Gordon Bennett 2013

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Gordon Bennett 2013

In his second participation in this prestigious competition, the team of Anulfo González and Angel Aguirre was one of the highlights of the 57éme Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett, who started on August 25th 2013 from Nancy (France).

In this edition 18 balloons took part from Germany, Switzerland, USA, Italy, Great Britain, Austria, Finland, Russia and France, together with the pilots Anulfo González and Angel Aguirre representing Spain.

The weather conditions during the period scheduled for inflation were very uncertain, as it was held between two cold fronts passing the area and a huge thunderstorm crossed over the Nancy area, having to shelter al the teams while the rain was hitting the launch area. During the night, with a significant delay from the program, the inflation of the balloons started, with the launch of all the teams being held from 05:30 local time.

The teams made clear from the beginning the two different strategies: flying low to the east, gaining great distance from the start, but facing a very unstable and nasty weather, or ascend quickly to a height of 8.000 feet where for several hours they will remain very static, waiting for a wind change at a higher altitude to go west during te afternoon, drifting the balloons to Bretagne, while crossing the control zone of Paris.

Once the permission to cross the approach area of the Charles de Gaulle airport fom the ATC authorities was granted, the balloons who remained in the competition faced the biggest challenge in their flight: entering into the Atlantic to cross in southwestern direction to the spanish north coast, or trying to get the longest distance to the western edge of Bretagne. This second alternatinve was choosen by the team of González-Aguirre with the clever advice of the experienced meteorologist and balloon pilot Tomas Hora, as they had serious doubts to have enough ballast to cross the Gulf of Biscay with a safe margin, although they were expecting moderate winds in the landing area.

They finally landed on the next day near the military base of Lorient in the west coast of Bretagne, with a distance from the launch point of 688,45 km. after 28 hours and 45 minutes in the air, obtaining the 4th overall position, which is the best result for a spanish team since the start of the race in 1906.

The winning team of this edition of the Gordon Bennett race was formed by Vincent Leys and Christophe Houver, representing France, with a distance of 1.402,43 km.

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