What can you say about this man? David Hempleman-Adams’achievements in mountaineering, polar exploration and aviation are unequalled. Even in ballooning there’s no-one else comparable. In 1998, with only 30 hours of flying experience, David flew across the Andes, rising to more than 32,000ft. In 2000 he became the only pilot to fly a balloon to the North Pole. Then in 2003 he became the first person to fly a balloon solo with an open wicker basket across the Atlantic, battling against cold, sleep deprivation, the shock of Concorde’s sonic boom severely jilting the basket and snow and hail storms. The following year, he flew the same balloon to a world record height of 41,198 feet, breathing through an oxygen mask and bundled up against temperatures as low as minus 75 degrees. In 2007, David got a bit bored and decided to fly the smallest gas balloon across the Atlantic. He broke five records and told The Sunday Times, “If you see me in a balloon basket floating over the Atlantic you have my permission to shoot me!”. The following year David, with Jonathan Mason, won the prestigious Gordon Bennett Balloon race, the first British team to do so in the event’s 102 year history. And in 2011 they won the America’s Challenge Balloon Race. In all he has set 46 FAI World Aviation Records, holds 80 honours and awards, has done 30 polar expeditions and has been to the Poles 16 times. David is the only aviator since the early 1900s to be presented with the ‘First Aero Club Cup’. He was presented this on behalf of the RAeC by HRH Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace. He has been instrumental in raising tens of thousands of pounds for the RAeC Trust and the RAeC.
Royal Aero Club