Merci à Vincent et à Sébastien


C'est grâce à la victoire de Vincent Leys et Sébastien Rolland, lors de l'édition 2009, que la France a le privilège d'organiser cette année le départ de la 55ème édition de la "Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett" !




Event Director's eBoard

The Winning Teams

14.09.2011 @ 20:30 loc

The 55th. Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett is over. In today's pricegiving and closing ceremony the brave pilots were honoured.

Winning teams are

Gold Medal
FRANCE 1, Sebastien Rolland / Vincent Leys

Silver Medal
GERMANY 2, Matthias Zenge / Frank Wilbert

Bronze Medal
GERMANY 1, Wilhelm Eimers / Ullrich Seel

Changed timings

12.09.2011 @ 14:00 loc / modified 17:00 loc

Dear All,

please note the following changes.

Because all teams are able to return to Gap-Tallard until tuesday late or during the course of wednesday, the local organizers agreed to move the awards ceremony forward. We very much appreciate this flexibility.

WEDNESDAY, Sept 14, 2011

1500 local
Event Debriefing
Hotel "Le Cap" (or "Centre Parachutisme"), pls come to Hotel first

1645 local
Drive from Hotel to City of Gap (by own arrangement)

1700 local
Awards Ceremony & Price Giving
- "Conseil General"
- City of Gap

After the Ceremony
- Dinner at the Hotel "Le Cap"

Regarding rooms:
- we shall re-arrange the rooms on your behalf (for the teams)
- BUT PLEASE email to who is coming.

Thank you very much. Have a safe drive!

Published also via email-distribution list to pilots / officials / jury on Sept 12 @ 1357 loc.and at 1712 loc.

France 1 landed at 02:22 loc

12..09.2011 @ 04:25 loc

Pilots Sebastien ROLLAND and Vincent LEYS on the ground close to Linz / AUT.

UNOFFICIAL results are shown on attached image.

Following are some comments of the Event Director as stated on the "Tracking page":

[12.09.11 03:31]
We got lots of screenshots from DWD and Austrocontrol. Thx for your further material.

[12.09.11 03:10]
We are now downloading all available meteo-data for detailed analysis.

[12.09.11 03:08]
France-1 landed 5 NM NE Linz / Austria at 02:22 local time. Pilot Sebastien Rolland just called me. They decided to terminate flight because of  a cell developing quickly in their vicinity. Envelope now deflated in calm conditions.

[12.09.11 02:40]
France-1 landed safely near Linz / Austria at 02:22 local time. We had contact to the ground-team twice in the last minutes - actually in the very second when the pilots called them to confirm their safe landing.

The French made it (again)!

11.09.2011 @ 23:55 loc

... enjoying a night above Austria at 5.300 metres above sea-level and excelling the leading German teams ... wow. What a flight for all the teams in that Coupe.

French pilots Sebastien Rolland and Vincent Leys - again - flew the longest distance. Well, the race is not over yet. The two pilots got to land safely. It ain't over until it's over!

Bravo, bien sure!


11.09.2011, 22:30 loc.

We closely monitor the situation. Whereas there had been pireps about a developing thunderstorm 2 hours ago, we now see, that this cell and actually the front is moving to the N and NE and even dissolving.

With regards to the french balloon F-PPSE, we are less concerned at this moment. Pilots are flying south of the main ridge of the Alps. This ridge is a serious mountain with a very significant blocking effect. Pilots attending events in the Alps can confirm that it very often takes up to a day for a front to cross that main ridge.

If you have a closer look at the available radar images and the current lightning-charts, you may agree that the situation looks less dramatic than being commented elsewhere.

The pilots who are flying in this Coupe are monitored each and every second. Not only the public, but as importantly, experienced fellow-pilots and professional meterologists look into the situation. They use up-to-date information out of different sources for assessing the flying tactics.

10 teams landed. France1 still flying.

11.09.2011 @ 22:21 loc

The second night of the Coupe sees one team - France 1 - flying high above the Austrian Alps. The current position of pilots Sebastien Rolland and Vincent Leys is in the area of the "Kitzsteinhorn".

For the time being, GER2 and GER1 are in the lead, being followed by FRA1. However, FRA1 still has time to catch up the missing distance to go for the victory.

All other teams had landed safely by the end of daylight on sunday. Meteorological conditions turned out to be difficult on some occasions, but all pilots met their crew and the equipment is being taken care of. There was a developing thunderstorm in the area that expedited the pilots' decision to look out for a landing spot. The front still stays to the North and NW - as forecast. More analysis being shown in a separate post.

