Prestigious Honor a Natural Fit for the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum
Albuquerque, NM - Commission Aerostatique Internationale (CIA) has announced that the renowned International Hall of Fame will relocate to the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum
Founded in 1995 and originally housed in the Soukup & Thomas Museum in South Dakota, USA, this Hall of Fame recognizes the most outstanding and famous aeronauts, balloonists and airship personnel in the history of the sport.
“This is such an honor for the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum, as well as for the city Albuquerque. “ said Cultural Services Director Betty Rivera. “This will bring even more prestige to the world's finest and largest balloon museum and balloon fiesta.”
In addition to announcing a permanent home for the International Hall of Fame, the CIA also announced the 2011 inductees. This year’s posthumous inductees will include Ron Clark (United States of America – New Mexico), Larry Newman (United States of America - Arizona) and Rocky Aoki (Japan). The living inductee is Olivier Roux de Villas (France).
Ron Clark was a longtime New Mexico resident and a member of the four-man crew that made the first balloon crossing of the Pacific Ocean in 1981. Clark and his wife Shirley Clark were instrumental in establishing the Balloon Museum. Clark passed in September of 2010.
Larry Newman was a co-inventor of the ultra-light airplane and a pilot on the first balloon flight across the Pacific Ocean in 1981 and also flew with Maxie Anderson and Ben Abruzzo in 1978 when Double Eagle II successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean. Newman passed in December of 2010.
Rocky Aoki founder of famous restaurant Benihana, crossed the Pacific Ocean in a helium balloon with the Double Eagle V crew on a record setting flight from Japan to California in 1981. After the failed voyage, he remained an avid hot air balloonist flying and racing Benihana Balloons at many festivals. Aoki passed in 2008.
Olivier Roux de Villas founded the French Aeronautical Federation. Roux de Villas participated in international ballooning competitions for over 32 years, including many first, second and third place honors in several World Championship Competitions. Roux de Villas possess a large collection of ballooning artifacts that he has donated to the Balloon Museum in Albuquerque. Roux de Villas currently lives outside of Paris.
Other past notable inductees include: Sid Cutter (Fiesta co-Founder), Don Cameron (UK record setter, designer, manufacturer), Jacques W. Soukup (UK & USA) Special shape pioneer, collector, Roziere record setter, Joe Kittinger (US), Bertrand Piccard (Switzerland) & Brian Jones (UK), first to fly around the world, and Don Piccard (pioneer, designer). Clark, Newman, and Aoki join posthumous inductees Maxie L Anderson & Ben Abruzzo (US), Ed Yost (father of modern hot air balloon), The Montgolfiere brothers (inventors of Balloons), Count Von Zepplin (Airship founder), Malcolm Forbes (Adventurer), and Steve Fossett (US, and first to fly solo around the world).