Werk: The Orbiter Balloon

Recently I had the opportunity to hang out with Brian Jones, of Orbiter Balloon fame. Brian was the pilot of the Breitling Orbiter 3, the first balloon to circumnavigate the earth. We had a great time; Brian is totally down to earth and humble about the fact that he holds multiple world records which crushed existing balloon records so completely that they in fact span disciplines (longest flight of any aircraft, longest distance, etc). Brian took "downwind drifting" to an entirely new level with his record flight.

Anyway, the reason I met Brian and his lovely wife Jo, was that Geraldine Fasnacht needed an air to air cameraman last minute, and I happened to be standing there. We raced off to Eastern Switzerland and met with Sebastian Montaz, who is surely (already) the next big thing in adventure sports filming. Seb shot some incredibly well done and mysteriously dynamic images from outside the basket of Brian's balloon, a second balloon shot air to air, and Geraldine and I jumped out of a helicopter and buzzed the Breitling Orbiter, shown in the screen shots at the bottom of this page. Here's some backstage video from the shoot:

The balloon is a vague replica of the mylar monster that Brian actually flew around the world. Brian and his friend Eugene Nussbaumer did an incredible job of orienting and coordinating the position of the balloons - taking care to have them in the correct position for the light, for our fly-by, and the perfect distance from each other. It was some very impressive flying, to be sure.

Geraldine passing Brian and Seb in the Orbiter 3.





Brian Jones linked up with Eugene Nussbaumer, who was carrying the other air to air filmer, Sam.