Radar 1830 loc / 1630 UTC

The distinct actual radar soundings show the forecast position and dimension associated with the approaching frontal system. It appears that the pilots' strategy worked out to clear the Alps before sunset or find safe landing spots in the valleys. With the wind flowing along the valley, orographic effect are about to increase the surface wind. Pilots may aim at finding sheltered spots or consider landing outside the main valley, to avoid high wind speeds.

The aviation met-report calls for slowing winds and calming conditions SE of Munich. We do not expect the front to affect the pilots before sunset. In fact, the general trend is now more favourable again.

Currently, the balloons are situated between Innsbruck and Salzburg, both very well know Austrian cities.


Another night?

11.09.2011 @ 18:30 loc

We do not know about the individual strategies; here are some thoughts.

Those teams flying very high, may well head for a second night. But all others which did not land yet, are still in the runnings. Sufficient  ballast being one of the key issues after this high flight.

Teams FRA1, GBR1, GER1 and GER2 are all flying in altitudes between 4700 and 6000 m AMSL. They are using oxygen for most of the flight by now. It is a very enduring and tough flight! Are they ready to go into another night?

Just in case ...., please see attached the trajectories for the next 24 hours until sunset on monday! Once the pilots did clear the Alps and in case they are on the safe side regarding the front to the west, they may well benefit from the night's cooling effect and continue on a lower flight-profile. However, with this close result, they won't risk to lose any competitive edge they gained during the race so far.

It'll certainly be a very challenging and exciting Coupe for the next hours. Bonne chance!


11.09.2011 @ 17:00 loc

Please find current (unofficial / unvalidated) distances.

Current Meteo

11.09.2011 @ 16:45 loc

As forecast - the front is to the NW of the teams. Please see the current radar-chart (taken 1630 loc) produced by DWD (Deutscher Wetterdienst / German Met Office).

2 Alpine Crossings in 1 day

11.09.2011 @ 15:00 loc

What a great Coupe!!!! Crossing the Alps from France to Italy ... and then another crossing from Italy into Switzerland and Germany or Austria. All this happening in the very same 24 hours. 8 Teams are just going for that.

South to North crossings do not happen often, in fact it is very rarely seen.

The meteo-outlook for "north of the alps" is unchanged. An incoming front is about to create challenging weather in the West of Germany which is going to move into the Southeast later during the day. Until sunset, the area South and East of Munich should stay suitable for flying and landing. Also, the front may well slow down as well as weaken during the night.

Pilots really can only use a very narrow time-window to finalize their crossing of the Alps.


11.09.2011 @ 13:00 loc

All 11 teams crossed the alps in a spectacular night-crossing. They are all in Italian airspace. Some teams landed already. Dealing with ATC and trying to obtain entry clearances for certain airspaces proved to be difficult.

The question now is, in how far the speed and direction will allow for a safe crossing of the Alps. The incoming frontal system shall certainly affect the northern parts of the alps prior to sunset. This scenario had been forecast and is not coming as a surprise. However, as the speed had been somewhat slower than anticipated, teams now really have to look very closely into all options. The daytime might be running short later today to make it into Bavaria or Austria.

After the first night

11.09.2011 @ 07:30 loc

After a high-altitude flight up to 5600 m AMSL, all teams now are within Italian airspace. The tracks are therefore much more towards the East than expected; also the speed is lower. The front to the N of the Alps is approaching as expected and teams now have to decide about their strategy how to deal with today's challenges in Italy or trying to cross the Alps with a NE heading.

Live Tracking

Follow the Teams - live!

The system pulls updated data every 20 minutes. This intervall may be shortened without prior information. The data shown are those at the moment of "pulling", except "heading" and "speed" which is calculated based on the transmitted data of the actual and the previous pull.

Pour suivre la 55ème Coupe Gordon Bennett EN DIRECT

Into the flight

Most pilots decided to go up very high. Several teams higher than 5.000 meters above sea-level and heading East towards Italy

publ. 11.09.2011, 00:05 UTC

All balloons airborne! Launchtimes!






Launch UTC / local





21:33 / 23.33





21:37 / 23:37





No start



Sebastien ROLLAND

Vincent LEYS

21:40 / 23:40



Cheryl WHITE


21:42 / 23:42





21:45 / 23:45



Nicolas TIECHE


21:47 / 23:47





21:50 / 23:50



Barbara FRICKE


21:53 / 23:53



Matthias ZENGE


21:56 / 23:56





21:59 / 23:59



Wilhelm EIMERS

Ullrich SEEL

22:05 / 00:05


Published Sun 11.09.2011 @ 01:00 loc

20:30h Final Briefing

Pilots had been given the last meteo-information. Also, the detailed ATC-procedures had been explained. We are pleased that the initial clearance is for Flightlevel 165 (approx. 5200 m above sea level). Pre-coordination with ATC Marseille and Italy is finished. Ready to go!

