Flying Fast

posted Sep 9, 2017, 6:19 AM by Ken Tuley

The 21 balloon teams have made it thru the night. and most continue to head Northeast as a fast pace. The strategies are going to be interesting as they navigate around the airspace of Kalingrad. It's Russian Province and off limits to balloons. There's a 30 mile gap they can fly to on the east side, or go around the west over the Baltic. 
Reports from the balloon overnight (during the day in the balloon). Weather good, spirits good, some haze and clouds, but everything going well.
Check out Foxtrot Charlie on Facebook for more frequent and detailed updates, as well as links to what the other teams and organizers are saying and doing.

Inflations have begun

posted Sep 8, 2017, 7:00 AM by Ken Tuley

Inflations have begun in the 61st Gordon Bennett. At 5am MDT or 1pm Swiss time Peter reported that 10 of 21 balloons were inflated and Foxtrot Charlie was still waiting to start inflation. Wind is picking up and with no trucks allowed on the field, there is nothing to tie off to. I've posted a couple of pictures, notice the gray clouds!

Launch Order set, Foxtrot Charlie near end of field

posted Sep 7, 2017, 3:04 PM by Ken Tuley

At opening ceremonies this evening, the launch order for the 61st Gordon Bennett was determined. Using a lottery process, FoxTrot Charlie drew 17th place out of 21. Launch order can have an impact on the success of the race, but sometimes being first is good, sometimes being last is good. We'll have to wait and see what happens. Launch is set for 7:30pm Swiss time on Friday. That's UTC +2. Since New Mexico is UTC -6, it's 8 hours difference between NM and Switzerland, making launch time in NM 11:30 am.  We're looking to see if we can find a live video feed of the launch. We'll let you know if we find it.
Check out a picture of the entire launch order on the Pictures, 2017 Gordon Bennett page.

2017 Gordon Bennett

posted Sep 5, 2017, 6:23 PM by Ken Tuley

It's time for the 61st Gordon Bennett FAI World Long Distance Gas Balloon Championship.

Here's the first report from the Foxtrot Charlie team.

The Foxtrot Charlie team is now in Switzerland for this year's Gordon Bennett competition. Balloon has also arrived and the business of combining shipped and borrowed equipment is underway. 

At this point, a Friday launch looks good, as weather is moving in for Sat and Sun.

Check out the event at
Live tracking should be at
(don't be alarmed if you visit this site before the launch. It shows a sample map from last year!)

Preliminary direction appears to be generally to the northeast.

and an interesting email to the pilots from the organizers includes this statement...

"Please kindly take this email as a very last reminder to address any matters related to Anti-Doping now, I mean today, if necessary. As with all FAI sanctioned events, this Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett is potentially on the radar for in-competition testing."

Should be interesting to see someone join them in the sky to obtain a blood test.

A win for Foxtrot Charlie

posted Oct 23, 2016, 7:30 AM by Ken Tuley   [ updated Oct 23, 2016, 7:45 AM ]

While the results remain in an unofficial or provisional state, Barbara and Peter have won the 2016 America's Challenge. Take a "go slow to go far" approach, they flew they stay aloft for one night longer than the Polish team, giving them a distance of 866 miles and first place. 

It's official!

posted Sep 23, 2016, 3:31 PM by Ken Tuley

The Foxtrot Charlie pilots and crew have returned to Germany. Race results are now official, and all will be recognized at the closing ceremonies and awards tomorrow night. The 60th Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett 2016 website features our dynamic duo in a photo which we're including here with the official results.

What's next?

posted Sep 21, 2016, 5:14 AM by Ken Tuley

Now that the flight is over and the balloon packed up, it's back to Gladbeck for a welcome back party on Friday evening, and then an event debrief and closing ceremonies on Saturday. Of course for a number of teams, including Foxtrot Charlie, the system has be packed for shipping back to the United States. America's Challenge starts in 2 weeks. 

Congrats to the winners, Swiss 1, Kurt Frieden and Pascal Witpraechtiger for winning the second year in a row, making the 1800 km flight from Gladbeck to Greece. You can read more about them here, or on their Facebook page.

and of course to our favorites, Barbara and Peter, flying a track that kept them over land, covering nearly 1100 km, ending with a stand up landing in a nice big field with easy retrieval for the crew.

It was a great competition to watch and read about. We hope you enjoyed this posts.

Thanks for reading and following along.

USA 1 is 4th

posted Sep 21, 2016, 5:04 AM by Ken Tuley

Here's the unofficial standings of the 2016 Gordon Bennett Distance Championships.

USA 1 lands safe and easy

posted Sep 21, 2016, 4:59 AM by Ken Tuley

Here's the report from Peter on landing..
Great screen of landing site, except that field was plowed when we landed, not growing crops. Chase truck was able to drive right in. Stand-up landing at about3mph. Packup finished just before dark. Local onlooker who was a taxidriver helped with pack up and got us to a hotel. He was also was a amateur radio guy and had been following our APRS tracking signal, so he knew who we were before he talked to us! Kids also came to landing site and we got some great photos!
Reasons for landings: Had some issues with borrowed avionics which we patched in flight and were short on O2 and had not enjoyed the temps overnight on Mon night. Decided we couldn’t pass up this great valley for a landing.

Progress Report

posted Sep 19, 2016, 6:25 PM by Ken Tuley

Just talked to P&B at 18z.  They are just NE of Turin and doing great! They crossed the Alps in good shape and used very little ballast. The balloon has been at altitude for three hours, a nice stable layer. While speeds are not great, about 15 mph…they are making steady progress. They will likely hug the coast or go briefly over water before going into Italy during late morning. Wx looks good for rest of the night and the morning. It will remains cold in the basket and P&B are eagerly awaiting the morning sun!

Thanks the relay Don!

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