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Brian Jones,

OBE Extreme Aviator, Adventurer

Brian Jones learned to fly a glider at the age of sixteen which began a lifetime's passion for flight.  Following full time education, he served 13 years in the Royal Air Force as aircrew on the Hercules aircraft and Puma helicopter, opting for a career change in 1977 to sales and training in the pharmaceutical industry.

Brian discovered a new dimension to his passion for flight in 1986 when he was introduced to ballooning.  He has logged in excess of 5,000 flying hours - his favorite type of flying is Alpine ballooning and he has flown extensively in Switzerland, Austria and Italy.  He produced specialist pilot training courses for high altitude and Alpine flying in 1995, and has trained and examined pilots in many countries throughout the world. In 1997 he was invited to assist in the organization of the Breitling Orbiter 2 around the world project and to advise on the pilot's survival training.  He was one of two operations directors in the Communications and Control Centre at Geneva airport whilst the Orbiter 2 was in flight.

In February 1998 Brian was asked to project manage the design, production and integration of a new balloon capsule with redesigned life-support and flight systems for the Breitling Orbiter 3.  He was also responsible for the pilot technical and flight training for these new systems.  He was then selected as operating pilot in November 1998.

He landed the Breitling Orbiter 3 in Egypt on 21st March 1999, with Bertrand Piccard, having flown for almost 20 days and achieved the first non-stop flight around the world by balloon.  During this flight seven world records were set for duration, distance, altitude and speed.  The flight remains the longest in terms of both duration and distance flown in the history of aviation.

Following their flight, Bertrand and Brian co-authored their story in a book entitled The Greatest Adventure which became an international best-seller.  They also founded the Winds of Hope charitable foundation using the million dollar prize for their achievement, to support and raise awareness of the plight of the world's children suffering in unreported or forgotten circumstances.

In May 2000 Brian served as Flight Director & team leader as part of the first successful balloon flight across the Arctic Ocean to the North Pole, piloted by British polar explorer David Hempleman-Adams.

In September 2003 Brian was the Mission Control Director for the QinetiQ1 project: an attempt to fly a balloon to 132,000 ft in order to gain the NASA held absolute altitude record set during the Mercury space missions.

Brian is currently working on a project with Bertrand called Solar Impulse. They aim to design and build a solar-powered aircraft with which they hope to re-enact some of the great historic flights of the last century, culminating in a flight around the world - pollution-free and using no fuel other than the energy of the sun.

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