The Gordon Bennett Balloon Race trophy is headed for Switzerland. The Jura, a helium balloon piloted by Swiss flyer Karl Spenger and his son-in-law Roland Schuler, landed on an Indian reservation in Ashland, Mont., Monday afternoon for the winning distance of 970 miles. The annual race, which starts in Palm Springs, is won by the balloon that flies the farthest from the desert town.
Though they could have flown longer, Spenger said, he decided to land the balloon because he and Schuler had planned to fly by way of Kansas--and had maps for that course--but the wind blew the Jura north.
The Ben Abruzzo award, named in honor of the balloonmeister killed in a ballooning accident in 1985, went to the Rosie O'Grady, piloted by Joe Kittinger and Sherry Reed, who landed in Evanston, Wyo., Monday morning. The award is given to the balloonists (other than the winners) who stay airborne the longest.