San Diego

Julian Nott Dies Following Mishap With Experimental Balloon

Julian Nott, 74, of Santa Barbara died Tuesday, several days after the balloon he was piloting landed in a remote area near Warner Springs

A high-altitude balloon creator died from injuries he suffered in a mishap involving an experimental balloon in San Diego County. 

Julian Nott, 74, of Santa Barbara died Tuesday, several days after a new craft he had invented and designed landed in a remote area near Warner Springs. 

Cal Fire crews initially described the incident as a soft landing but called sheriff's dispatchers back around 3:30 p.m. to report there were people injured, San Diego County sheriff's deputies said.

It took firefighters about an hour to reach the victims and two patients were transported to an area hospital by air ambulance around 5:50 p.m., Cal Fire said.

Nott had landed the balloon safely after a test flight and was packing up the balloon when it rolled down a hillside with him inside of it, according to a spokesperson. 

Born in Great Britain and a long-time Santa Barbara resident, Nott piloted balloons over the Sahara Desert, Australia, and the Alps. 

He also created the first hot air balloon with a pressurized cabin, according to his biography on the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum website.

One of his gondolas is on display at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

"It's kind of extraordinary flying in a hot air balloon," Nott once told a television reporter. 

"Science, freedom, beauty, and adventure. What more could you want from life," he said in the archived interview, quoting a book authored by Charles Lindbergh. 

A spokesperson for the family said Nott was regarded as the founder of modern ballooning. 

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