The Bennett Cup is the world’s oldest and most prestigious aviation event. This year, the Poles have been the winners!
Poland celebrates the centenary of regaining independence - this is also when the balloon crew comprised of Mateusz Rękas and Jacek Bogdański with the POL-2 number won the biggest balloon trophy in the world in a great style. They covered the distance of over 1145 km whilst travelling in the air.
Both pilots they will be hosted at the Light Aviation Expo in Targi Kielce. The pilots have represented Poland on numerous occasions: Mateusz Rękas (Mościcki Baloon Club) is now the silver medalist of the Polish Hot Air Balloon Championships. Jacek Bogdański (Kujawski Aero Club) it the many-year member of the balloon team. In the aviation milieus he has been known for balloon travels all over the world. Among his achievements there is the hot-air balloon travel over the Alps, expeditions in Tunisia, Thailand and Iran and many other. http://www.targikielce.pl/
The Gordon Bennett Cup is organised by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) the Polish Aero Club is a member of. The international free balloon competition was organised for the first time by the American - James Gordon Bennett in 1906 in Paris.
Until today the race’s objective has not changed - contestants have to cover the furthest distance from the start. From the beginning, it has been the challenge cup. The Poles were the first trophy winners in 1933. The success was accomplished by Franciszek Hynek and Zbigniew Burzyński. Until 1935, the Poles had won the competition three times. Thanks to this, in 1935 the cup became the property of the Polish Aero Club. Since then the competition has been held in the country of the winning crew. After the the First World War break the competition resumed and was organised on yearly basis until the outbreak of World War II.
The last interwar competition was held in Liege, Belgium, in 1938. Poles scored the best result - it was owed to the Antoni Janusz and Franciszek Janik team. Their flight lasted 37 hours and 47 min They landed in Bulgaria’s Troyan (128 km off Sofia). Their result is 1692 km from the start line. This result has been registered as the Polish record.
The Polish pilots’ victory resulted in the decision that Poland was to organise the cup in 1939. The competition was to take place on September 3 in Lviv. The outbreak of the war, however made it impossible to hold the contest. After the war, the competition was resumed as late a 1983 in Paris. Poles were once again the winners of the Cup. Stefan Makné and Ireneusz Cieślak flew the furthest.