Trans-Atlantic balloon flight to take off from Presque Isle Friday night

4 weeks ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – An international team will attempt to launch the first trans-Atlantic flight in a hydrogen gas balloon from Presque Isle Friday night.

The Torabhaig Atlantic Explorer flight is scheduled to take off from property owned by local photographer Paul Cyr around 10 p.m., according to a Facebook post from Cyr.

The group planned to launch last September but weather delayed their flight.

Torabhaig consists of balloonists Sir David Hempleman-Adams, 66, of England; and Bert Padelt, 62, of Pennsylvania; and Swiss scientist Frederick Paulson, 72. The flight gets its name from the Torabhaig (pronounced TOR-a-vague) Distillery of Skye in Scotland, which Paulson’s daughter owns, which is sponsoring the flight.

Once they take off, the group plans to fly over Newfoundland, Canada, across the Atlantic Ocean and then over Ireland and Scotland before reaching continental Europe, according to their Torabhaig Atlantic Explorer website. They expect the trip to take at least four or five days. 

While in flight, they plan to look for and collect new microbes that could benefit medicine, agriculture and other sciences.

Cyr said on Facebook that folks wishing to view the launch should go to his property on the east side of State Street in Presque Isle. A map contained within his post shows a blue square around a field where people should park, not far from the launch area.