On October 23, 1934, American adventurer Jeanette Piccard set an altitude record for female balloonists when she ascended 57,579 feet. On July 29, 1974, Jeannette Piccard became one of the Philadelphia Eleven, women who were irregularly ordained priests in the Episcopal Church.
Pilot for record hot air balloon flight. Husband Jacque was credited with record height. She was actual pilot. Also first woman to be ordained a priest in the Episcopal church.
~Ben Pederson, MN
Prof. Piccard invented the plastic balloon and created a complete industry which has now culminated in the pre-astronaut space research flights, around-the-world balloon flights and the modern sport of hot air ballooning. The story starts with the first plastic balloon flight from Memorial Stadium with Bob Gilruth, student who later directed Project Mercury and credits the balloon experience's influence, touches on the Flight of the Pleiades from Rochester in 1937, Project Helios at General Mills in the 1940s and even the St. Paul Winter Carnival world's first hot air balloon race in 1963! The experiments at the University Aeronautical Department and the research at General Mills under Navy ONR contracts have had a major influence on Minnesota and the world as a whole. There are numerous still and movie films available. There are also artifacts still in existence that could be gotten for an exhibit.
~Don Piccard, Minneapolis, MN