Local Balloonist and Aviator Killed in Ballooning Accident
Julian Nott (Photo: Fritz Olenberger)
By edhat staff
Local balloonist and world-record aviator Julian Nott has died after a ballooning accident in San Diego County.
Nott, a British native who settled in Santa Barbara, was known as one of the founders of the modern ballooning movement. He's credited for changing the course of balloon history with the development of an entirely new system in which conventional ballast is replaced with cryogenic helium.
He has broken 79 World Ballooning Records and 96 British Records including exceeding 55,000 feet in a hot air balloon. Nott also pioneered the use of hybrid energy for lift, where solar power is a significant heat source, and in 1981 he crossed the English Channel.
Nott died in a hospital Tuesday after suffering serious injuries “from an extraordinary and unforeseeable accident” involving an experimental balloon in the Warner Springs area east of the Cleveland National Forest. The aviator’s death was announced Wednesday on his website.
Nott had successfully flown and landed when there was a malfunction with his basket and he suffered multiple head injuries, family members said. Nott had invented the experimental balloon, which used cryogenic helium and was meant to explore high altitude technology.
The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum has described Julian as “a central figure in the expansion of ballooning as an organizer, pilot, and most of all as arguably the leading figure to apply modern science to manned balloon design.
”He is survived by his partner of 30 years, Santa Barbara-based artist Anne Luther, his brother Robert Nott, and nieces Elizabeth Salmon and Katherine Nott survive Julian. Interment will be in the Nott Family Plot in England.
In lieu of flowers, Julian’s wishes were for donations to his favorite charity, SEE International, www.seeintl.org.