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Maxie L. Anderson

Maxie L. Anderson

September 1, 1934 - June 27, 1983

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Maxie Anderson was born in Sayre, Oklahoma, on September 10, 1934, graduated from Missouri Military Academy where he was Captain of his graduating class, and received his BS degree in industrial engineering from the University of North Dakota in 1956. He was married in 1952 and he and his wife, Patty, had four children: Michael, Stephanie, Kristian and Timothy.  

Mr. Anderson was one of the world's foremost gas balloonists. His major flights included:  

1. DOUBLE EAGLE I - Marshfield, Mass., to Iceland.
September 9-12, 1977, 2,950 miles, 65 hours. First Trans-Atlantic attempt.  

2. DOUBLE EAGLE II - Presque Isle, Maine, to Miserey, France.
August 11-17, 1978, 3,107 miles, 137 hours.
World Distance record and first successful crossing of Atlantic.  

3. KITTY HAWK - San Francisco, California, to Ste. Felicite, Quebec, Canada.
May 8-12, 1980, 3,313 miles, 100 hours.
New distance record and first successful crossing of North American Continent.  

4. JULES VERNE - Luxor, Egypt, to Hansi, India.
February 12-14, 1981, 2,829 miles, 48 hours.
First around the world attempt forced down because of a leaky valve. 

5. JULES VERNE - Rapid City, South Dakota to Midland, Ontario, Canada.
November 7-8, 1982, 1,162 miles, 16 hours. Forced down because of leaks. 

6. DOUBLE EAGLE III - Long Beach, California to Dove Creek, Colorado.
Maxie was the winner of first revival of the Gordon Bennett Race in 1979.  

Maxie Anderson was the first balloonist, with Ben Abruzzo and Larry Newman, to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a balloon named “Double Eagle II”.  Using a balloon named “Kitty Hawk” Maxie and his son Kris, were the first to cross the North American continent. Flying the balloon “Jules Verne” with Don Ida, he was the first balloonist to attempt an around-the-world flight. During the course of his numerous flights, he was aloft some 500 hours and traveled about 15,000 miles. 

In addition to his gas ballooning experience, Anderson had about 600 hours of hot air ballooning experience gained over 12 years. He had nearly 35 years of experience as an aircraft pilot having received his pilots license at the age of 15.  

Today the Double Eagle II is a part of the permanent exhibit of the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institute. Mr. Anderson, along with the other crew members of the Double Eagle II, was the recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor. Mr. Anderson also was honored with the Explorers Club's Lowell Thomas award, the Diplome Montgolfier from the Federal Aeronautique Internationale, the John Oliver LaGorce medal from National Geographic, the Lindbergh award, and received the American Mining Institute’s Copper Man of the Year award.  

In addition to his ballooning accomplishments Maxie Anderson was a notable business man.  He was Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Ranchers Exploration and Development Corporation, Albuquerque, New Mexico, a mining company that was listed on the American Stock Exchange. The company sold uranium, gold, silver and copper with annual sales of about $40 million. Because of his willingness to take calculated risks, Ranchers helped pioneer some innovative mining processing techniques. Ranchers Exploration and Development developed the first commercially successful solvent extraction, electrowinning production of (cathode) copper. Then, in 1972 Ranchers & DuPont worked in cooperation to literally blast a small mountain into pieces with the world’s largest non-nuclear blast at the time. This was done to prepare the small mountain containing copper ore for in-situ leaching.  

Mr. Anderson was named Chief Executive Ofticer of Ranchers in 1963. He had been a member of the Board of Directors of the company since 1957. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of Bank Securities, Inc., a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Joseph Hospital, and had interests in several other business ventures, including real estate.  

He was a large valley landowner for lands identified as Caballero Farms and sold parcels for the purpose of building office complexes both to Ranchers Exploration and to Nuclear Pharmacy. He was the subdivider and developer for Caballero Del Norte and Caballero Ranchitos, two of the most prestigious developments in the North Valley. Part of the Caballero Farms property was also used for the purpose of starting a new townhome project called Rancho Caballero on March 14, 1980, which was sold after his death to Terra West Properties on April 15, 1985. He was always a major proponent in controlling the quality of the building in the North Valley and advocated slow and conscientious development in order to preserve the quality of living enjoyed in the valley.  

In 1983, Maxie and Don Ida were participating in a gas balloon race in France that was to commemorate the 200th anniversary of man's first balloon flight. The "Viking Maru" took off from France and headed toward West Germany in a contest for distance. Tragically, there was a mechanical malfunction with the equipment holding the gondola to the balloon when the pair was forced to make the landing in a rough forest to keep from entering Communist East Germany. It was there that the "Viking Maru" crashed, killing both Maxie Anderson and Don Ida, on June 27, 1983.  

The Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico is named after both Maxie Anderson and his frequent ballooning companion, Ben Abruzzo.  After Maxie Anderson was killed in a gas balloon accident in Germany, his family established a foundation in his memory in 1984.  Ben Abruzzo was on the first board of directors for the foundation. After Ben Abruzzo was killed in an airplane accident in Albuquerque, their families got together and decided to do something jointly in their honor and they combined their efforts with the City of Albuquerque, which resulted in the building of the museum bearing their names, adjacent to the launch field. The City of Albuquerque pays for the ongoing expenses of the Museum for including salaries, utilities, collections, etc.

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