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Great balloon challenge Monday, 22 March, 1999, 19:16 GMT
News Online users cheer record balloonists
Breitling crew
The pilots of the Breitling Orbiter 3 balloon have earned their places in the history books as the first to circumnavigate the world.

Soon after the two-man crew crossed the finish line and news of their feat was published messages of congratulations started to flood in to BBC News Online.

Readers from all over the world have responded to their acheivement in a myriad ways ranging from the ecstatic to the sceptical. Below are a selection.


What a risky and successful event. I admire their courage.
Wudus Sisay, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Even Branson has to 'Keep up with the Jones''. Give Bertrand and Brian an Oscar each for best all-round performance.
Tony Jones, Harrow, England

Spectacular achievement- My science students loved following you guys!
Bob Riemer, Amenia , NY, USA

Congratulations Bertrand, Brian, and your crew! What a great accomplishment! It must have been fantastic to see the earth every day from your balloon!
Lynda, South Dakota, USA

I wish more of the people of the world had the opportunites that these two men had. It is great when people can live there dreams. My congratulations to both of them.
Bill Weber, Wilton, WI, USA

I think it is an activity only, it has no scientific meaning at all, it shouldn't acquire so much attention.
Li Chengming, Hong Kong

Well done!
Marcus Day, Germany

A timely proof of what mankind working in unison can achieve. A lesson for all of us!
Anthony Richmond, Maine, USA

It has been a big surprise with lot of excitement. if I had been in their shoes, I wouldn't have had so much courage.
Bruno, Edinburgh

The spirit of exploration and discovery lives!
Tony Wiggins, Shaker Heights, Ohio, USA

Hats off to the heroes and congratulations. Also remember those who couldn't quite make it, but never gave up nonetheless.
S.Gobinathan, Coral Springs, FL, USA

After all the planning, cost, sponsorships, blood and guts, it was all worth the trip. Well done!
Mike Sherwin, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

Evidently, the Force was with them! And it's a great achievement, mentally and technologically. Perhaps a first step into an era of environment-friendly travelling? Airships are also coming along nicely.
Michiel Stapel, Utrecht, the Netherlands

Imagine how amazed and delighted the Montgolfier brothers would have been...
China King, Minneapolis, USA

Branson's gutted. Money can't buy you everything now can it?
Pete Edwards, Cambridge, England

One of man's enduring dreams has been achieved and rekindles the fire of adventure in those souls who seek to expand the boundaries human experience.
Harry Lee, Brooklyn, NY, USA

So a group of rich men have established a pointless record! It costs, what, 7 cents to treat a kid for deadly diarrhoea, and yet millions of dollars have been spent to no useful purpose over the past few years to fly over the very parts of the world where premature death reigns. And the boys who went to Oxbridge with the flyers hoot and holler as if something has been achieved.
Paul Halsall, UK/USA

Huge congratulations to the whole team!! Having worked in the Flight Lab Interactive Gallery at the Science Museum for the past eight years, I know how much magic the whole prospect of flight has, not just for young children, but for dreamers of every age. An adventure such as this will only serve to reinforce the image of flight as exciting, hair-raising and wild good fun!
Jin Nirwal, London, UK

It is great. I am sure Breitling will tell us how great in their advertising over the next decade.
Dave Barnes, Denver, Colorado, US

Wright, Bleriot, Lindberg, Kingsford Smith/Ulm, Armstrong/Aldrin, Rutan/Yaeger, Jones/Picard. To Both of You, Brilliant Effort - Well Deserved.
Paul Lucas, Australia

Congratulations to the Breitling team! Magnificent achievement just before the end of 2000! It is a tribute to human ingenuity, thinking, planning and courage. Good wishes and happy landing.
Khalil Khaji, Manama, Bahrain

It's a superb performance by two adventurous pilots. They couldn't have achieved this without luck or grace from the almighty.
P. Thangarajah, Burbank, USA

Couldn't any of that gas be spared for a cuppa' on the way? Or did you forget the teabags?
Gordon Stewart, Hunndalen, Norway

Congratulations my dear brothers. You must have seen the oneness of humanity with your naked eyes. Tell the world of the amazing experience you had in the sky!
Saleem Naduthodi, Abu Dhabi

Great! Southern hemisphere next?
Hidemaro, Japan

Thanks to Julius Verne for the inspiration.
Alberto E. Vidal, Washington DC, USA

Congratulations! What a perfect start for a political career, fame and fortune from a good supply of hot air!
Kevin, Miranda, Ca. U.S.A.

