Gas ballooning resembles flying airplanes more closely than it does hot-air ballooning. Gas ballooning was the prevalent form of aviation for more than 100 years during the 19th century and into the early 20th century. Learn aspects of long-distance competitive gas ballooning in contrast to other forms of aviation, including airplane and hot-air ballooning. Balloon pilots Peter Cuneo and Barbara Fricke cover some of the history and highlights of the modern Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett and America’s Challenge competitions.
Peter Cuneo has been a hot-air balloon pilot since 1989 and gained his gas balloon rating in 1995. He has more than 2,300 hours of pilot time, including flights in 14 countries. Barbara Fricke started crewing in 1982 before becoming a pilot herself. She and Cuneo have owned a hot air balloon since 1988. Cuneo and Fricke have won the America’s Challenge Gas Balloon race four times.