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Wednesday, 25 September, 2002, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
Atlantic balloon flight abandoned
David Hempleman-Adams before take-off
Mr Hempleman-Adams will land in the United States
British explorer David Hempleman-Adams has been forced to call off his attempt to cross the Atlantic in a balloon with just a wicker basket beneath.

He is believed to have landed at Andover, near Storrs, Connecticut, after his flight in the Chase de Vere Atlantic Challenger was aborted following a failure in the auto-pilot mechanism.

If he were to continue out across the ocean without any auto-pilot system, he would have to stay awake for the entire six-day trip.

The 45-year-old adventurer from Wiltshire was aiming to beat five records on the flight including the solo world distance record of 5,340km (3,337.5 miles) for the helium and hot-air balloon type

The balloon prepares for take-off
One of the balloon's burners also had problems
Flight Director Dr. Dave Owen said from the control centre in Bath: "We made the decision, after talking it over with David, to bring him down because we don't want to take any risks.

"One of the reasons we chose to launch from Pittsburgh was so the flight path would take the balloon over land for two days enabling a safe landing in the event of any technical problems".

The flight nearly came to an end on take-off when the balloon came within 10 ft of crashing at Allegheny county airport on Tuesday.

Then, early on Wednesday, flight controllers revealed one of the balloon's burners wasn't functioning properly but they said it was "a routine problem".

'Technical hitch'

Chase de Vere, the sponsors of the flight, said they believed Mr Hempleman-Adams would make further attempts at the records.

Marketing Director David Newman said: "While this is disappointing it is not unusual for balloons to have technical hitches.

"We are proud of our investment in David Hempleman-Adams and we admire his professionalism.

"We also know from past experience that he perseveres at whatever he does.

"It took him three attempts to walk to the North Pole before he finally succeeded and we know that he will have the same attitude with this record attempt."


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See also:

25 Sep 02 | England
24 Sep 02 | England
03 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
01 Jun 00 | Europe
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