Don't Look Down

Black and white headshot of Richard Branson looking serious
Image from Sundog Pictures
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 17 April 2016

I found myself in the biggest balloon ever built, all alone. My fellow balloonist had jumped. I was facing almost certain death. I had never felt so lonely in my life. I wrote a note to the kids telling them how much I loved them, and then I prepared to jump… 

Richard Branson inside hot air balloon
Image from Sundog Pictures

In a new feature documentary by Sundog Pictures and acclaimed director Daniel Gordon, for the first time I tell the full story of my attempts to cross the Atlantic and Pacific by hot air balloon. Not to mention simultaneously trying to start an upstart airline, against all the odds. 

We were determined to fight back against British Airways in the battle to keep Virgin Atlantic flying, and I knew I had to use myself to get our new airline on the front pages. I also have an insatiable desire to break records and embark upon seemingly impossible challenges. 

Richard Branson during the balloon crash in the Arctic
Image from Sundog Pictures

With engineer and balloonist Per Lindstrand alongside me, we took extreme risks in trying to do what had never been done before. It has been an emotional journey reliving these epic adventures and brushes with death. It has also been incredible to watch the never-before-seen footage of the trips for the first time, especially the cameras inside the capsule capturing the highs and lows of our journeys. I remember the balloon flights like they were yesterday, but this documentary will make the viewer feel like it was today. 

Virgin balloon crashed into the ocean
Image from

Now Don’t Look Down is receiving its world premiere at the Tribeca Festival in New York, on April 19th. I’m excited to see the documentary on the big screen, and to share this very personal story with a wider audience. These adventures changed me forever. I hope seeing the documentary will have an impact upon you too. 

Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand inside a hot air balloon
Thierry Boccon-Gibod

What would you do if you believed you only had a few minutes to live? Don’t look back. Don’t be afraid. Don’t give up. Don’t Look Down.