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FRIDAY 21ST JULY 2023 -  FLIGHT 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.

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THURSDAY 20TH JULY 2023 -  FLIGHT UPDATE 

Debbie & Mike finally launched the Transatlantic Balloon Challenge flight at 1244UTC today from Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada.

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WEDNESDAY 19H JULY 2023 -  FLIGHT UPDATE 

After further meteorological assessment the Transatlantic Balloon Challenge will launch at 0900 ( Sussex, NB local time ) on Thursday 20th July. The team will now continue with preparations on the ground before heading back to base for rest.

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WEDNESDAY 19H JULY 2023 -  FLIGHT UPDATE 

We remain on official standby for the Transatlantic Balloon Challenge to launch at 0900 (Sussex, NB Local time) on Thursday 20th July subject to a final meteorological assessment. In the meantime, Debbie, Mike and the rest of the team will begin preparing the balloon ready for flight.

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TUESDAY 18H JULY 2023 -  FLIGHT UPDATE 

We are now on official standby for the Transatlantic Balloon Challenge to launch at 0000 Sussex, New Brunswick local time (0300 UTC) on Thursday 20th July subject to final meteorological confirmation tomorrow. Further updates will be posted in due course.

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FRIDAY 14H JULY 2023 -  FLIGHT UPDATE 

After further meteorological review, the Transatlantic Balloon Challenge will not launch until Wednesday 19th July at the earliest. This is mainly due to a problematic weather and wind situation further out into the Atlantic ocean as a low-pressure system is developing north of the Azores. Launch conditions tomorrow are also not ideal as precipitation is expected in the morning and would follow the balloon for the rest of the day.

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WEDNESDAY 12H JULY 2023 -  FLIGHT UPDATE 

Although launch conditions would be ideal in Sussex, NB tomorrow (13th July), the track over the Atlantic would be problematical with several areas having icing hazards caused by the initial northerly track and high altitude required to avoid cloud. Therefore, there will not be a launch before Saturday 15th July.

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TUESDAY 11H JULY 2023 -  FLIGHT UPDATE 

After analysing the latest meteorological report, Debbie & Mike have decided to go on standby for a launch on Thursday 13th July at 1200UTC (0900 Local Sussex NB). This launch decision will be confirmed in the morning of Wednesday 12th July after a further meteorological assessment.

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FRIDAY 7H JULY 2023 -  FLIGHT UPDATE 

We remain on a weather hold for the Transatlantic Balloon Challenge.

After reviewing the forecasts and trajectories with our meteorologist a launch is unlikely before Wednesday 12th July. Next Flight Update will be on Tuesday 11th July. Once again a huge thank you to all of our supporters!

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TUESDAY 4TH JULY 2023 -  FLIGHT UPDATE 

After reviewing the forecasts and trajectories with our meteorologist, the Transatlantic Balloon Challenge is unlikely to launch before Sunday 9th July. 
However, the team will continue to carefully monitor conditions over the Atlantic Ocean with a further update on Friday 7th July.

THURSDAY 29TH JUNE 2023 -  FLIGHT UPDATE 

Taking into consideration the current forecasts available, the Transatlantic Balloon Challenge will sadly not launch before Wednesday 5th July. A further flight update will be posted on Tuesday 4th July.

 

Thanks for the support everyone!

MONDAY 26TH JUNE 2023 -  FLIGHT UPDATE 

The Transatlantic Balloon Challenge meteorologists and crew continue to monitor weather conditions in New Brunswick, Canada, over the Atlantic Ocean and Europe. Taking into consideration the current forecasts available a launch is unlikely until Friday 30th June at the earliest. A further flight update will be posted later this week.

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SUNDAY 25TH JUNE 2023 - THANK YOU!

Thank you to everyone for the kind messages of support from all over the world!

THURSDAY 22ND JUNE 2023 - FLIGHT UPDATE

The launch of the Transatlantic Balloon Challenge flight has been postponed due to the uncertainty of being able to avoid the Military Exercise area in the East Atlantic Ocean.
The weather in New Brunswick, Canada is looking to become unsettled in the next few days, making a launch of the Transatlantic Balloon Challenge unlikely. A further update will follow when we have a clearer idea of the weather going into next week.
In the meantime, we would like to thank everyone for their kind messages of support.

