48th Gordon Bennett Race
August 26th - September 4th, 2004 - Thionville, France

Gordon Bennett 2004
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2004-08-31 22:35:55 UTC

The race is over

We just received a phone call that Richard Abruzzo and Carol Rymer-Davis have landed in Sweden. This marks the end of a very interesting Gordon Bennett race. We congratulate all pilots for their great achievements.

Final results will be available on Friday when all the pilots have debriefed.

2004-08-31 08:37:26 UTC

Some background on the flight so far

We have been more than busy here in the office after launch. Only a few hours into the flight the balloons were approaching Frankfurt airport, one of the busiest airports in Europe. Since the balloons were to arrive in Frankfurt even before midnight they hit a very active time at the airport, especially with school holidays terminating at the same time. Our ATC controller and the controllers in Langen did a fantastic job to manage a safe way through the airspace of Frankfurt. Thanks to everybody in Langen! It was a great help for us and the ATC guys to watch the progress of the balloons on these pages and that was one of the reasons that no time was left for news communications :-(.

Only a few hours later in late morning nearly the same crowd of balloons invaded Berlin airspace with three airports. Again thanks to our close cooperation with Berlin ATC we also managed to get all the balloons through. We already got feedback from some of the pilots who already landed and they were very grateful to have experienced such a nice flight over Frankfurt and Berlin.

After Berlin the weather was getting bad and some balloons landed in the rain or at least they had to pack up in bad rain after they had landed in north eastern Germany or in northern Poland. Six balloons decided to fly out onto the Baltic Sea. Some of them experienced very bad weather but they all managed to get through it and so far three balloons have landed in Sweden, as you can see from the maps.

Three balloons are still flying and it will be interesting where they will be able to land. Our own analysis shows a good chance to reach the far northern coast of the Baltic sea. It will be an interesting race.

2004-08-29 08:45:22 UTC

Beginning of inflation planned for 12:00loc

In the briefing this morning a slightly revised schedule was published. In order to get the balloons into the air as soon as possible they are layed out already since 10:00loc. The first two balloons should start to inflate at 12:00loc. You can watch the progress on our webcam. If the flow of helium is as promised all balloons could be filled by 17:00loc so that the launch would be around 18:00loc.

The initial flight path of the balloons will take them through German airspace, south of Frankfurt. The balloons should arrive in the area of Dresden/Cottbus by 0600 UTC tomorrow and then they will continue into Poland. In Poland the wind will turn left and take them out on the Baltic sea. From there the models differ whether the balloons will turn to Sweden or even to Finland/Latvia.

2004-08-28 10:09:04 UTC

Launch postponed to Sunday

In this morning's briefing it was decided to postpone the launch to Sunday. The weather outlook for today has a lot of rain for the area of Thionville. The rain is supposed to end on Sunday morning.

The next briefing for the pilots is on Sunday morning 09:00loc (07:00 UTC). If the weather forecast from today will be the same tomorrow the first balloons should be ready for inflation at 11:00loc and all balloons should be filled by 18:00loc. So the balloons could all be in the air by Sunday 20:00loc.

More details will be posted when new information is available.

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