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The Torabhaig Atlantic Explorer (Image courtesy of Torabhaig Single Malt Whisky)

Balloonists Aim to Cross the Atlantic in a Hydrogen Balloon

In an audacious endeavor, three seasoned adventurers are gearing up for an epic journey across the Atlantic Ocean in a hydrogen gas balloon.

If the weather permits, this September, October, or perhaps later, the Torabhaig Atlantic Explorer gas balloon, co-piloted by Sir David Hempleman-Adams and Bert Padelt, will take off in the first ever flight in an open basket hydrogen balloon across the Atlantic. Part of the mission also includes conducting a new scientific study.

Sir David Hempleman-Adams, a 66-year-old renowned British explorer and balloonist, and Bert Padelt who is 62 and a highly regarded balloon manufacturer and balloonist inducted in the US Ballooning Hall of Fame, will be joined by 72-year-old, Dr. Frederik Paulsen, a Swiss explorer, scientist, and entrepreneur on what seems to be an adventure of great friends on a journey.

Their route will take them from Presque Isle, Maine, across the Atlantic Ocean, passing over Newfoundland, Canada, and ultimately landing somewhere in Europe, possibly spanning the longest distance ever covered by a hydrogen balloon. This ambitious endeavor, spanning 4-5 days, aims to accomplish an unprecedented feat: the first-ever Atlantic crossing in a hydrogen balloon. If successful, Sir David Hempleman-Adams will secure his place in history as the only person to have crossed the Atlantic three times in an open basket balloon.

US balloon manufacturer and balloon pilot Bert Padelt (Image courtesy of Torabhaig Single Malt Whisky)

Beyond the thrill of adventure, the team’s mission also includes contribution to scientific research, supported by Basecamp Research. They will collect air samples from altitudes 8,000 feet and much higher that could lead to the discovery of new microbes and natural proteins. This research has the potential to advance fields such as medicine, biofuels, bioplastics, and agritech. The team is supported in this endeavor by The Explorers Club and are applying to carry the prestigious Explorers Club Flag – an honor given to expeditions that further the cause of exploration and field science.

As the crew prepares for this historic journey, the adventurers acknowledge the risks, with thunderstorms posing a significant threat. Unlike airplanes, balloons cannot evade storms, making careful weather monitoring crucial. Immersion suits for survival in cold waters and a lifeboat are part of their safety measures.

“It has been a boyhood dream of mine to fly across the Atlantic in a balloon. I’d planned to do this pre-pandemic and it’s starting to feel like it’s now or never. Thankfully, David agreed, as I can think of no one I feel safer to do this journey with than him. It’s a very small basket for such a long journey, so we all need to be tight, in every sense of the word.” – Bert Padelt

British explorer and balloon pilot Sir David Hempleman-Adams (Image courtesy of Torabhaig Single Malt Whisky)

In a delightful twist, this epic adventure is being sponsored by Torabhaig Single Malt whisky, which is owned by Dr Frederik Paulsen. To commemorate this high-flying adventure, Torabhaig will release a limited-edition bottling inspired by the expedition. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these bottles will be donated to the Sabhal Mor Ostaig Gaelic Language School on the Isle of Skye.

“We’re three men of spirit, that much like a good whisky seem to be getting more adventurous with age. People think we’re kind of crazy to be doing this, but it really does make you feel alive to be pushing the boundaries and seeing just what is possible at any age. And, if anything, this is what keeps us feeling young at heart and fired up to enjoy every minute on this earth.”

“A balloon is the perfect platform to investigate a location where the biome has never been sampled, and the scientists we’ve partnered with are extremely excited about what we might find and what they will be able to learn from our adventures.” – Sir David Hempleman-Adams

Commenting on the Torabhaig Atlantic Explorer journey, Richard Weiss, President Emeritus of The Explorers Club, said, “I was surprised to hear of this extraordinary transatlantic balloon flight. A tiny number of explorers have crossed the Atlantic in a balloon and fewer in an open basket, but this crew are all experienced explorers and the unique sampling of the air and organisms that they’ll be able to undertake is set to provide a meaningful contribution to human progress. That really is quite extraordinary.”

We wish them a safe, successful, and enjoyable flight.

Please look for updates and track this adventure at the links below.
Updates:  https://torabhaig-atlantic-explorer.com/TORABHAIG-DIARY
Track Flight:  https://torabhaig-atlantic-explorer.com/

Related articles: Bert Padelt Talks About His Atlantic Explorer Balloon

Aeronaut in the Spotlight: Soaring with Bert Padelt

Coming up this week! An interview with Sir David Hempleman-Adams!

Thank you for your support.


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