Eiloart & Mudie Small World
The Atlantic Ocean was for many years the greatest challenge in ballooning history. A group of four British balloonists, Colin Mudie, his wife Rosemary, Bushy Eiloart and his son Tim, planned to take on the Atlantic crossing, using their experience as sailors. They decided to take an east to west route, leaving from Tenerife heading towards a central location on the east cost of the United States.
The crew, who designed the ballon and planned the whole voyage consisted of Arnold "Bushy" Eiloart (Commander), his son Tim (Radioman), Colin Mudie (Navigator), and his wife Rosemary Mudie (Photographer). They had a gondola (basket) specifically built for the journey which was made from reinforced polystyrene and measured 15ft x 8ft. The gondola was attached to the envelope with quick release cables for ease in the case of an emergency. A special feature of the design is that the basket is designed as a sailing boat, to be used if the party were to be forced to ditch in the sea. The crew had designed, constructed and learnt to fly the balloon with little or no assistance as England at this time did not have even one qualified balloon examiner.
The attempted crossing of the Atlantic from Tenerife to Barbados in the hydrogen balloon "Small World" in December 1958 was filmed. The film opens with scenes of testing the balloon prior to the actual attempt, with the balloon being inflated at Cardington, outside airship hangars. Wing Commander Ralph Booth, captain of the R-100 airship supervises the testing, and is also involved in heading the launching crew.
The balloon was launched from Tenerife, in the south of the island, at 1 o'clock in the morning of 12th December 1958, after being frustrated and delayed by high winds and bad weather. There are various scenes of the take off, and activities in the basket. They fly the balloon for 94 hours anf 1200 nautical miles, before being forced to ditch in the sea through problems with maintaining altitude in a ferocious storm and having to sail the rest of the way to Barbados, which took them about 3 weeks. There are numerous scenes on the small "boat" with rationing, sailing and using instruments such as a chronometer. They eventually land in Barbados (another 1,450 miles) on 5 January 1959, towed in by a fishing boat which charged them 50 dollars. A large crowd greet them, with people running along the beach, as the populace had been alerted to their impending arrival by reporters and local radio.
The Small World broke all existing balloon duration records.