Tragedy in Belarus
September 12 is a day that will not be forgotten by the international balloon
community. Alan Fraenckel and John Stuart-Jervis were gunned down by a
Belarussian military helicopter while they were participating in the Coupe de
Gordon Bennett, an international gas balloon race. This senseless and tragic
loss of life has brought a great outpouring of grief, disbelief, and outrage from
balloonists around the world.
It will take time before we really, if ever, know what happened that fateful day.
What we know so far is presented in Tragedy in
Belarus on page 14. It has been suggested on the Internet that those
attending the Kodak Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta this month wear a
red armband in memory of our departed colleagues. I would ask you, our
readers, to join in this tribute whenever you fly this month.
Joe Kittinger - Elder Statesman
In early September, James L. Cole, Jr., President and CEO of the National
Aeronautic Association, wrote to Balloon Life, "It gives me great
pleasure to inform you that Colonel Kittinger, whom you nominated, has been
selected to receive one of the National Aeronautic Associationís most prestigious
and distinguished recognitions, the Elder Statesman of Aviation Award. Selection
was made [in late August] by a 39-person committee drawn from virtually all
segments of aviation, and subsequently ratified by the NAA Board of
The award was established in 1954 to honor outstanding Americans who, by
their efforts over a period of years, have made contributions of significant value
to aeronautics, and who have reflected credit upon America and themselves.
Each year the NAA solicits nominations and convenes a distinguished committee
of august aviation leaders from all segments of the aerospace community to
choose worthy recipients.
Our congratulations go to all six of this yearís honorees. For more on Joe
Kittinger see Preflight and Balloonmeister.
By the time you read this the comment period for NPRM 95-11, major
revision of FAR Part 61, will be approximately half gone. The
Balloon Life presented the entire proposed rule, a history of the push
for a flight instructor rating for balloons, and some of our thoughts on the new
rule. In November we will present Balloon Lifeís response to the
Federal Aviation Administration. The proposed rule has many significant
changes that will impact ballooning. I suggest that you read the document, talk it
over with others, and respond in writing, both to the FAA and your elected
What happened to September?
Hopefully you have received your September issue of Balloon Life
before you read this. Although I intentionally held up the September issue of
Balloon Life for an extra week, so that we could get the information
about NPRM 95-11 in your hands as quickly as possible, something went wrong.
What should have taken two days at our print house dragged on for two weeks. I
have no explanation as to why the delay. Please accept my apologies for the
tardiness in delivery of the September issue.
Copyright © 1995 Balloon Life. All rights