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Program Articles

May 27, 2010

Ballooning Greats


A City's pride... The sport of ballooning numbers among its greatest achievers many citizens of Albuquerque, adding additional weight to the city's claim to "The Balloon Capital of the World."


A City's pride... The sport of ballooning numbers among its greatest achievers many citizens of Albuquerque, adding additional weight to the city's claim to "The Balloon Capital of the World." Here are a few of the famous:

SID CUTTER is a long-time participant in both the World and US National Hot Air Balloon championships. He was top winner in the US National Championships in both 1978 and 1986, and he founded the Albuquerque Aerostat Ascension Association (AAAA or Quad A), the largest and most active ballooning society in the world. Sid co-founded, along with Tom Rutherford, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in 1972.

The late BEN ABRUZZO and the late MAXIE ANDERSON won worldwide fame when they, along with LARRY NEWMAN , piloted the Double Eagle II helium balloon across the Atlantic in August 1978. They began their successful trans-Atlantic crossing from Presque Isle, Maine, and flew 3,107.61 miles in 137 hours, 5 minutes and 30 seconds.

Abruzzo, Newman, RON CLARK of Albuquerque and ROCKY AOKI of New York and Tokyo, became the first to cross the Pacific Ocean in a helium balloon, flying their Double Eagle V 5,768 miles from Nagashima, Japan to a landing site near Covelo, California.

DR. CAROL RYMER DAVIS established a new world's record in the AX-5 category in 1980 with an ascension of 31,791 feet in a hot air balloon near Albuquerque. She also set records for distance and duration in later flights, and placed second in the 1st Ladies World Cup at the Saga International Balloon Fiesta in 1990.

TROY BRADLEY has set over 46 different world records for balloons. Along with Richard Abruzzo, he set one record that can’t be broken—the first to fly a balloon from North America to Africa (3,318 miles).

RICHARD ABRUZZO - Along with Troy Bradley became the first to fly from North America to Africa with the flight lasting 144 hours, 23 minutes. During that flight, 24 world records for duration, distance and altitude were set.

Albuquerque also has eight pilots who have received the Montgolfier Diplome, the highest honor in ballooning. They are Sid Cutter, Dr. Carol Rymer Davis, Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson, Larry Newman, Dick Brown, Mark Sullivan and Pat Brake.

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