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Wed, Oct 04, 2006

ABQ Balloon Museum Commemorates Two Historic Aviation Events

Anniversaries Of Strato Lab Missions, Double Eagle V Flight

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 Fiesta.

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 history.

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 flight.

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 public.

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 Achievement Award.

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 Pacific.

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.

FMI: www.balloonmuseum.com

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