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THURSDAY 22ND JUNE 2023 - FLIGHT UPDATE

The launch of the Transatlantic Balloon Challenge flight has been postponed due to the uncertainty of being able to avoid the Military Exercise area in the East Atlantic Ocean.
The weather in New Brunswick, Canada is looking to become unsettled in the next few days, making a launch of the Transatlantic Balloon Challenge unlikely. A further update will follow when we have a clearer idea of the weather going into next week.
In the meantime, we would like to thank everyone for their kind messages of support.

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THURSDAY 22ND JUNE 2023 - FLIGHT UPDATE

Our meteorologist and crew continue to monitor the weather situation in Sussex, New Brunswick, and over the Atlantic Ocean. The Military exercise in the East Atlantic, previously mentioned, is adding complexity to the process of determining trajectories for a successful Atlantic crossing. We are awaiting a further weather forecast before making any decision to launch. An update will be published later today. Thank you for your patience and messages of support!

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THURSDAY 22ND JUNE 2023 - FLIGHT UPDATE

Preparations for the launch of the Transatlantic Balloon Challenge from Sussex, New Brunswick remain on hold. A further flight update will be posted when the team have analysed the the latest meteorological reports.

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WEDNESDAY 21ST JUNE 2023 - FLIGHT UPDATE

Sadly, we have a situation where we will almost certainly have to postpone the launch. A Military Exercise, which was due to take place on Monday 19th June has now been rescheduled to Monday 26th June. The latest forecast trajectories show that it does not look as if we can avoid the area. We will update later when the team have analysed the the latest metrological reports.

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WEDNESDAY 21ST JUNE 2023 - FLIGHT UPDATE

Our meteorologist and crew have assessed the current weather situation in Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada and over the North Atlantic. We are planning to launch at 1200Z (0900L) on Thursday 22nd June 2023.

Next update on Thursday 22nd June once the balloon inflation has started.

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TUESDAY 20TH JUNE 2023 - FLIGHT UPDATE

Our meteorologist and crew have assessed the current weather situation in Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada and over the North Atlantic.

We are currently looking at 3 launch scenarios and will wait for the weather update tomorrow before deciding when to launch. Next update will be Wednesday 21st June.

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SUNDAY 18TH JUNE 2023 - FLIGHT UPDATE

Finally, the weather situation over the Atlantic is starting to show signs of improvement. The latest meteorological assessment provides some optimism for favourable launch conditions in Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada and a positive westerly trajectory over the Atlantic towards the end of the week. However, The Transatlantic Balloon Challenge flight is not expected to launch until at least Wednesday 21st June. Next update on Tuesday 20th June.

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THURSDAY 15TH JUNE 2023 - FLIGHT UPDATE

Due to the persistent low-pressure area, centred in the middle of the Atlantic, The Transatlantic Balloon Challenge flight is not expected to launch from Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada until at least Tuesday 20th June. We are patiently waiting for a westerly airflow across the Atlantic to establish before launching. Next update on Sunday 18th June.

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SUNDAY 11TH JUNE 2023 - FLIGHT UPDATE

Due to persistent adverse weather conditions, The Transatlantic Balloon Challenge flight is not expected to launch from Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada until at least Saturday 17th June.

The weather situation in Europe is not permitting an Atlantic crossing at the moment. High Pressure that persists over northern Europe gives rise to a hostile easterly to south-easterly flow going onto the Atlantic, acting as a wall. Next update on Thursday 15th June.

 

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THURSDAY 8TH JUNE 2023 - FLIGHT UPDATE

Due to adverse weather conditions, The Transatlantic Balloon Challenge flight is not expected to launch from Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada until at least Tuesday 13th June. Although launch surface weather will appear over Sussex by Monday 12th June, a blocked weather situation over Europe which has persisted for several weeks now will persist further throughout next week. This situation makes it difficult to reach Europe.Next flight update on Sunday 11th June.