Don't these people have better things to do?
Sam, USA

Fantastic achievement, congratulations to you both, and all your team. Well done!
Steve Groszewski, London, UK

Well done to the two - Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones - they were privileged to have a wonderful and efficient team.
Mohamed Elaida, Malta

With all the problems we face with the United States and keeping our small banana farmers in business, it is good to see our friends from Europe can still dominate the world in some respects. Congratulations to our true friends, the Europeans!
John Townsend, Kingstown, St.Vincent and the Grenadines

Congratulations on your accomplishment. In these times of political strife and other world problems it is nice to see the accomplishments of an international effort such as yours. Great job!!!
Jim Brobin, Ely, MN USA

A brilliant European achievement. It shows that Europeans working together can conquer mountains.
Glen Jones, Varteg, Gwent, U.K.

Joining with you in spirit, and enjoying a wonderful cup of tea to celebrate. Congratulations!!
Sheila Walker, Dublin, USA

Greetings from the Silicon Valley! We are all extremely enthused here at the accomplishment of these brave and resilient pioneers. My personal hope is that this accomplishment will renew interest in lighter-than-air craft. Nobody's going to fly a helicopter non-stop around the world any time soon...
Bill Moffitt, San Jose, USA

Congratulations to you both for completing this dire task. I am glad you orbited the earth with God in close perspective.
Basil BS Nyama, Stavanger, Norway

Congratulations on a historic achievement, and thank you for giving the world the chance to share the thrill of it all via the Internet.
Hans Marsen, Atwater, California, USA

Your accomplishment is an inspiration to all. The reality of accomplishment has a solid foundation in the actions of inspired people working in concert to accomplish the impossible. The world needs more teams like yours. I have lived and sailed in many parts of the world. You have now inspired me to give flying a go.

Well done to them from the ThrustSSC Supersonic World Land Speed Record Team. I was glad to see a Briton on board doing what we're good at - beating the world!
Jeremy Davey, Steeple Aston, England

I suppose somebody had better try the pole to pole route next. What an amazing achievement. I hope we get to see the intrepid explorers down here before too long.
Justin Ridley, Auckland, New Zealand

A truly remarkable achievement, I am sure Montgolfier is beaming down. Congratulations guys. Now can it be done in ...say 18 days.
David Hill, Encinitas, California

Congratulations to all who helped to continue this country's historical record of achievement in aviation.
Terry, Merseyside, UK

I'm really glad that the guys are safe and well having accomplished the stuff that others can only dream of. What feats are there left to do in the world? I hope the book of their experiences will be published very soon.
Richard Shipton, Billericay, England

Oh that mankind would concentrate on such achievements rather than the stupidity of finding ways to divide ourselves and celebrating our differences with violence. Well done for human potential, hardwork, courage, planning, teamwork, and perseverance, gentlemen!
Peter W. Greenough, New York, USA

Britain and Switzerland at its best. Congratulations.
Simon Whatling, Doha,Qatar

Congratulations on your courage and perseverance. The century of flight has been rounded off in a truly fitting way in its last few months. Great timing for the history books!
Trevor Griffiths, High Wycombe UK

Their names will be associated forever with earlier flight pioneers, Montgolfier, the Wright brothers, Bleriot.
Philippe Roy, Erskine, Scotland

I am thrilled to have learned they made it. Above all I am happy this history was made over Africa.
Hiskiel Abbay, Boston, USA

It is a magnificent achievement in the history of air balloon navigation. I am celebrating with them for I have been following the journey from the beginning.
Chewe James, Kitwe, Zambia

The flight across the globe in a balloon is a formidable technical challenge, and these two men have shown the world that patience and determination can help achieve the most difficult of all challenges! This to me represents an outstanding example to appeal to every single person in this world to pursue the ultimate goal of global peace.
Shekar Gopalan, Redmond, USA

Congratulations! Where do you want to go Tomorrow?
Alan Fergusson, Bristol, UK

Long live the spirit of adventure. Great to hear some really good international news at last. Thank you to all the teams who kept this great challenge alive and very well done the Breitling Team.
Al Stuart, Naples, Italy

I am not surprised at all. This could have been done much earlier than March 1999.The whole set of attempts have been an underachievement by technology.
Yilkal, Ethiopia

Enjoy your pints! You both deserve them. Felicitations les gars! Vous avez finalement reussis le fameux tour. Arrosez bien la victoire! Vous le meritez.
Colin Landry, Montreal, Canada

See also:

20 Mar 99 | Great balloon challenge
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