Anniversaries Of Strato Lab Missions, Double Eagle V
To coincide with the
start of the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta this
weekend, the Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon
Museum will commemorate two historic flights. On Saturday, October
14 and Sunday, October 15, two events will be honored with
presentations from the people who helped make history.
- Pilots, note that NOTAMs 62327 and
62330 are in
effect for the duration of the Albuquerque International Balloon
On Saturday, October 14 starting at 10:00 am, the
Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum commemorates the 50th
anniversary of the start of the historic Strato Lab missions during
the Balloon Fiesta event. In addition to the artifacts and hands-on
Strato Lab exhibits, chase pilot and Balloon Museum trustee Rich
Schwoebel will give a presentation.
The Strato Lab missions consisted of five successful
high-altitude stratospheric flights. The first flight occurred in
early November 1956 and took Lieutenant Commanders Malcom D. Ross
and M. Lee Lewis to a height of 40,000 feet in an open gondola.
Aftr the first flight a pressurized gondola was developed, allowing
the Strato Lab pilolts to reach an altitude of 76,000 feet.
Subsequent flights included higher altitudes. Since landing
safely with the gondola was not a possibility, the pilots
parachuted from the gondola/capsule, sometimes in a free fall for a
mile before deploying their parachutes.
On May 4th 1961 Malcom D. Ross and Victor Prather embarked on a
journey aboard Strato Lab V that soared to an incredible 113,740
feet setting records for the highest manned balloon flight in
Strato Lab data has been used to search out and discover useful
data such as cosmic ray detection, space suit development and
planetary research. Visitors to the Anderson-Abruzzo International
Balloon Museum offers artifacts and hands-on exhibits featuring a
model of the Strato Lab, informational video tours and an
interactive altitude experiment for visitors to explore.
On Sunday, October 15
starting at 10:00 am, the museum commemorates the historic first
crossing of the Pacific Ocean by a manned balloon -- as pilot Ron
Clark commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Double Eagle V
The Double Eagle V departed from Nagashami, Japan with crew
members Ben Abruzzo, Ron Clark, Rocky Aoki, and Larry Newman. They
soared over the Pacific on a treacherous journey battling fierce
weather and 6,000 lbs of ice accumulation until landing safely in
Cavelo, California. The flight lasted a total of 84 hours and 13
minutes and set a new world distance record of 5,768 miles.
The Double Eagle V capsule and artifacts are on exhibit at the
Balloon Museum where visitors can enhance their knowledge and
explore the technology and equipment that was used to make the
flight a success. Informational video screens and live cameras
hidden within the gondola provide unique viewing access for the
In addition to completing the first crossing of the Pacific
Ocean in a manned balloon, Ron Clark has also flown in many Hot Air
balloon Rally's including the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. He has
been involved in balloon chase, crewing and inflation of gas
balloons. He has acquired numerous ballooning awards and world
records including the Albuquerque Sports Hall of Fame 1982
The balloon museum will host Ron Clark on October 15 as he
reflects on the 25th anniversary of one of the largest helium
balloons ever built, the Double Eagle V flight across the
The Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum is
the world's premiere facility dedicated to the art, culture,
science, history, sport and spectacle of ballooning. It features
one of the finest collections of ballooning equipment and
memorabilia in the world.