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Bertrand Piccard

Dr. Bertrand Piccard (born 1 March 1958) is a Swiss psychiatrist and balloonist.

Born in Lausanne, Vaud canton, Bertrand Piccard, along with Brian Jones, was the first to complete a non-stop balloon flight around the globe. His grandfather Auguste Piccard and his father, Jacques Piccard, were notable inventors and also balloonists.



Growing up in a ballooning and undersea-exploring family, Bertrand was always fascinated with flight. As a child, he was taken to the launch of several space flights from Cape Canaveral. He became a hang-glider pilot and developed an interest in ultra-light motorized flight, as well as the gas balloons his grandfather had set records in.

Bertrand Piccard received a degree from the University of Lausanne.

He is a lecturer and supervisor at the Swiss Society for Medical Hypnosis.

On 1 March 1999 Piccard and Brian Jones set off in the balloon Breitling Orbiter 3 from Château d'Oex in Switzerland on the first non-stop balloon circumnavigation around the globe. They landed in Egypt after a 45,755 kilometre flight lasting 19 days, 21 hours and 47 minutes. In recognition of this accomplishment, he received awards including the Harmon Trophy, the FAI Gold Air Medal and the Charles Green Salver.

In 2004, he co-announced a project, in cooperation with the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), for a solar-powered, long-range, one-seated glider named Solar Impulse. The project is dubbed "a great human adventure". Piccard plans to begin construction in 2007, and conduct short test flights in 2008. He has financial and technical backing from several European firms, so it looks as if the Solar Impulse will be a European craft, not a Swiss one, despite scientific support from the EPFL. The plan is to circumnavigate the globe with several pilots in relay, flying above cloud cover during the day and at lower altitude at night sometime in 2012.

He is known for his flamboyant declarations, using expressions such as "the Invisible Hand" (la Main Invisible):

  • "I went in search of new ideas blowing in the wind, to try and live better on Earth in my roles as doctor and human being."
  • "Consciousness is perceiving one's soul."
  • "Welcome to those who believe in the power of dreams and who would like to join me in my exploration of life."
Poster advertising a Solar Impulse-related event at the EPFL (Lausanne).

The Piccard Family


These books by Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones are with the same content from different publishers.
  • “The Greatest Adventure” (Headline, London) 1999 [ISBN 0-7472-7128-3] or “Around the world in 20 Days” (same content published by Wiley, New York) 1999 [ISBN 0-471-37820-8]
  • Bertrand Piccard's CV

External links



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