Printer Friendly

CHASE PLANE ADVENTURE TO RIVAL VIRGIN EARTHWINDS BALLOON FLIGHT

 CHASE PLANE ADVENTURE TO RIVAL VIRGIN EARTHWINDS BALLOON FLIGHT
 EDITORS: "In preparation for your coverage of the upcoming Virgin Earthwinds non-stop balloon voyage around the world, the following feature story may prove interesting to your readers."
 AKRON, Ohio, Feb. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The three aeronauts aboard the Virgin Earthwinds won't have a monopoly on adventure on their record- breaking attempt to be the first manned balloon to circumnavigate the Earth non-stop. They will be sharing the excitement with 15 other thrill seekers, including hotelier Barron Hilton and British entrepreneur Richard Branson, who will be aboard the Earthwinds Hilton chase plane that will follow the balloon throughout the two- to three- week journey.
 "This will be an incredible experience for everyone aboard the plane, passengers and crew alike," says Capt. Tom Hartman, one of the three pilots who will fly Hilton Hotels' 93-foot BAC 1-11 in chase of the balloon.
 The chase plane's mission is to document the voyage for an ESPN documentary on the flight of the Virgin Earthwinds and to provide regular visual and voice contact with the crew. Utilizing sophisticated satellite-based radar and communications, the plane will attempt to rendezvous at least twice a day with the balloon for 15 minutes each time.
 Since the 24-seat plane is limited to trips totaling six hours (approximately 3,000 miles), the strategy is to use cities around the globe as hubs of operation.
 If the Virgin Earthwinds follows its intended flight path, chase plane passengers will log more than 60,000 miles and experience stops in Newfoundland, Europe, Russia and Alaska.
 "The only disappointment for our passengers is that we won't be offering frequent flyer miles," said Hartman.
 The passenger list for the flight is a "Who's Who" of adventure and business. Hosting the entourage is Hilton, chairman and president of Hilton Hotels Corp., himself a balloonist and aircraft pilot. Joining Hilton will be Branson, founder, chairman and chief executive of the Virgin Atlantic Airways and the Virgin Group of Companies. Branson also is a balloonist, and has been involved in a number of record-breaking trans-oceanic flights. An ESPN camera crew and Emmy-winning producer John Wilcox will document the flight. Astronaut Gene Cernan, the last man to set foot on the moon, will be aboard to provide commentary for ESPN.
 "We will help the world share in the balloon's adventure by capturing its flight against a backdrop of some of the world's most picturesque and dramatic settings," said Wilcox, a veteran of chronicling record-setting balloon flights.
 Wilcox is anticipating some of his best footage ever from this journey, including footage from the balloon itself that will be beamed over to the chase plane during their rendezvous.
 Life aboard the Earthwinds Hilton, the pressurized gondola that will be home to the aeronauts on their journey, will be focused on keeping the balloon afloat and operating a battery of science experiments. However, life aboard the globe-hopping chase plane may seem more like a theme park thrill ride.
 "Since the flight path and speed of the balloon will be dictated solely by the winds, every day will be a different adventure as we track the balloon's flight and attempt to locate it," explained Hilton. "We must be ready to depart at a moment's notice to capture footage of the balloon over dramatic landscapes. We also need to be flexible since accommodations may vary from our Conrad Hotels in Europe to army barracks in Siberia. It's not for the faint of heart, but we will be privileged to witness aviation history."
 Branson feels being on the chase plane will give him a new perspective on record-breaking ballooning.
 "Usually, I'm on the balloon so this will represent a whole new point of view for me," said Branson. "When you're in an experimental balloon, you're absorbed by your goal of completing the trip and surviving to tell the tale. Now I get to go through the nerve-wracking experience of being a spectator, pulling for the crew in their valiant attempt to do what no one has yet done."
 Final word on the chase plane comes from Virgin Earthwinds Project Leader Larry Newman who is thankful he and his crew will have a regular visitor during the voyage.
 "The documentation of the trip is needed, but the hope the direct contact the chase plane gives us is even more important. It's lonely up there, isolated in a capsule seven miles above sea-level. The plane is our mental link to the rest of the world," Newman said.
 -0- 2/5/92
 /CONTACT: Neil Cohen or Pat Godefroy of Douglas Consulting Group, 213-252-0420/ CO: ST: Ohio, California IN: SU:


EH-JL -- LAFNS1 -- 6983 02/05/92 07:32 EST
COPYRIGHT 1992 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 5, 1992
Words:778
Previous Article:MOST DEFINITIVE STUDY ON ESOP COMPANIES RELEASED; HIGH NUMBER OF COMPANIES IN MANUFACTURING, HIGH RATE OF RETURN FOR ESOP PUBLIC COMPANIES
Next Article:GOLDTEX, INC. ANNOUNCES RESULTS
Topics:


Related Articles
VIRGIN EARTHWINDS ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR AKRON LAUNCH
EARTHWINDS UPDATE: LAUNCH NOW SCHEDULED FOR FEB. 14
VIRGIN EARTHWINDS RELEASES STATEMENT
TSI PROVIDES INSTRUMENT FOR ATMOSPHERIC EXPERIMENTS DURING EARTHWINDS PROJECT
JTB WORLD VACATIONS INC. JOINS EARTHWINDS HILTON AS CONTRIBUTING SPONSOR TO DARING BALLOON MISSION
LET YOUR FINGERS DO THE FLYING -- CALL 900-93-EARTH FOR EARTHWINDS HILTON UPDATES
BROKEN VALVE SHAFT CUTS SHORT EARTHWINDS HILTON AROUND-THE-WORLD FLIGHT
NEW CREW MEMBER JOINS EARTHWINDS HILTON TEAM FOR ROUND-THE-WORLD BALLOON FLIGHT ATTEMPT
BALLOONISTS' PLANS UP IN THE AIR; MOJAVE MAN, PARTNER DELAY GLOBAL TRIP WHEN WINDS EASE.
Around the World in 80 Hours - Virgin Atlantic to Launch The First Solo Non-Stop Aircraft to Circumnavigate the Earth.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters