America's Challenge

The America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race was founded by the Balloon Fiesta in 1995 due to the vision and efforts of Mark Sullivan, former Balloon Fiesta President and recipient of the Montgolfier Diplome (one of ballooning's highest honors), who saw the need for America to be identified with the world's most prestigious ballooning sport.

The America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race is modeled after the Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett, but  it differs from the older event in allowing balloons from all countries, without limits on the number of entries from each.   The team that travels the longest distance wins.

Have Questions about the America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race? We have a FAQ page with the most common Questions and Answers, click here!

2016 America's Challenge

Gas Balloon News & updates

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Oct 7, 2016
Update 2200 MDT Friday, October 7, 2016 (0400 UTC Saturday, October 8)
It's a quiet night in the America's Challenge Command Center as controllers keep an eye on the three teams still flying as the race nears the 24-hour mark.
Oct 7, 2016
Update 1115 MDT (1715 UTC) Friday, October 7, 2016
The America's Challenge Command Center is reporting that Team 4, Phil Bryant and Mike Emich, has landed in a remote area of the Santa Ana Pueblo west of Algodones, about 15 miles north of Balloon Fiesta Park.
Oct 7, 2016
Update 0645 MDT (1245 UTC) Friday, October 7, 2016
Good morning from Albuquerque, where the balloons are flying – both hot air and gas!
The America's Challenge race for gas balloons is now in its seventh hour, and the teams are eagerly awaiting the warmth sunrise brings. Those long dark nights aloft are chilly, especially for teams at high altitude. In addition, the teams get a free ride aloft to their chosen altitude as the sun warms the hydrogen in the envelope and the gas expands.
Oct 7, 2016

Update 0045 MDT (0645 UTC) Friday, October 7, 2016
Glowing special shapes, spectacular fireworks, and a flawless gas balloon launch! What a sendoff for the five America's Challenge gas balloon teams now aloft in the skies over New Mexico!

Oct 6, 2016

Update 1300 MDT (1900 UTC) Thursday, October 6, 2016
America's Challenge officials have given the teams their marching orders and they're headed to Balloon Fiesta Park to start staging their balloons and equipment in anticipation of a late evening beginning for the America's Challenge distance race for gas balloons.

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