Dr. Bertand Piccard, (March 1, 1958, Switzerland - ) is the son of legendary adventurer/scientist Jacques Piccard
, and grandson of the equally legendary adventurer/scientist Auguste Piccard
Born into such a celebrated family of adventurers, Bertrand got interested in various forms of flying at a young age. When he was sixteen, he started hang-gliding, and became European aerobatics champion. Later he piloted ultralight planes and hot-air balloons.
In 1992 Piccard and co-pilot Wim Verstraeten crossed the Atlantic Ocean, winning the Chrysler Transatlantic Challenge. Next, they set their minds on circumnavigating the world in a balloon; an achievement that no one had ever accomplished. The pair made two unsuccesful attempts to circumnavigate the world. The Orbiter 1 stayed aloft for only 6 hours (1997), and the Orbiter 2 managed to break an endurance record of nine days, 17 hours before it was forced to land in Myanmar, Burma.
In a third attempt teaming up with Brian Jones, Piccard finally achieved his goal. The Breitling Orbiter 3 was launched from Chateau d'Oex, Switzerland on March 1, 1999 and flew for 19 days, 21 hours and 55 minutes. After circumnavigating the world, the crew landed the balloon safely in Egypt, close to the great pyramid of Giza; a flight of 29,000 miles.