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TUESDAY 6TH JUNE 2023 - FLIGHT UPDATE

Due to adverse weather conditions, The Transatlantic Balloon Challenge flight is not expected to launch from Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada until at least Saturday 10th June.
A vast low-pressure system off of the coast of Nova Scotia is causing unsuitable weather conditions for launch. Next flight update on Thursday 8th June.

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SATURDAY 14TH MAY 2023 - ONWARDS TO CANADA

Today the balloon and equipment was packed ready for it's long journey across the Atlantic to Canada. A huge thank you to everyone who helped with the packing!

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WEDNESDAY 11TH MAY 2023 - BALLOON PREP CONTINUES

It's a very busy time for the Transatlantic Balloon Challenge team however we thought we would just share this photo with you! 

 

The balloon having just been inspected for its annual review, back in its bag and looking rather large!

TUESDAY 2ND MAY 2023 - LAUNCH WINDOW CONFIRMED!

After several delays, Sussex UK locals, Deborah and Mike Scholes are finally ready to make ballooning history as they set out to attempt two world firsts. Deborah aims to become the first female pilot in command, and Mike, the first registered blind crew member to make a Transatlantic crossing in a balloon. The flight is scheduled to launch from Sussex, New Brunswick in Canada any time on, or after 7th June 2023, whenever meteorological conditions are favourable.

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Welcome Refire!

We are pleased to announce that Refire has become a major supporter of the Challenge. Refire makes hydrogen fuel cells, an environmentally friendly and efficient method for powering vehicles. Thank you Refire for your support!

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4th April 2022
After the disappointment of having to postpone their flight for the last two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Debbie & Mike were looking forward to finally flying across the Atlantic this summer.

 

Unfortunately, they have had to postpone the flight again this year until Summer 2023.

 

During the second half of 2021, Mike was unwell. He had a major operation in January this year. Although the operation was successful and his rehab is going well, he will not be fit enough in time to do the flight this year. Obviously, this is a huge disappointment, but they want to make sure they are both fully fit for the crossing. This flight delay has made them even more determined to make it happen next summer.

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20th to 26th September 2021

Last week Debbie & Mike flew 4 gas balloon flights from Ballonstartplatz, Gladbeck, Germany with renowned German balloon pilot, Wilhelm Eimers. Willi has flown more than 1400 gas balloon flights and has won the Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett 4 times.

They flew 23 hours 45 minutes in total. The flights were as follows -
Gladbeck to Braine-le-Comte, Belgium (SW of Brussels) - 10 hours 15 minutes
Gladbeck to Altendorf - 4 hours 25 minutes
Gladbeck to Sendenhorst - 4 hours 10 minutes
Gladbeck to Bösensell, Germany (West of Münster) - 5 hours
Substantial parts of the flights were at night in order that they got night flying experience.

Kevin Stass (Flight Director for the Transatlantic Challenge flight) flew as a passenger with them on 3 of these flights.

Debbie & Mike were honoured to have Russian balloon pilot, Leonid Tiukhtyaev joining them with his friend Ekaterina Radaeva for the flight to Sendenhorst. Leonid flew across the Pacific with American balloonist Troy Bradley in January 2015.

Pictures from these flights can bee seen on our Gallery page.

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30th June 2021

After much deliberation, Debbie & Mike have reluctantly decided to postpone their Transatlantic Balloon Challenge flight until Summer 2022. This is mostly related to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic situation. Covid-19 is still not under control and although many adults, including Debbie & Mike, have received both vaccinations, the infection rate of the Delta variant in the UK is increasing. Many European countries and Canada have banned UK residents from entry or require quarantine, making the situation untenable.

They have had moral concerns for a while about making the flight while there are many people suffering from Covid-19 in countries where they may land and Canada (where they will launch from). They feel that it is not appropriate to fly this year.

The decision to postpone was all the more difficult to make, in that their preparation for the flight has been going very well. With certification and acceptance flying complete, the balloon and equipment were all ready to be shipped to Canada.

Debbie & Mike would like to thank all their corporate and individual benefactors and social media followers for their continued support.

