Danger in the Jet Stream


Episode Info

In 1997, three teams try to accomplish one of the last great aeronautical feats: to fly non-stop around the world in a balloon. This tests not only the scientific ingenuity of each team, but also the limits of each team member. The balloon being flown by Virgin airlines and entertainment chairman Richard Branson is bigger and heavier than any balloon ever flown. The Swiss team flies a super-lightweight gondola made of carbon fiber, using an untested fueling system of kerosene stored in bags rather than heavy tanks filled with propane, as well as an oxygen system similar to that found on the space shuttle. The final balloon is owned by Chicago businessman Steve Fossett. He flies in an unpressurized gondola, piloting the balloon by himself. The show includes a history of balloons and footage of this real battle of man, balloon, and nature.