ad info

CNN.com
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
   africa
   americas
   asianow
   europe
   middle east
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
 NATURE
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 HEALTH
 STYLE
 IN-DEPTH

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 TIME INC. SITES:
 MORE SERVICES:
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines
 pointcast

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

 SITE GUIDES:
 help
 contents
 search

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 WEB SERVICES:

 

World - Europe

For Piccard, record-setting is a family tradition

March 20, 1999
Web posted at: 6:36 a.m. EST (1136 GMT)

(CNN) -- For most people, setting a balloon flight record would be a pipe dream. For Bertrand Piccard, it's practically a family obligation.

Piccard, 41, is a third-generation adventurer: His grandfather, Auguste Piccard, invented the pressurized cabin and was the first man to reach the stratosphere in a balloon.

Piccard's father, Jacques Piccard, struck out in the opposite direction. In 1961, he took the submersible Trieste to the bottom of the Marianas Trench, nearly 11,000 meters (33,000 feet) below the surface of the Pacific -- the deepest point on Earth.

Bertrand Piccard's bid to circle the globe nonstop, with British co-pilot Brian Jones, came after two previous attempts. In 1997 and 1998, with Belgian partner Wim Verstraeten, Piccard's balloons fell short of the mark.

"Last year, we took off on my grandfather's 114th birthday," he said before lifting off in the Breitling Orbiter 3 on March 1. "Maybe it is the turn of this generation to succeed."

Piccard is a former aerobatics champion and a hang-gliding instructor. He and his wife, Michele, have three daughters.

A Swiss psychiatrist with a penchant for hypnosis, Piccard has become a hero in a country where adulation is usually reserved for skiers or mountain climbers.

His success is due partly to good relations with Chinese officials. He lobbied Beijing for rights to cross China's airspace last year, on behalf of the several teams who wanted to attempt a round-the-world flight.

But the Chinese withdrew their permission last year after a dispute with British tycoon Richard Branson and American Steve Fossett. That forced Piccard and Jones to put off their flight for two months, until China agreed to let them cross.

"This is the dream of all balloonists. It's the ultimate flight," Piccard said.

Reuters contributed to this report.


RELATED STORIES:
Balloonists 'secretly' predict success
March 19, 1999
Balloonists begin final assault on elusive dream
March 18, 1999
Balloonists reach Caribbean en route to record
March 17, 1999
<Balloonists pass halfway mark in around-the-world bid
March 13, 1999

RELATED SITES:
Breitling-Orbiter 3
Breitling-Orbiter 3 - Interactive Map
Balloon Pages on the World Wide Web
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

 LATEST HEADLINES:
SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.