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13th June 2021

Debbie and Mike are still working hard in preparation for their Transatlantic flight.


Last Sunday (13th June) Debbie flew solo in her lightweight Ultramagic 90 hot-air balloon to a height of 23,180 ft. This is the highest recorded flight by a woman in this balloon class at 1.5 % higher than the British record. Unfortunately, the record needed to be broken by 3% to be counted officially.


However, Debbie said she was thrilled at her achievement. The flight, over the Worcestershire countryside, lasted an hour. At the top of the climb, it was -30ºC in clear blue skies. She was wearing clothing that she will wear on the Transatlantic flight. "I felt nice and warm up there!" she said. You can see more pictures of this flight on our Gallery page.

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27th/28th November 2020

On Friday 27th November G-ZOZO took to the air for the first time. This balloon is the first of its type. The gas cell can use either helium (when flown as a Rozier) or hydrogen (when flown as a pure gas balloon). It, therefore, needed a test flight for certification purposes. Flown as a pure gas balloon, filled with hydrogen, it was piloted by Benni Eimers with Willi Eimers as co-pilot. Both are world renowned, experienced balloon pilots and qualified to conduct test flights.

 

The balloon launched from Gladbeck in Germany at 1412 local and landed at Gahlen, south of Schermbeck at 1552 local. The flight duration was 1 hour & 40 minutes. Distance travelled was 16 kms. The maximum altitude flown was 6,000 feet.

 

On Saturday 28th November Debbie & Mike flew the balloon for the first time. As per the Test Flight it was flown as a pure gas balloon.

 

The balloon launched from Gladbeck at 1245 local and landed at Sankt Hubert, northeast of Kempen, at 1516 local. The flight duration was 3 hours & 31 minutes and distance travelled was 48 kms. The maximum altitude flown was 4,200 feet.

 

After the flight Debbie commented that “the flight was fantastic and the balloon was very stable”.

 

When Debbie & Mike fly across the Atlantic next summer a warm air cone will be fitted to the gas cell under the skirt. The cone will extend down to the burner frame and the air in it will be kept at a constant temperature so keeping the balloon in level flight. The load lines will then be hidden.

 

You can see pictures of these flights on our Gallery page. Click here for German TV (WDR - Lokalzeit Ruhr) coverage of the flight.

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12th September 2020 - Longleat Drive-In Night Glow

Debbie & Mike took their hot-air balloon to the Longleat Safari Park and joined 35 other balloons to do the World’s first drive-in Night Glow. Usually, these glows in which the burners glow in time with music, attract 10,000 spectators but this year spectators had to stay in their cars because of Covid-19 restrictions. It was a great event, arranged and choreographed by Andrew Holly. Simon Ball, a friend of Deborah and Mike, has prepared a short video which we would like to share with you. Its the first edition and called Glow Your Own Way.
#GlowYourOwnWay

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3rd June 2020

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Mike & Debbie have reluctantly decided to postpone their Transatlantic Balloon Challenge flight until next Summer.

The bad weather in Europe in January & February had already delayed their plans to test fly in Germany. By the time the weather had improved, the pandemic had taken hold.

They had hoped that they may have still been able to fly later this Summer. However, on reflection, they felt that a postponement until next year would be more prudent.

They still intend to launch from Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada sometime between Mid-June and early August 2021.

We would like to thank all our followers and suppliers for their continued support. We will keep you updated via our website and social media as plans for next Summer’s flight unfold.

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29th March 2020

The Covid-19 situation has obviously disrupted the preparation for our flight. We will still continue to plan for a launch when conditions are safe. We will be carefully monitoring the situation as developments unfold and will post updates as, and when our plans evolve.

We would like to thank all our followers and suppliers for their continued support during this difficult time.

Stay safe, Debbie & Mike

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24th February 2020

Debbie & Mike appeared in a live TV interview on Canadian TV's (CTV) Your Morning Show.Click here to watch the interview.

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16th November 2019

We are pleased to announce that Luc Trullemans will be in charge of meteorology for our flight. Luc is a highly accomplished meteorologist. Please see our Team Page for details of Luc’s outstanding contribution to aviation and sailing projects over the last 30 years.

