First Around the World
For balloonists Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones, the end of one journey marked the beginning of another.
- By Linda Shiner
- AirSpaceMag.com, September 17, 2009
Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones
Crews had begun inflating the Breitling Orbiter’s envelope at 3 o’clock on the morning of the launch from Chateau d’Oex, Switzerland, a ski resort 35 miles southwest of Bern. At about 9 a.m. local time on March 1, 1999, amid the loud ringing of church bells, cheers from thousands who had assembled, and the blaring of a fire engine’s siren, the crew chief severed the last rope holding the balloon—with a Swiss Army knife, of course.