World Ballooners Continue Tour For Charity
The historic flight that on March 20, 1999, made Brian Jones and Bertrand Piccard the first to fly around the world nonstop in a balloon also moved the men to action. "We simply could not accept the rewards and adulation which came with success without revisiting the perverse inequality that allow us to realize a dream whilst unwittingly overflying children dying needlessly," Jones told the BBC. As a result, the men set up the Winds of Hope charity with the $1 million prize money they were awarded for making the successful record-setting flight. Jones will travel next to Australia as part of a world tour, according to the BBC, to fly a replica balloon and raise money for the charity. Winds of Hope currently is funding prevention of the gangrene-like disease Noma, which kills roughly 80,000 of the 100,000 (mostly children) who contract it each year. The first country to benefit from a Winds of Hope prevention program has seen an apparent decline of 90 percent, according to Jones.
The original flight set seven world records. Jones and Piccard have continued their aeronautical innovation, too. The men in 2006 launched the Solar Impulse project, which is led by Piccard and Andre Borschberg, and intends to build and fly an aircraft around the world using only solar energy.