Meteorology is critical to all balloon flying. Luc will study forecast conditions prior to the flight and advise Deborah & Mike when weather conditions for the launch and en route align. After launch, he will effectively "steer" the balloon by studying the dynamic and forecast atmospheric conditions and advise Deborah & Mike the most favourable altitudes at which to fly to direct them to a safe landing on the eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean. 

 

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29th October 2019

Updated Press Release Issued. Click here to read

Richard Branson - Transatlantic Balloon.

22nd October 2019

Sir Richard Branson kindly added his endorsement for Mike & Debbie's flight on his social media feeds. Click the links below to view.

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14th October 2019

Deborah & Mike visited the Cameron Balloon and were shown the base of our double burner which had been handcrafted. It will soon have the coils fitted through which the propane will flow.

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21st August 2019

Sandbags and Cordura padded bags for the radio and the transponder made by Claire at Zebedee Balloon Services.

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4th August 2019

To increase the chances of survival should Deborah & Mike have to ditch, they had a very informative day at Andark Diving Centre, Swanwick. Organised by GASCO, it included lectures about the physiology of salt water survival. Once strapped into the capsule it was then submerged and then inverted. They had to push out the windows, release the harness and swim out.
They have been invited back to do some more training on breathing with micro cylinders and are really looking forward to this training.

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21st June 2019

Civil Aviation Authority have agreed a suitable registration for the balloon G-ZOZO. Otherwise known as Golf-2020.

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2nd June 2019

Deborah & Mike have announced that they have postponed the flight due to some operational issues. The main one being the cost of helium due to a world supply shortage. Deborah and Mike are now aiming for a mid June to an end of July 2020 launch.

The advantage of this postponement is that it will give them and their team more time to prepare for their adventurous flight.

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12th May 2019

Deborah and Mike visited the Brabazon Hangar at Filton Aerodrome, Bristol for the first inflation test by Cameron Balloons of the newly completed Rozière balloon which will fly Deborah & Mike across the Atlantic.

The Brabazon Hangar was built in the late 1940s to house the large Bristol Brabazon, and later Lockheed Constellation and Boeing Stratocruiser aircraft. It was chosen by Cameron Balloons as it was large enough to inflate the 77,000 cubic foot balloon indoors and thereby protect it from inclement weather. The test went very well.

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24th March 2019

British Balloon & Airship Club Members' Day & AGM.

In his closing speech, Don Cameron spoke of Deborah & Mike's flight and wished them all the very best of luck. 

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06th March 2019

Deborah and Mike took part in sea survival training at Horsea Island, off the northern shore of Portsmouth Harbour. They are used the facilities at the Royal Navy’s Phoenix Training group to learn what to do in case of an emergency ditching.

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09th February 2019

Mike Tested of the sample insulation, a multilayer space blanket by Johnson Insulation to go inside the basket. The blanket contains two layers of bubble wrap.  Assisted by Merv Huggett and Peter Browne. Successfully tested the sample to 200hpa (40,000 feet) using a vacuum chamber lent by Edwards Vaccuum of Burgess Hill.

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4th February 2019

Our balloon envelope is being made from carbon coated fabric that can hold hydrogen as well as helium. So, after our transatlantic flight, the lower cone, burner and tanks are removed and the balloon flown as a gas balloon using much cheaper hydrogen. We are plan to fly across Europe from Germany. The envelope is based on the successful Cameron GB1000 that won the 2018 Gordon Bennett Cup gas balloon race.

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20th August 2018

Deborah and Mike place the order for their Transatlantic Rozière balloon with world famous balloon manufacturer, Don Cameron of Cameron Balloons in Bristol. Cameron Balloons have been making balloons since 1967. some of them have been flown in world record breaking flights, including those flown by Don himself.

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16th - 18th August 2018

 

Deborah's first training flights in a gas balloon with experienced German pilot Wilhelm Eimers. Willi has won the Gordon Bennett Cup (Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett) 4 times - in 1995, 1996, 2000 & 2014.

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