All thumbs up! We are planning to launch at 2200 local.

17:30h loc Inflation started

Ready for inflation
Blue skies + wind
Great scenery
F-PSSE first to begin

All set for "go" on saturday!

10.09.2011, 1300 loc

Pilots had just been given a detailed meteo-briefing. The scenarios do allow for an inflation during the afternoon. Inflation is aimed to finish by 2000 local.

In a briefing at 2030, the event director shall be providing updated meteo-information. Also, the final detailed procedures regarding Air Traffic Control are being communated then.

All is set for "Launch" at 2200 hours local time.

Times for Saturday 10.09.2011

10.09.2011, 10:00 loc

13:00 Briefing "Centre Parachutisme"

14:30 Cars / Teams ready for driving onto airport

15:00 Beginn Inflation

21:00 Briefing "Centre Parachutisme"

22:00 Launch

Opening Ceremony

09.09.2011, Chateau d'Tallard

Drawing the launch-sequence
Jean Claude Weber, President of the Jury and the Interntl. Ballooning Commission
Pilot Tobias Anzeneder speaking the "FAI Oath"
Official Markus Haggeney speaking the "FAI Oath"
Chateau d'Tallard
Olivier Roux Devillas
24 Pilots / 12 Teams / 6 Nations
Dr. John Grubbstrom, President of the FAI & Martine Besnainou (VP French Federation and Deputy ED)

Launch Sequence

Drawn on 09.09.2011 @ 1930 h (Chateau Tallard)


1. Austria
2. United Kingdom
3. Switzerland
4. France
5. USA
6. Germany


1. AUT 1
2. UK 1
3. SUI 2
4. FRA 1
5. USA 2
6. GER 3
7. SUI 3
8. FRA 2
9. USA 1
10. GER 2
11. SUI 1
12. GER 1

Times / Locations for Friday 09.09.2011

09.09.2011, 1113 loc

Posted via eMail to Pilots / Jury / Officials on Friday, August 9th, 2011 at 11:13loc

Please note the times / locations:

1700 local: Briefing, mainly Meteo / ATC / Launch-procedures (Briefing-Room "Centre Parachutisme")

1800 local: Opening Ceremony (Tallard Castle)

Competition Area

08.09.2011, 10:00loc

Next to our eMail (03.08.2011, Open Countries / Addendum 01, see below), this image shows the "competition area / open countries".

Official Web-page

08.09.2011, 07:20loc

The official web-site is

but official information for pilots / jury / crew is only communicated through

-        Official Notice Board (Hotel "Le Cap") - AND
-        eMail distribution-list (as before) - AND additionally
-        on the official web-page AFTER you were notified through eMail.


This is our inofficial web-site for back-up purposes. Nothing published here has official character unless otherwise communicated via eMail distribution-list.



These teams registered for the 55th. Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett. The official list is going to be published after the General Briefing.

(Call-signs added on Sept 7, 2011)


France 1
Sébastien ROLLAND & Vincent LEYS / F-PPSE

France 2

Germany 1
Wilhelm EIMERS & Ullrich SEEL / D-OWBI

Germany 2
Matthias ZENGE & Frank WILBERT / D-OWBA

Germany 3

Great Britain

Suisse 1

Suisse 2

Suisse 3
Nicolas TIECHE & Pierrick DUVOISIN / D-OWML

Barbara FRICKE & Peter CUNEO / D-OMFE

Cheryl WHITE & Mark SULLIVAN / N-77GH

(Note: This news published again for enhanced readability. News dated 26.08.2011 showed a jpg-file only.)



All venues at Gap-Tallard, Aerodrome.

08.09.2011 (Thursday)

  • 15:00 - 17:00 Check-In
  • 18:00 - 20:00 General Briefing

09.09.2011 (Friday)

  • all day: getting ready, ballast etc.
  • 18:00: Meteo-Briefing
  • 19:30: Opening Ceremony / Drawing of Launch Sequence (Castle of Tallard, by invitation only)

10.09.2011 (Saturday)

  • 12:00 Briefing
  • 14:00 Start Inflation
  • 20:00 End Inflation
  • 21:00 Briefing
  • 22:00 Launch

 17.09.2011 (Saturday)

  • Closing / Awards Ceremony
  • Time / location to be announced

Times and/or locations subject to change after the General Briefing upon further notice.



