Julian Nott
Julian Nott

Julian Nott passed away peacefully on March 26 after suffering multiple injuries from an extraordinary and unforeseeable accident following a successful balloon flight and landing in Warner Springs, California. 

Julian was flying an experimental balloon that he invented, designed to test high altitude technology.  

His loving partner of 30 years, artist Anne Luther, was at his side.

Known as the founder of the modern ballooning movement, and one of its most creative and innovative exponents, Julian was 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. 

In May 2017, he broke the world’s record for a high altitude civilian tandem skydive jumping at just under 32,000 feet. Julian said at the time  “The quality of a record may be judged by how long it stand. One year is only a beginning, but I thought it would fire up skydivers and it would stand for a few months.”

Nott received the Royal Aero Club’s Gold Medal for outstanding achievement in aviation during the preceding year or over a number of years  At the time of Nott’s award, the medal had been given to only thirty five individual worldwide since the Club began in 1901. and  he was the only person to have received it for ballooning. Prior winners included The Wright Brothers, Charles Rolls, founder of Rolls Royce and Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins of Apollo 11.

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.”

Nott designed and built the world’s second pressurized cabin for a hot air balloon, and piloted it to 55,134 feet. This cabin is now on permanent exhibition in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Center at Dulles Airport

We join the family and the ballooning community in mourning the passing of Julian Nott, an exceptionally brilliant man who rejoiced in exploration and adventure. He will be missed but never forgotten. 

His beloved 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.