Coupe Gordon Bennett - Stories and Articles

GORDON BENNETT AND HIS RACES From the Book: Die Gordon Bennett Ballon Rennen (The Gordon Bennett Races)
by Ulrich Hohmann Sr along with articles by others.

Many of his contemporaries have considered Mister James Gordon Bennett to be a spleeny American. He was born in New York, May 10th 1841 and died 4 days after his 77th Birthday in Beaulieu near Nizza/France. From his father, a Scottish journalist, he inherited the publishing house of the "New York Herald". Being a publisher makes somebody, even today, independent from money, but also requests a permanent struggle for increasing circulation.

Already in 1871, Gordon-Bennett proved his ability for "public relations", by sponsoring the expedition of Stanley, searching (and finding!) Livingstone, who was missing on his search for the source of the Nile. The later sponsorships of Gordon-Bennett therefore rooted more in his interest for business than in his interest for sports. The winners of ”his” competitions had to tell their adventures only to the reporters of the "New York Herald" as an exclusive story.

Today, we connect his name with the gas-ballooning. We don’t know, if he ever flew in a balloon. Already before 1900, he had donated 10.000 Francs to the Automobil-Club de France as price-money for a motor car race, and he developed the rules himself. This first race then took place on June 14th 1900 from Paris to Lyon. In 1905 he offered to the still young Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) the rules, a one time 25.000 Franc donation and 12.500 Francs for each of the following two years "for the most courageous and experienced pilots of the world struggling for the Grand Prix of the Air".

The competition rules were (and are still today) quite simple: Winner is the nation of the team that covers the maximum distance. Every nation may enter three balloon as maximum and is obliged to host the race in the following year, if they win. If one nation wins this challenge-cup in three following years, the cup finally comes to its possession and this nation has to sponsor a new cup, if the race should continue. This was all laid down in the 23 chapters of the rules, so the COUPE AERONAUTIQUE "Gordon Bennett" was on its way and the spark was ignited for the most fascinating and adventurous competition in ballooning.

The following are stories from each year:

Race #

Year

Launch Location

 

 

Beginning of the Gordon Bennett Tradition

1

1906

Paris, France

2

1907

St. Louis, USA

3

1908

Berlin, Germany

4

1909

Zurich, Switzerland

5

1910

St. Louis, Mo, USA

6

1911

Kansas City, USA

7

1912

Stuttgart, Germany

8

1913

Paris, France

 

1914 - 1919

no events during World War I

 

 

Interrupted by War the Race Flourishes  

9

1920

Birmingham, USA

10

1921

Brussels, Belgium

11

1922

Geneva, Switzerland

12

1923

Brussels, Belgium

13

1924

Brussels, Belgium

14

1925

Brussels, Belgium

15

1926

Antwerp, Belgium

16

1927

Detroit, USA

17

1928

Detroit, USA

18

1929

St. Louis, USA

 

 

Difficult Decade But They Keep Flying

19

1930

Cleveland, USA

 

1931

no event held

20

1932

Beale, Switzerland

21

1933

Chicago, USA

22

1934

Warsaw, Poland

23

1935

Warsaw, Poland

24

1936

Warsaw, Poland

25

1937

Brussels, Belgium

26

1938

Liege, Belgium

 

1939 - 1982

no events held

 

 

War But the Race Resumes After Many Years 

27

1983

Paris, France

28

1984

Zurich, Switzerland

29

1985

Geneva, Switzerland

30

1986

Salzburg, Austria

31

1987

Seefeld, Austria

32

1988

Bregenz, Austria

33

1989

Bregenz, Austria

 

 

Flying Longer Distances

34

1990

Lech, Austria

35

1991

Lech, Austria

36

1992

Stuttgart, Germany

 

 

- 1992 Article by David Levin

37

1993

Albuquerque, USA

38

1994

Lech, Austria

39

1995

Wil, Switzerland

40

1996

Warstein, Germany

41

1997

Warstein, Germany

42

1998

Paris, France - Cancelled due to weather

43

1999

Albuquerque, USA

 

 

GPS and Internet Tracking For All to See

44

2000

St. Hubert, Belgium

45

2001

Warstein, Germany

46

2002

Chatelerault, France

47

2003

Arc-et-Senans, France

48

2004

Thionville, France

49

2005

Albuquerque, USA

50

2006

Wassmunster, Belgium

51

2007

Brussels, Belgium - Cancelled due to weather

52

2008

Albuquerque, USA

53

2009

Geneva, Switzerland

 

 

 - Headquarters Operations Log

 

 

 - Balloon Federation of America Gas Division Newsletter

54

2010

Bristol, United Kingdom

55

2011

Gap-Tallard, France

56

2012

Ebnat-Kappel, Switzerland

57

2013

Nancy, France

Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett

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The Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett is the most prestigious event in aviation and the ultimate challenge for the balloon pilots and their equipment.

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