Dear Pilots,

as published previously (eMail 03.08.2011), we did negotiate special conditions for missing coverage in case that should become necessary.

We know that it is particularily difficult for some teams to get the requested high coverage for all these "open countries".

Whereas all of you by now have shown evidence of that requested insurance, we suspect that some are still negotiating the cost and conditions and payments with your own brokers.

Just in case, "our" broker who is a major German company with about 6.000 aircraft under his care, will top-up missing third-party-liability insurance for very reasonable costs (usually 300 Euro but subject to confirmation) for that event only. (This sentence not valid/error on my side/31.08.2011: This will only work, if you have a substantial coverage on your own already.)

We are able to sort this out during check-in. If you think that this package might be needed, give us a mail on

Competitors / Balloons


This is the list of the pilots entered to fly in the 2011 Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett.

The final list of competitors / balloons shall be published after the General Briefing scheduled for thursday, Sept 8th 2011.

ATC / entry- and overflight permissions / VFR-night


A lot of work has been necessary to pre-arrange as many details as possible with all countries that are considered "open countries".

We have to realise that Europe is quite a congested airspace and opening the skies for all teams prior to take-off was a major effort. We know that we have been a "pain" in chasing some of you for submitting missing documents, we did this on behalf of several countries specifically requesting these. Necessary steps to enforce this process - to the benefit of the pilots - are being put in place for 2012.

We kindly invite you to have a look at the published list of open countries (please see news dated 03.08.2011, below) and we ask for your understanding that this list may be shortened in case of new evidence regarding potential safety issues. For the time being this is unlikely. In no case, new countries shall be added to the competition.

You'll be pleased to hear that specific procedures for VFR-flights at night in Italy have been negotiated.

Please be ready for a detailed explanation of all ATC-related issues during the General Briefing.


Official Logo - for download


Open Countries / Addendum 01


Posted via eMail to Pilots / Jury / Officials on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011 at 10:13

Dear Pilots,
Dear Officials,

we have been communicating our principles regarding Open Countries earlier in May. For ease of reference, pls find below the original text.

Following the hard work of our ATC-men (Mike & Jens), we did receive some very favourable feedbacks but as well some No!. Therefore we are pleased to publish the official list of open countries.

Please note: This is the maximum list of countries for the Coupe. In no case we will add other countries than those on the list before the launch. However, this list of open countries may be shortened in case of new developments regarding safety on the ground or in the air.

Because of the late deadline and some few unclear insurance documents, we did arrange for a general insurance cover for all teams for all countries. If you find it difficult to arrange for the required coverage for the countries, don?t worry. We (you) may make use of this insurance (300 Euro), if you need it. Our German broker is in place to arrange for all paperworks in time. If your insurance-documents should still not be clear during check-in, we will make you use the pre-arranged policy. This refers also to those teams who claim to have insurance but cannot prove it because of lacking documents.

OPEN countries

  • AUT Austria
  • BEL Belgium
  • BIH Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • BGR Bulgaria
  • HRV Croatia (local name: Hrvatska)
  • CZE Czech Republic
  • DNK Denmark
  • EST Estonia
  • FRA France
  • FIN Finland
  • DEU Germany
  • GRC Greece
  • HUN Hungary
  • ITA Italy
  • IRL Ireland
  • LVA Latvia
  • LTU Lithuana
  • LUX Luxemburg
  • MKD Macedonia
  • MNE Montenegro
  • NLD Netherlands
  • NOR Norway
  • POL Poland
  • PRT Portugal
  • ROM Romania
  • SRB Serbia
  • SVK Slovakia
  • SVN Slovenia
  • ESP Spain
  • SWE Sweden
  • CHE Switzerland
  • GBR United Kingdom

CLOSED countries (and shall remain closed)

  • ALB Albania
  • BLR Belarus
  • CYP Cyprus
  • n.a. Kosovo
  • MLT Malta
  • MDA Moldova
  • RUS Russian Federation
  • TUR Turkey
  • UKR Ukraine

(UN 3-letter codes, see

Minimum Equipment List / Addendum 01


Posted via eMail to Pilots / Jury / Officials on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011 at 09:38

Dear Pilots,
Dear Officials,

We did receive some questions and replies concern the previous message.

We have to consider the fact that the current FAI/CIA-rules are not in line with what the national aviation authorities do require. There are quite some issues which need to be resolved.

Therefore, we currently try to only straighten those rules which we do think we cannot get around. The before mentioned refers especially towards the ELT.

