The longest flight in history
30 days without any fuel or stop
Zeph Endless Flight is a brand new kind of balloon: the first manned aircraft designed to fly continuously. By exclusively using solar energy, Zeph Endless Flight leaves no trace in the atmosphere and opens the way for new data collection in many scientific fields. In 2019, Zeph Endless Flight will conduct the longest flight in history: carried by winds, two pilots will fly nonstop for 30 days in an extraordinary human adventure.
With its partners, Zeph Endless Flight is also preparing the future with totally new journeys : flying at 25km in the stratosphere, at the edge of space !
Throughout this unique challenge, each decision will be the result of close collaboration between the ground crew, the weather and Air Traffic Control. Nothing will be left to chance in attaining a major goal : the longest manned flight ever to have transpired..
Innovation rules this challenge. We developed Zeph Endless Flight by taking a fresh look at the balloon concept.
The aircraft can fly endlessely without leaving any footprint and its unique flight profile makes previously impossible measurements accessible. The flight will be made in collaboration with atmosphere specialists, climate experts, along with doctors and equipment manufacturers interested in tests achievable during the flight.
Zeph Endless Flight is an associative adventure open to everybody: aviation enthusiasts, sustainable development actors, students, everyone can follow the adventure through the means set up and get involved in the challenge.
By following us on social networks, becoming a member of the association or a project partner, you can take part in the preparation and be immersed in the heart of the expedition.
The longest balloon flight to date, all categories combined, was achieved with fuel : that was the limiting factor. The duration of the world record is 19 days 21 hours 47 minutes, it was set in 1999 by Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones.
The innovation brought by Zeph Endless Flight will enable an even longer flight without using a single drop of fossil fuel. The only limiting factor is the food supply on board. This is a real technical and ecological leap.
Beyond the sheer feat, this flight demonstrates a new way of surpassing perceived limits by caring for the environment and adapting to it, not by exploiting and exhausting natural resources.
Imagine: hanging in a basket at 7,000 meters, in darkness, -31°F outside, you breathe through an oxygen mask. You are crossing an air corridor; radio communication with air traffic control is intense. The ground crew based in Paris is trying to reach the balloon to establish a flight plan for the next few hours. Weather settings need to be monitored, measuring tools need to be checked… Everything is OK but the atmosphere in the gondola is intense.
Imagine also: Bright sun, no noticeable wind, 2000m above ground, you are warm and comfortable, as if sitting in a high altitude restaurant. You can go out on to the small balcony made by lowering the door of the gondola. You have just launched the drone for a breathtaking 360° shoot around the balloon with the Norwegian fjords slowly passing in the background. And 3 hours later climbing once more to 7000m.
Zeph Endless Flight is carried by the wind… How can it determine and maintain the correct route ?
This 3D navigation relies on meteorological routing. Like sailing in the open sea, the best route is determined according to meteorological forecasts. Favorable weather conditions will make it possible to approach a chosen mountain summit or to fly at low altitude over specific spots.
In order to regulate the altitude the pilot of a traditional balloon dumps sand ballast. When the stock of sand has been exhausted the pilot is obligated to land. The flight’s duration is limited by the quantity of sand the balloon can carry.
Zeph Endless Flight has no such limitation and is able to regulate its altitude without making use of ballast. Taking advantage of radical technical changes, the balloon exclusively uses solar energy and can fly without any fuel or any imposed time limit
An 8m2 space where everything is provided for: resting areas, food, oxygen, insulation against the sun and the cold and even… sports with an exercise bike which is essential to keep fit and can even produce electricity !
A wide range of emergency equipment is kept on board, enabling the pilots to cope with every possible situation. Specific procedures have been established with assistance services and air telemedicine can be contacted round the clock by satellite.
Zeph Endless Flight is a fantastic tool for understanding the atmosphere and physical sciences. The balloon has proved to be fascinating researchers and young people alike. Sharing the challenge with as many people as possible is right at the heart of our project.
Our team is working in partnership with secondary and higher education schools and with educational associations for children in Africa and India.
Zeph Endless Flight is designed to adapt to its environment and moves without disturbing it. It is this principle of cooperation with the elements which enables Zeph Endless Flight to go further.
Beyond a basic respect for the environment, in-depth knowledge and the capacity of human beings to adapt to their surroundings are imprinted in the genes of Zeph Endless Flight. This project requires efforts of awareness, flexibility and reactivity. These are the dynamics essential to truly sustainable projects. Will you join us ?
By transposing its unique technology to high altitudes, over 25 km, Zeph Endless Flight will allow for unprecedented journeys: observing the curvature of the earth, contemplating the stars while immersed in the darkness of space and embracing, in one look, over a thousand kilometers of landscape… In partnership with CNES (French National center for space research), as part of their research for manned stratospheric flight, Zeph Endless Flight truly facilitates access to the stratosphere. Will you join us ?
Aeronautical engineer, air traffic controller, plane and balloon private pilote.
Accustomed to expeditions in severe conditions, Vincent is the initial designer of Zeph Endless Flight.
Electronical engineer, balloon pilote and instructor.
Amaury is trained for specific flights (long distance, high altitude, maritime cross) all around the world.
French National Research Council engineer (CNRS), specialist of polar expeditions.
Expert in setting up scientifical devices in severe conditions, Hervé is in charge of the power web and instrumentation.
Doctor, space and telemedicine expert
Nicolas worked with the CNES for the space cells, he’s also specialized in polar environment and he participated in the development of the telemedicine service of the French emergency service (SAMU) which he is in charge of.
DGAC medicine, professional pilot
Joël, who previously worked in the field of space medicine with the CNES, is an aviation enthusiast. He is involved in the conception of the procedures needed to approach the stratosphere safely.
Ph.D. in materials science for solar energy, now director of R&D at Zeph Exalto.
Aeronautical engineer, glider pilot… and soon Zeph Endless Flight’s balloon !
Thomas share his passion for light aviation and his experience in the industrial aviation : the balloon must be certified by the authorities.
In charge of assembly and prototyping nacelle, system integration and ground tests.
In charge of the realization of the electrical plan and ground tests.
In charge of assembly, ground tests and materials studies.
Jean-Rémi advises and trains companies on their online presence strategies. Hiker and founding member of a Fablab, he oversees digital communication, press relations and endlessly animates the ZEPH Endless Flight community.
Chartered accountant and financial auditor.
Thanks to Marie-Clémentine Zeph Endless Flight has solid financial basis to go higher and further !
Damien is the president of the association supporting ZEPH Endless Flight.
Solicitor, he is fond of mountain and oceanic crossing by sailboat.
Colombe has joined ZEPH Endless Flight to develop press relations and institutional communication.
Passionate about motorsport and drone pilot. Benjamin follows ZEPH Endless Flight with his camera on the ground and in the air.
Fly with us !