21 Jun 2022

19 gas balloons to race from St Gallen, Switzerland, for the 65th Gordon Bennett Cup in September

On Friday 2 September 2022, 19 gas balloons, each with two pilots and supported by a crew on the ground, will rise into the air above the Swiss city of St. Gallen to compete in the FAI World Long Distance Gas Balloon Championship, otherwise known as the Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett.

France, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, and the USA have registered three teams each, Austria two teams, with one team for the countries of Australia and Lithuania.

The thrilling balloon race is the oldest and most prestigious event in aviation and the ultimate challenge for pilots. The goal is simple: travel as far as you can from the starting point without stopping.

The contest is being held in Switzerland after the Swiss team of Laurent Sciboz and Nicolas Tièche from Fribourg won the 2019 edition with a distance of 1,775km, flying from Montbéliard, France in an exciting race to the edge of the Black Sea.

The Gordon Bennett gas balloons are fuelled by hydrogen, and some of this gas used at the race from St. Gallen will be obtained from the nearby Kubel hydroelectric power station, a CO2 neutral hydrogen production plant.

In addition to the launch of the gas balloons, the Gordon Bennett 2022 offers various highlights to add to the spectacle: hot-air balloons take off from Kreuzbleiche on Saturday evening for a night glow and there will be a festival with family activities.

Header image from 63rd Gordon Bennett, credit: Bartosz Bujarski