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Bertrand Piccard Speaker Profile
– Human Behaviour
– Breaking Barriers
– Crisis Management
– Renewable Forms of Energy and Sustainable Development
He is a Swiss psychiatrist and balloonist.
He was born in Lausanne, Vaud canton. His grandfather Auguste Piccard and father, Jacques Piccard, were noted balloonists and inventors.
Growing up in a ballooning and undersea-exploring family, Bertrand was always fascinated with flight. As a child, he was taken to the launch of several space flights from Cape Canaveral. He became a hang-glider pilot and developed an interest in ultra-light motorized flight, as well as the gas balloons his grandfather had set records in.
He is a lecturer and supervisor at the Swiss Society for Medical Hypnosis.
On March 1, 1999 Piccard and Brian Jones set off in the balloon Breitling Orbiter 3 from Château d’Oex in Switzerland on the non-stop balloon circumnavigation. They landed in Egypt after a 45,755 kilometre flight lasting 19 days, 21 hours and 47 minutes. In recognition of this accomplishment, he received awards including the Harmon Trophy, the FAI Gold Air Medal and the Charles Green Salver.
In 2004, he co-announced a project, in cooperation with the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), for a solar-powered, long-range, one-seated glider named Solar Impulse. The project is dubbed “a great human adventure”. Piccard plans to begin construction in 2007, and conduct short test flights in 2008. He has financial and technical backing from several European firms, so it looks as if the Solar Impulse will be a European craft, not a Swiss one, despite scientific support from the EPFL. The plan is to circumnavigate the globe with several pilots in relay, flying above cloud cover during the day and at lower altitude at night sometime in 2009.
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CEO of Virgin Atlantic (2001-2013)