Sky Rider
272 pages, 6 x 9
36 halftones
Release Date:15 Sep 2021

Sky Rider

Park Van Tassel and the Rise of Ballooning in the West

By Gary B. Fogel; Foreword by Dick Brown
University of New Mexico Press

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.

If you are looking for a good book on the extraordinary career of Park Van Tassel, your search is over. Gary Fogel offers a full account of the colorful adventures of the man who introduced Albuquerque to the balloon.'--Tom D. Crouch, author of Wings: A History of Aviation from Kites to the Space Age
Sky Rider traces the history of ballooning in the American West and worldwide through the biography of one of its most colorful showmen--Park Van Tassel. Fogel shows how a barkeep-turned-aeronaut popularized aerial entertainment through balloon launches, parachute drops, and trapeze shows.'--Marilee Schmit Nason, Former Curator of Collections at the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum
Gary B. Fogel is an adjunct professor of aerospace engineering at San Diego State University and the CEO of Natural Selection, Inc. He is also the author or coauthor of Quest for Flight: John J. Montgomery and the Dawn of Aviation in the West, The Torrey Pines Gliderport, and Wind and Wings: The History of Soaring in San Diego. He lives in San Diego, California.
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