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Attained Altitude of 62,000 Feet Last Summer--Had Narrow Escape When Balloon Burst


Hopes of reaching the unprecedented altitude of 15 miles in next summer's National Geographic-Army Air Corps stratosphere flight were expressed last night by Albert W. Stevens, lecturer on Aerophotography and captain in the United States Army Air Corps, in an illustrated lecture before an audience of 200 persons.

Captain Stevens also told the story of last summer's balloon journey, in which he and two other army officers attained the altitude of 62,000 feet before they were forced to land. The present world record stands at 11 8-10 miles and was made in 1933 by the Soviet Army airmen.

Last summer's flight, according to Captain Stevens, was a successful, although perilous one, which ended when the gas bag exploded and the men were forced to descend in parachutes. The balloon was launched at Rapid City, South Dakota, and during the flight traveled 300 miles to Heldredge, Nebraska.

In addition to moving pictures of the preparations and take-off and of the movements of the balloon in flight several miles above the earth, Captain Stevens showed several photographs of the earth's surface taken at high altitudes through the bottom of the gondola in which the men were enclosed. Lantern slides pictured some of the processes used in the construction of a balloon and explained the highly complicated scientific and mechanical apparatus which the balloon contained.

Captain Stevens's address marks the first in a series of lectures to be sponsored by the Institute of Geographical Exploration. The second lecture will be given by Captain Bruce C. Hill of the Corps of Engineers on Wednesday, February 20, at eight o'clock in the Geographical Building.

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