Modern history

Sky Rider: Park Van Tassel and the Rise of Ballooning in the West

Sky Rider: Park Van Tassel and the Rise of Ballooning in the West

With a reputation as the hot-air balloon capital of the world and the home of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the skies of the southwestern desert city of Albuquerque frequently showcase the magic and adventure of ballooning. This legacy links back to the 1880s and a man by the name of Park Van Tassel. Through his pioneering flight, Van Tassel not only opened the skies to future generations across New Mexico, but he also opened minds to the possibility of manned flight throughout the American West.

A charismatic, P. T. Barnum-like showman, Van Tassel rose from obscurity to introduce the new science of ballooning and parachuting throughout the West. Van Tassel toured extensively--from California to Utah, Colorado, and Louisiana and later embarking on an international journey that took him to Hawaii, Australia, Southeast Asia, India, Africa, and beyond. Sky Rider weaves together the many threads of Van Tassel's extraordinary life journey, situating him at last in his rightful place among the prominent aerial exhibitionists of his time.


Chapter 1. Ascension

Chapter 2. Albuquerque

Chapter 3. Touring the West

Chapter 4. World’s Fair

Chapter 5. San Francisco

Chapter 6. On the Road Again

Chapter 7. Falling with Grace

Chapter 8. Separation

Chapter 9. North by Northwest

Chapter 10. Back to Utah

Chapter 11. Back to Albuquerque

Chapter 12. Hawaii

Chapter 13. Australia

Chapter 14. Queens of the Air

Chapter 15. On to Adelaide

Chapter 16. Division

Chapter 17. Competition

Chapter 18. Redirection

Chapter 19. The Long Road Home

Chapter 20. Other Aeronauts

Chapter 21. California, Here I Come...

Chapter 22. Aftershock

Chapter 23. City of Oakland

Chapter 24. Golden Years




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