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|Double Eagle II
the first manned balloon to cross the Atlantic
On August 11, 1978, Maxie Anderson, Larry Newman, and Ben Abruzzo took off from Merle Sprague's clover field in Presque Isle, Maine, aboard the helium-filled Double Eagle II. On August 17 they landed in Rachel Coquerel's barley field about 55 miles from Le Bourget Airport, on the outskirts of Paris, France, making them the first people ever to complete a transatlantic ballooning. Abruzzo and Anderson had attempted a transatlantic flight aboard Double Eagle I in 1977, but they were forced into the sea off Iceland by adverse winds. For their successful attempt they added Newman, a pilot noted for his navigation skills. Double Eagle II, which featured a catamaran type of gondola equipped with 800 square feet of sail (in case they had to ditch again), was in part designed by Ed Yost, who had set duration and distance records with an attempted transatlantic flight in 1976. Although they had hoped to make it all the way to Le Bourget, the men still established an endurance record of 137 hours 3 minutes, as well as a distance record of 3,120 miles.
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This page was last updated on 08/17/2018.