A New Home
The Breitling Orbiter 3 capsule now resides on permanent display in the National Air & Space Museum in Washington DC. As one can see in the banner photo, it shares space with such famous aircraft as the Spirit of St Louis, Spaceship1, the X1 and the command capsule of Apollo 11, the first moon landing mission.
This is where Bertrand and I were awarded the Budweiser Cup and the $1million prize at a grand and memorable ceremony.See how the money was used.
A different kind of life?
Things got a little hectic following the flight, demands on Bertrand and I were immense and the media of course had gone crazy. So this was celebrity - some newspapers publishing flattering and exagerated accounts of our achievement, some writing more accurate and agreeable stories and of course some trying to dig up any piece of dirt to discredit those who a week before they had hailed as conquering heroes. Potential agents were quite literally knocking at my door.
Now don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining. The celebrity thing was terrific - who wouldn't enjoy first class air travel, limousines, wonderful hotels and the opportunity to meet some amazing people. Strange though, to be treated as an entrirely different person than four weeks previous, when I'm not sure that I had actually changed at all. I remember getting home for the first time following the round the world flight on a Thursday, with the Explorers Club in New York imploring us to attend an award banquet that Saturday evening. The only way to get there in time was to fly Concorde, and that is exactly what we did courtesy of British Airways to find ourselves in the famed Explorers Club seated next to John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth. Furthermore I don't suppose there are many people who have been asked to autograph the front cover of a National Geographic magazine by the President of the United States!
It doesn't last long though, and particularly as I had shunned the offer of agent representation, my life soon returned to normal and I could continue pretty much as I had before. Bertrand had been brought up in a famous home with his grandfather and father achieving greatness in the field of scientific exploration and was adept at handling the media spotlight. I wasn't so comfortable with it, there was certainly nothing wrong with my life before becoming famous, so why change it?
There are the occasional treats of course, meeting some extraordinary people and the opportunity to do some amazing things in equally amazing places. I've always enjoyed public speaking and being a team player so I am by no means reclusive, just a little reserved perhaps. My favourite things now are travelling to far flung places to give my talks, my flying of course, my friends, family and my home. So no, not a different kind of life - the important things never change.