ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Thursday marked 45 years since three Albuquerque residents landed a helium-filled balloon in France, completing the first successful transatlantic balloon flight in history.
Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson, and Larry Newman flew the Double Eagle II 3,100 miles from Presque Isle, Maine, to Miserey, France. The crew departed on Aug. 11, 1978, and landed on Aug. 17, 1978. Flight time was 137 hours, 6 minutes. The altitude during the flight ranged from a low of 3,500 feet to a high of 24,950 feet.
The team rode in a gondola named “The Spirit of Albuquerque,” which is housed at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. A full-sized walk-in replica of the Double Eagle II can be found at the Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum.
The Balloon Museum, located at 9201 Balloon Museum Drive NE, has three permanent exhibitions about transoceanic flights. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For the latest news about the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, click here.