Abstract: The Art & Science of Ballooning
An illustrated talk on the science and history of ballooning.
Ballooning began in the early days of scientific exploration in
the eighteenth century, but has greatly developed in the last thirty
years with the growth of the modern hot air balloon, hydrogen and
helium balloons, round-the-world flights and exotic special shapes.
was born in Glasgow in 1939 and graduated with honours in
Aeronautical Engineering at Glasgow University in 1961. He holds a
master’s degree from Cornell University (USA) and a doctorate from
Glasgow. He has qualified as a pilot of aeroplanes, gliders,
balloons and airships. He is the founder of Cameron Balloons Ltd,
the world’s largest constructor of hot-air balloons and is also the
founder of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, a non-profit
organisation which attracts 500,000 visitors to its annual event. He
continues to be active in both of these.
He has made many innovations in lighter-than-air
flight including the world’s first hot-air airship, the development
of the special-shape hot-air balloon, the first flight of a hot-air
balloon over the Alps, first balloon flight from the UK to the USSR,
the first Atlantic Balloon Race and the design of the balloon that
made the first round-the-world flight.
He has other interests including being a supporter
of the Children’s Hospice South West and a convenor of the Bath
Royal Literary and Scientific Institution. He is honorary president
of the City of Bristol Pipes and Drums and Patron of the Institute
of Mechanical Engineers, the 2494th Squadron, Air Training Corps and
the Two Bridges Trust.
He has received many awards for aeronautical
achievement including the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals of the
Royal Aero Club, the Montgolfier Diploma of the Federation
Aeronautique Internationale, the Harmon Trophy (presented in the
White House, USA), the Charles Dollfus Medal at the Aero Club de
France, the Wilbur & Orville Wright Gold Medal of the Royal
Aeronautical Society, the Prince Philip Designer’s Prize and the
Medal of the Lord Mayor of Bristol. He was made a Royal Designer for
Industry in 2004 and Freeman of the City of Bristol in 2007. Cameron
Balloons has received the Queen’s Award for Export.