ELT for this Coupe are defined as follows: Emergency beacons (ELT or PLB) must transmitting simultaneously on the following frequencies: 121.5 MHz and 406 MHz,registered and approved as aeronautical equipment.

LIFE RAFT is not mandatory but recommended.

Please look out for further news in the upcoming few weeks.

Markus Haggeney (Event Director)

Minimum Equipment List


Posted via eMail to Pilots, Jury, Officials on Wednesday, July 20th, 2011 at 20:31

Dear Pilots,

the standard minimum equipment list as used in the past applies. However, please find following some detailed statements:

1. ELT. Only officially registered ELT devices will be accepted for this race. No eperb's or other devices allwed. The appropriate definition applies as per FAA TSO-C126.

2. Life-vests are sufficient, no rafts required.

3. Oxygen. It is highly likely that shortly after take-off altitudes of FL140 may have to be reached. It will therefore be checked if sufficient oxygen including masks are carried for both pilots.

4. Transpondner Mode Sierra

5. Aviation charts. Jeppesen 1:500.000 or similar have to be carried on board.

Please keep on monitoring the (our!) director's corner on

Thank you very much.

eBoard: ATC / Open Countries / VFR Night


Posted on Friday, May 13th, 2011 at 05:23

We kindly invite you to read further news in the "Event Director's eBoard" (see "Categories" to the right).

Thank you very much.

Invitation / registration: new round started


Posted on Thursday, May 12th, 2011 at 21:10

Dear Pilots,

please note that the invitation process is going to see a new round now. Pilots and Federations are going to receive updated information via mail. All previously published deadlines are "on hold" until further notice which is going to be published here.  We apologize for any inconvenience caused.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us directly at info (at) We appreciate your understanding that we will only be replying to nominated pilots resp. their National Federations or NACs at this stage.

We kindly invite all pilots to monitor the "Event Director's eBoard" (see Categories to the right) on this page.

Thank you very much.

Air Traffic Control: VFR Night esp. Italy


Posted on Thursday, May 12th, 2011 at 19:53

Dear Pilots, Dear Competitors,

As you are all aware, the procedures and regulations for VFR-night-flying differ amongst Europe. We have been very succesfull to negotiate robust and professional procedures with European ATC authorities in previous races.

Many of you know the experts in our team, Mike Reichert and Jens Merczak, both professional ATC-controllers and members of the Gordon-Bennett-Operations Team since 2001.

One current focus is our cooperation with the Italian Authorities. Our first contacts with ENAC (Ente Nazionale per L'Aviazione Civile) date back more than a year. Recently, our Italian ballooning friend and FAI/CIA-delegate Paolo Oggioni as well Donatella Ricci had personal talks with the authorities to discuss workable procedures. We thank Paolo and Donatella very much for establishing this direct link. Based on this, the ATC controllers in the GB-team now continue to do the detailed work.

Our aim is to negotiate an entry permission alongside rules and regulations which will allow all teams to enter Italian airspace at night.

We are flexible with the launch time and are ready to delay the launch, in case the meteorological conditions or trajectories should take the pilots into airspace or areas with challenges.

We are confident that with the evidence of past Coupes and under the light of state-of-art tracking and communication technology, European ATC authorities will support a great Coupe.

Best regards,

Markus Haggeney (Event Director, Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett 2011)

Air Traffic Control: Clearances / Open Countries


Posted via eMail to Pilots, Jury, Officials on Thursday, May 12th, 2011 at 19:35

Dear Pilots,

we are pleased to confirm that we are intensively working on obtaining entry-clearances for the countries within the competition area.

We will update you shortly about the "open countries". Also, we shall inform you about the procedures and timings about closing the list of open countries. In no case we intend to OPEN additional countries after a deadline or - worse - days or hours before take-off. Rather it may happen that we CLOSE countries if we have new evidence about potential challenges in the airspace and/or on the ground. Whereas the Coupe is a race in the air, we intend to do our utmost to ensure that the retrieve-crews on the ground have a safe journey also.

The deadline to declare the "open countries" usually is 6 weeks prior to launch. We shall agree all timings with the working group of the International Ballooning Commission (AA WG FAI/CIA) in due course.

Best regards,

Markus Haggeney (Event Director, Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett 2011)

Rules and Regulations

published Sept 09, 2011 @ 10:40 loc

Please find enclosed the "Rules / Regulations" in an electronic format. It is the very same document you had received as a paper-copy and which we had discussed during the General Briefing.

Document PDF2011_Coupe_55th_Gordon_Bennett_FRANCE_Rules_Regulations.pdf

Conseil général