The Royal Aero Club Gold Medal
Recipients of this award in the field of ballooning are:
|1910||Hon. C S Rolls|
|1978||Don Cameron and Christopher Davey|
|1991||Per Lindstrand and Richard Branson|
David Bareford is the United Kingdom's most successful balloon pilot and one of the best in the world. He has won two European Championships, four British Nationals and placed second or third in eight more. In 1981 he was ranked second in the world. He is the first British pilot to be awarded a diamond badge to add to his gold.
|1999||Andy Elson and Colin Prescott
They flew the Cable & Wireless balloon in an attempt at a round-the-world flight, achieving a flight from Spain to Japan in 17 days. Though subsequently overtaken by the Breitling Orbiter 3, they established a World record for unrefuelled duration in any sub-orbital flying machine.
In May 2000, David made a solo flight in a Cameron Roziere balloon and succeeded in his target of passing within 60 miles of the North Pole. As well as enduring a flight of 5½ days, over the Arctic in an open wicker basket, this showed considerable skill in weather judgement.
Steve Fossett has made seven attempts at flights round the world by balloon. Some of his earlier attempts achieved more than half-way and established World records. This culminated in the successful flight of the Breitling Orbiter 3 in 1999. He followed this in 2002 with the first solo circumnavigation, using a similar envelope to the Orbiter but with an unpressurised gondola, again made by Cameron's in the UK. This flight took 14 days, operating mainly between 25,000 and 35,000 feet.
Vijaypat Singhania is an Indian who has had a life-long interest in aviation. He has been flying for 40 years and has more than 5,000 flying hours. In 1988 he made a solo flight in a microlight from the U.K. to India. In 1994 he won the first Round-the-World Air Race, receiving the FAI Gold Medal. On 26th November 2005 he achieved the world altitude record for hot air balloons. He flew in a pressurised gondola containing life-support systems and carrying special burners designed to function in the rarefied atmosphere. He reached 69,852 feet, beating the previous record by nearly 5,000 feet