History of ballooning | Our Story
History of hot air ballooning, since 1783 -
1783 - First Hot Air Balloon Flight
1783 - FIRST MANNED HOT AIR BALLOON FLIGHT
1784 - FIRST BALLOON FLIGHT IN THE UK
1785 - FIRST ENGLISH CHANNEL CROSSING
1793 - FIRST BALLOON FLIGHT IN AMERICA
1836 - FIRST LONG-DISTANCE BALLOON FLIGHT
1870 - BALLOONS USED AT WAR
1906 - BALLOONING GROWS AS A SPORT
1914 - DISTANCE RECORD
1914 - 1918 - BALLOONS IN WORLD WAR I
1932 - FIRST GAS BALLOON FLIGHT TO THE STRATOSPHERE
1960 - MODERN HOT AIR BALLOONING TAKES OFF FROM NEBRASKA
1960 - HIGHEST PARACHUTE JUMP FROM A BALLOON - JOE KITTINGER
1961 - HIGHEST EVER GAS BALLOON FLIGHT - 113,739.9 FEET
1970 - NEW ERA FOR BALLOONING
1973 - FIRST BALLOON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
1978 - FIRST TRANS-ATLANTIC FLIGHT IN A HELIUM BALLOON
1979 - FIRST BRISTOL INTERNATIONAL BALLOON FIESTA
1987 - FIRST TRANS-ATLANTIC BALLOON FLIGHT
1991 - FIRST TRANS-PACIFIC BALLOON FLIGHT
1999 - FIRST AROUND THE WORLD BALLOON FLIGHT
2002 - FIRST SOLO AROUND THE WORLD FLIGHT
2003 - FIRST EVER FLIGHT OVER EVEREST - ANDY ELSON
2005 - HIGHEST EVER HOT AIR BALLOON FLIGHT - 70,000 FEET
2013 - LARGEST BALLOON MASS ASCENT
2016 - FASTEST SOLO AROUND THE WORLD BALLOON FLIGHT
2020 - Fedor Konyukhov attempt to fly to the edge of space - postponed due to Covid-19!
Follow the history of ballooning with ABC, since 1986 -
1987: Airship and Balloon Company joins Richard Branson's Virgin Group of companies.
1989: Name changed to Virgin Airship and Balloon Company
1991: Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand cross the Pacific in a hot air balloon
1997: BBC launches new BBC One ident., using Special Shape hot air balloon.
Hasbro celebrate Action Man with the worlds most complicated hot air balloon.
1998: ICO Global Challenger attempts non stop flight around the world from Marrakech - Video link
2004 - 2015: Major sponsorship contracts with Tesco, Lloyds Bank, Soothers,
Churchill Insurance, Monster.com, Procter & Gamble, Nokia, Clairol, Expedia.com, Lucozade.
Management of balloons at Start of Virgin London Marathon.
Approved Supplier status to BBC TV for Aerial Filming.
Public Transport balloon flights company ABC Flights Ltd. formed and approved by Civil Aviation Authority - Air Operator Certificate BL212.
European Tour with Despicable Me2 special shape balloons, for Universal Pictures block buster film.
2016: TATA Consultancy Services joins ABC’s list of Clients with brand new balloon, launched at Virgin London Marathon.
2017: Newly branded balloon for Abbott unveiled at Virgin London Marathon and European Tour for Despicable Me3 movie launched, with flight across English Channel with Prison Stuart, for Guinness World Record attempt. Minion Tour visited 8 European Countries.
2018: New balloon commissioned for Audible, launched at the Virgin London Marathon. Minion attends Taiwan International Balloon Festival - the world's longest balloon event at 45 days
2019: Stewart the Minion visits Taiwan again and wowed a big crowd, just outside Taipei. Next trip for Minion was Saga, Japan in late October.
2020: We started the year with a trip to Penang, Malaysia, with our Minion balloon and had several exciting projects already lined up for later. Covid-19 has caused the suspension of all balloon festivals worldwide, but we have great plans for 2021!
2021: Despite another Lockdown at the beginning of the year, we took delivery of a very exciting Special Shape for KAWS, the American tree artist. We filmed the first flight at a secret location and the video of this was launched on-line, in April. Stuart the Minion made a memorable flight at the start of Bristol Balloon Festival from Queen Square, in Central Bristol during August. We launched another brand new balloon for Tata Communication Services - tcs - at the start of the London Marathon, as tcs announced a six year sponsorship agreement for the Event.