Renowned aviator killed in North County ballooning accident

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SAN DIEGO — A world-record aviator has died after a ballooning accident in rural North County.

Julian Nott, a British balloonist who lived in Santa Barbara, was known as one of the founders of the modern ballooning movement, according to his website.

He died in a hospital Tuesday after suffering serious injuries “from an extraordinary and unforeseeable accident” involving an experimental balloon in the Warner Springs area east of Cleveland National Forest. The aviator’s death was announced Wednesday.

Nott had successfully flown and landed when there was a malfunction with his basket and he suffered multiple head injuries, family members said. Nott had invented the experimental balloon, which used cryogenic helium and was meant to explore high altitude technology.

Nott was known for his creativity and innovation, according to an obituary posted on his website. He had broken 79 World Ballooning Records and 96 British records.

The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum described Nott 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.”

He is survived by his longtime partner Anne Luther, his brother Robert Nott, and nieces Elizabeth Salmon and Katherine Nott, his website states.

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