of a recreational vehicle. The daily routine called for each man to spend eight hours alone at the controls; eight hours working with his crewmate; and eight hours in the single bunk. In spite of heaters designed to maintain a fairly comfortable 15 degrees C (59 degrees F), cabin temperatures occasionally fell so low that drinking water froze and ice had to be carefully chipped away from delicate electronic circuitry on the interior walls. Jones suffered with a cold, while Piccard resorted to self-hypnosis to fight depression and fall asleep. Having consumed the fresh food during the first few days of flight, the two balloonists subsisted on dehydrated meals. "When Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon, he was happy to be so far away," Bertrand Piccard commented after the flight. "When we stepped onto the desert, we were happy to put our footprints back on earth."

In spite of the hardships, the two crewmen were able to find a deeper meaning in their great adventure. "For me, the flight was a unique opportunity to establish a friendlier relationship with our planet," Piccard explains. "Human beings always want to control nature, but flying around the world by balloon … we must harmonize with nature, following the rhythm of the wind."

On the morning of Monday, March 22, 1999, the Washington Post carried a front page feature article, "Earthbound but on Cloud Nine," following up on the successful conclusion of the flight of Breitling Orbiter 3 the day before. Asked by reporter Howard Schneider about the fate of Breitling Orbiter 3, the balloon that had carried the two adventurers on their historic voyage, project manager Alan Noble remarked that the sponsors and the team "… would probably donate the craft to a museum -- possibly the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian."

Was the gondola of Breitling Orbiter 3 something that we wished to acquire for the NASM? There was no question about that. The museum staff take special pride in preserving and displaying the world's finest collection of historic globe-girdling aircraft. These included: The Douglas World Cruiser Chicago that made the first trip around the world in 1924; the Lockheed Vega Winnie Mae in which Wiley Post made headlines with world flights in 1931 and 1933; several light aircraft that made the trip after WW II; The Spirit of Texas, which Ross Perot, Jr. and Jay Coburn piloted on the first helicopter circumnavigation; and Voyager in which Dick Rutan and Jeanna Yeager made history with the first flight of an airplane around the world, non-stop and un-refueled. Breitling Orbiter 3 would be a worthy addition to that collection, a reminder of one of the great adventures in the history of flight.

Actually acquiring the gondola was not be an easy task, however. The real credit for the success belongs to the then NASM director, the late Admiral Donald Engen. Thanks in large measure to his superb negotiating skills and wide contacts in aviation and business, Breitling Orbiter 3 now rests in a place of honor in NASM's Milestones of Flight gallery, a proud addition to our collection of world-circling aircraft.
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