14 Unsuccessful Atlantic Attempts 1873-1978



1. Daily Graphic, 1873, Washington Donaldson, with two companions, Alfred Ford, and George Lunt, take off from Brooklyn, New York and made about 45 miles, forced down by a thunderstorm, landing in Connecticut.

2. Small World, 1958, Colin Mudie, his wife Rosemary, Bushy Eiloart and his son Timothy took off from Tenerife, off north-west Africa, using the east-west trade winds. They ditched in a storm and sailed the remaining 1,450 miles to Barbados.

3. Mapleleaf, 1968, Mark Winters and Jerry Kostur launched from Halifax, Nova Scotia and ditched about 70 miles south-east.

4. The Free Life, 1970, Malcolm Brighton, Rodney and Pamela Anderson launched from East Hampton, New York. Balloon vanished at sea with no trace. First use of a Roziere style balloon built by Mark Semich.

5. Yankee Zephyr, 1973, Bob Sparks launched from Bar Harbor, Maine and was forced down in a violent storm 23 hours and 850 miles later. Semich built Roziere.

6. Light Heart, 1974, Thomas Gatch made the first "jet stream" attempt using a cluster of ten super-pressure helium balloons, built by Raven. Gatch crashed into the ocean and no wreckage was ever found.

7. The Spirit of Man, 1974, Robert Berger, Lakehurst, New Jersey. Gas envelope burst at 6,000 feet after launch killing Berger.

8. Windborne, 1975, Malcolm Forbes and Tom Heinsheimer. Attempted to use cluster of helium balloons and test system as they crossed the continental U.S. Strong winds at launch caused crew to cut away gas cells saving the pilots' lives.

9. Odyssey, 1975, Bob Sparks second attempt was accompanied by a stowawaycrew chief Haddon Woodadding unexpected weight. 25 miles later Sparks was in the ocean.

10. Spirit of '76, 1976, Karl Thomas recovered Sparks gondola and put together his own system using a fourth Semich built Roziere envelope. Forced down in a storm 550 miles later and rescued by a Russian trawler.

11. Silver Fox, 1976, Ed Yost makes a solo flight in his own gas balloon. Broke existing distance records before winds changed and he landed in the ocean 700 miles short of Europe. He had traveled 2,474 miles.

12. Double Eagle, 1977, Maxie Anderson and Ben Abruzzo take off from Marshfield, Massachusetts. There flight ended in near disaster off the coast of Iceland after flying 2,950 in 64 hours in a Yost built gas balloon.

13. Eagle, 1977, Dewey Reinhard and Charles Stephenson launched from Bar Harbor, Maine in another Yost built gas balloon. They ditched 200 miles later in a storm.

14. Zanussi, 1978, Don Cameron and Chris Davey launched from St. John's, Newfoundland. It appeared that this pair would make the first successful trip until a tear in the Roziere style balloon forced them down 110 miles short of France.


Pre Civil War attempts:

1. 1835, Richard Clayton launched from Cincinnati, Ohio and flew 100 miles east.

2, 1856, Jusque la Petin launched in Bridgeport, Connecticut and landed on Long Island.


John Wise, John LaMountain, and Thaddeus Lowe each made a test flight prior to the Civil War to test equipment and wind theories.


Source: Who's Who of Ballooning, Robert Rechs, 1983


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