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Transatlantic Balloon Challenge

Update: After 19 hours of flying, British husband and wife team, Mike and Deborah Scholes, taking part in the Transatlantic Balloon Challenge, have been forced to make a controlled landing ahead of schedule. A technical issue with their balloon made it unwise for them to continue their quest to fly across the Atlantic and on a further journey of some 2,000 miles to Europe.

Check out the Media page for flight coverage







Deborah Scholes and her registered blind husband Mike plan to take on the exciting and daring challenge of flying their specially built balloon non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean. After taking off from Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada, they will fly over land for 200 miles before at least 2,527 miles over water.  The Challenge is being followed by Guinness World Records and if successful, Deborah will be the First Lady to captain a balloon across the Atlantic and Mike the first registered blind person to crew. The flight will also help to promote Blind Veterans UK, a charity that has helped Mike since his sight loss. 


Deborah is probably the only British lady to hold a Rozier balloon pilot’s license as well as licenses for gas and hot air balloons. She enjoys challenging flights and has flown balloons across the English and Bristol Channels, over the Alps and up to an altitude of 23,180ft, an unofficial women’s British record.

Mike, before losing 85% of his sight in 2007, was a commercial balloon pilot and gained five British balloon duration records which still stand.

The balloon is the first in its class, R77GB. It can be flown as a gas balloon or for the Atlantic crossing, with the cone fitted, as a Rozier balloon. A Rozier balloon gains its lift from a helium cell in its top. Altitude is controlled by a small propane-fired burner that warms the air in the cone below the gas cell. A satellite tracker will enable everyone to watch the balloon’s progress via our Tracker page. 


Deborah and Mike will be supported by a top team of specialists, all renowned for their experience with international and global balloon flights. More information on Deborah, Mike and the rest of the team can be found on our Team page.


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