Balloon in Flight
The Smithsonian’s National Air and
Space Museum, Udvar Hazy Center.
Dr. Tom D. Crouch, Senior Curator, Aeronautics,
Smithsonian receiving historic cabin from Nott.
LONDON SCIENCE MUSEUM
Nott designed and built the first hot air balloon ever to have a pressure cabin and piloted it to increase the world altitude record by ten thousand feet! The cabin was displayed by the London Science Museum in their principal building in South Kensington, London, for seventeen years. The Museum is the most important museum in Britain that might include Nott's work in its collection, and moreover one of the most important museums in the world.
The Cabin in Flight
The Record Assent
SPACE CENTER HOUSTON – OFFICIAL NASA VISITOR CENTER AND MUSEUM
The record set with this cabin stood for several years. As soon as it was broken, Nott immediately set out to win it back. He succeeded in just thirteen months, designing and building the cabin shown below. This cabin has been shown in several locations, and was included in a major special exhibition at “Space Center Houston” in 1996. Space Center Houston is the official visitors' center of The National Air and Space Administration’s Johnson Space Center, one of NASA’s most important sites. The exhibition, which included this cabin, was entitled "Pushing the Envelope - Ballooning To The Edge of Space." The premise of the show was that high altitude manned balloon flights were one of the crucial stepping stones on the way to space flight, the Moon, and one day the stars. Other than a standard modern sport hot air balloon with wicker basket, Nott’s cabin was the only item later than about 1960 included in the show. Nott gave the opening speech for the exhibition.
Into the Vast Colorado Sky
Display at Space Center Houston. Note the central position in the exhibition and right, rear, the NASA logo and Space Shuttle replica.
MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY NEW YORK CITY
One of Nott’s cabins was displayed for several months in the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda of the New York Museum of Natural History. The Rotunda is immediately inside the main entrance, the most prominent possible location, in one of the most important museums in the world. Nott was interviewed live on CBS “Good Morning America” from the Museum. This picture from “Insight” shows Nott and the cabin in the Rotunda.
Photo Courtesy “Insight” Magazine
Courtesy British Balloon Museum and Library
BRITISH BALLOON MUSEUM AND LIBRARY
For at least the last twenty years, items large and small from many stages of Nott’s career have been in the collection of the British Balloon Museum and Library.
OFFICIAL NAZCA MUSEUM
The gondola of the 2002 “Prehistoric Nazca Balloon” is currently in the official museum of the National Cultural Institute of Peru [Instituto Nacional de Cultura] in Nazca.
ROYAL AIR FORCE MUSEUM, LONDON, ENGLAND "MILESTONE'S OF FLIGHT"
The most recent major museum to include Nott’s work is the Royal Air Force Museum, London. To mark the hundredth anniversary of the Wright Brothers flight, the Museum opened an entire new building, the “Milestones of Flight Gallery”. In the words of the museum curators “this carefully chosen exhibition … covers the great achievements in the first 100 years of flight”. It includes a mere four hundred references of the entire history of aerospace, from the Wright Brothers to the Moon Landing and beyond. Nott’s is the only balloon chosen except those from the very early twentieth century. The balloon chosen is the superpressure Pumpkin balloon designed and flown by Nott. Nott was the first person ever to fly in a pumpkin balloon. The Ultra Long Distance Balloon currently being developed by NASA uses the pumpkin concept.
H.R.H. Prince Philip opening the Milestones Exhibit
Detail of Nott's Milestone showing his Pumpkin Balloon