Bertrand Piccard & Brian Jones

Photo: © Raimond Spekking

Hot air balloons, or lighter-than-air craft, have been around for centuries. But it wasn’t until March 1999 that humans were able to circumnavigate the entire world in a single hot air balloon flight.

The two guys who did it were British balloonist Brian Jones and Bertrand Piccard, a Swiss psychiatrist and balloonist.

They co-piloted a massive balloon called Breitling Orbiter 3, which launched March 1st,1999 from Switzerland and landed in Egypt 19 days and 27-thousand-900 miles laer.

I met them just eight months later, after they wrote a book about their adventure.

So here now, from November 1999, Brian Jones and Bertrand Piccard.

Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones remain active in ballooning.

And in 2016, Piccard was part of the first round-the-world solar flight in history, piloting the Solar Impulse 2 on one leg of its historic flight.