Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Selected to Host 2023 Gordon Bennett
June 21, 2023
The 66th international gas balloon race will take flight during Balloon Fiesta’s nine-day event
Albuquerque, NM – The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has been selected by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) Ballooning Commission to host the 2023 Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett (Gordon Bennett), the FAI World Long Distance Gas Balloon Championship. Celebrating its 66thevent, the international competition is recognized as the oldest and most prestigious event in aviation and is set to launch from Balloon Fiesta Park on October 7, 2023, the first day of the nine-day hot air balloon festival.
The competition is centered around which gas balloon team travels the furthest, non-stop from the launch site. Each eligible country is allowed to enter three teams. Last year the race was held in St. Gallen, Switzerland and the winners were father and son Wilhelm and Benjamin Eimers of Germany. The winning team flew 1572.36km (977.01 miles), landing their gas balloon near the Bulgarian Black Sea, close to the Turkish Border.
“We are honored to host this year’s Gordon Bennett. It is a competition that is important to the history of ballooning and celebrates some of the most skilled and courageous pilots. We know that Albuquerque, our state and all of Balloon Fiesta’s guests will show the participants a warm welcome,” said Sam Parks, Balloon Fiesta executive director.
The first competition was held in 1906, with 16 balloons launching from Tuileries Gardens in Paris, France and was initiated by adventurer and newspaper tycoon Gordon Bennett. For a full list of winners and launch locations, visit the FAI website.
Balloon Fiesta has hosted the competition four times prior to this year; in 1993, 1999, 2005 and 2008. Last year 19 teams competed from Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Switzerland and the United States. This year’s event will mark the 14th time the Gordon Bennet has launched from a location in the United States.
The Balloon Fiesta was selected because of the event’s experience hosting national and international ballooning events and specifically those related to gas balloons. The America’s Challenge gas balloon race is known for its organization and support from the event, national weather service and volunteers. Plus, gas balloons launching from Albuquerque as a part of organized competitions traditionally fly greater distances than events held in other parts of the world.
At the 1995 Gordon Bennett in Albuquerque, pilots Bob Berben and Benoit Simeons of Belgium, set the distance record, flying a 3400.39 km (2112.9 miles). That same year the duration record was set with Wilhelm Eimers and Bernd Landsmann of Germany, flying for 92 hr. 11 min before landing.
A full list of this year’s participating teams and countries will be released at a later date. For more information about this year’s Gordon Bennett at Balloon Fiesta visit the website.
About the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, powered by ExxonMobil is a festival of hot air balloons that takes place in October in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. It is the largest gathering of balloons and balloonists in the world. The 2022 event generated $203.19 Million into the Albuquerque and the State of New Mexico economies. For details on events, schedule, entertainment and photographs visit our website www.balloonfiesta.com and follow us on Twitter @BalloonFiesta and Facebook.