Early Balloon Flight
By: John A. Shupek (Skytamer Images)

Early Balloon Flight - Overview

Series Title: Early Balloon Flight
British Trade Index No.: TBD
Issued by: Rockwell Publishing
Issued via: Retail sales
Country: England
Number of Cards: 10
Card Numbering: One to Ten
Type of Card: Commercial retail sets
Card Dimensions: 38.1 × 70.7 mm
Circa: 2001
Checklist: Checklist

During 2001, Rockwell Publishing issued a two sets of Early Balloon Flight commercial retail historic balloon trading cards. This first set is cigarette-card sized and measures 38.1 × 70.7 mm.

The fronts of the ‘Early Balloon Flight’ cards feature portrait (vertical) color artwork of famous balloons from the first Montgolfier Brothers hot air balloon up through Salomon Andree’s ‘Eagle’ which he used on a Polar Expedition. The cards fronts feature in-flight balloons busting through a thin rectangular borderline on the card front. The set title ‘Early Balloon Flight’ is shown in the upper margin, while the title of the card is shown in the lower margin. The set features very attractive color artwork. Both the card fronts and backs are presented in a portrait (vertical) format.

The card Backs use a light blue exterior margin/border with symmetrical bulges in the border to simulate the shape of the balloon on the front side of the card. The backs of the cards are quite busy with their own version of information overload. The card backs are divided into the following vertical data stack of eight elements:

  1. The series title: Early Balloon Flight
  2. The Card Title: i.e. Salmon Andree
  3. The card number and set length: Number ten in a set of ten
  4. Descriptive text: A small print descriptive text of the history and accomplishments of the featured balloon.
  5. Notation: Issued by
  7. url:
  8. Location and copyright; Made in England / ©Rockwell 2001

The following reference card shows the fronts and Backs of a typical 2001 “Early Balloon Flight” card. Click on the card images to reveal full-size computer enhanced 600-dpi images of the card.

Early Balloon Flight - Image-Guide

The following 2001 “Early Balloon Flight” 10-card set by Rockwell Publishing, England, Image-Guide shows computer enhanced images of the fronts and Backs of the 10-cards in the set. Behind each thumbnail image is a 600-dpi computer enhanced card image that you may access. In addition, directly beneath the Image Guide, in tabular form, are links to the original scans used for this series.

2001 “Early Balloon Flight”
Retail sales, 10-Airplane Cards

Early Balloon Flight - Checklist

We have provided two versions of the 2001 “Early Balloon Flight” 10-card set issued by Rockwell Publishing, England. An 8½ × 11 inch PDF version, and the web version shown below. Click on the PDF graphic below to access the PDF version.

2001 “Early Balloon Flight”
Rockwell Publishing, 10-Cards, England
xCard Title
1The Montgolfier Bros.
2Jacques Charles
3Vincenzo Lunardi
4Blanchard & Jeffries
5de Rozier and Romain
6Charles Green
7John Wise
9Gaston Tissandier
10Salomon Andree

Non-Sports Cards for Sale

If you by chance need any Aviation or Military related Non-Sports cards and/or card sets, be sure to visit our online store, the SkyCardShop, to see what we currently have listed for sale. If the cards you need are not there, please drop us a note at and tell us what cards you need. If we have your cards, we'll post them on the SkyCardShop. However, as we post them, we'll also send you a “heads-up” email so you can get them before someone else does. We can also set up “Private Sales” via PayPal and skip posting the cards/sets on the SkyCardShop. We're looking forward to helping you fulfill your non-sports cards needs.

Since 2002, we've been buying vintage aviation and military related non-sports cards to feature on our website. We are currently in the process of populating our website with approximately 400+ non-sports card sets, mostly aviation related. Nearly all of the sets that we feature include both “original” and “computer enhanced” 600-dpi scans of the fronts and backs of all the cards in the individual sets. We also include printable PDF checklists for each of the card featured on the website. By the way, if you print out these 600-dpi card images on any high-quality computer (including photo paper) and trim them, they make great full-size “Filler Card Images” to use before you acquire the real card. We should note that we are actually “Image Collectors” rather than “Card Collectors” per se. Once we've scanned a card for he website, we're therefore have no use for it, and eventually post it on the SkyCardShop.


John Shupek — John is retired Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineer that lives in Southern California. John’s 36 year aerospace career/adventure started in the mid-1960s when he worked for Pratt & Whitney at their “FRDC” … Florida Research and Development Center, West Palm Beach, Florida. John was part of the P&W jet engine design team for the CIA/USAF’s Lockheed A-12/SR-71A “Oxcart/Blackbird” engines (J58/JT11D-20). He also worked on the RL-10 rocket engine and the JTF-17A which was P&W’s entry into the United States’ SST competition between Boeing and Lockheed. Several years later, John moved back to California and worked at the AiResearch Mfg. Company at LAX and Torrance. He originally worked on the thermal design of the HRE (Hypersonic Ramjet Engine) which was a supersonic combustion Mach 7 ramjet engine that was to be tested on the North American X-15. John did about three more years of jet engine design work before he disappeared for 13 years into the classified DOE “GCEP” (Gas Centrifuge Enrichment Plant) Atomic Energy program for the enrichment of U235. After the GCEP program was cancelled by the DOE in 1985, John was hired by Northrop Aircraft to do the thermal design for Northrop’s entry into the ATF (Advanced Tactical Fighter) competition, the Northrop YF-23A “Black Widow II” stealth supercruise fighter. He also worked on the Northrop Grumman B-2A “Spirit” stealth bomber. After several years on a classified stealth missile program, John worked the remainder of his Aerospace career as one of Northrop Grumman’s Program Directors on the United States Navy’s F/A-18E/F “Super Hornet” jet fighter program.

During John’s career at Northrop Grumman he served for five years as Northrop’s “Vintage Aircraft Club” Commissioner and the Curator and Webmaster for the Western Museum of Flight in Hawthorne, California. Several years later, John was the volunteer webmaster (for about 3 years) for the Yanks Air Museum, Chino, California. He also served as President and webmaster for two different NPOs after his retirement. The Whittier Historical Society & Museum and Whittier Meals on Wheels.

John’s love of aviation history and aviation photography lead to the establishment of this website in 1998. The site has continued to expand and will always grow and will never be completed. It’s sort of analogous to a snowball rolling down a hill without any trees to stop it. In approximately 2002, John remembered that he had collected Topps “Wings” (ACC# R707-4) airplane trading cards while in High School. Somehow the cards had disappeared over the years. So at this point, he started to re-collect airplane trading cards via eBay and become an airplane card “Image Collector” rather than a “Card Collector” per se. After John scans an airplane card for the website, he has no further use for it and he puts it back into circulation via eBay. John’s mission statement for the is basically to restore and preserve high-quality card images/artwork associated with the various airplane card sets from the early 1900s to the present. These cards are wonderful historical “snapshots” into aviation history showing which aviation events and aircraft were important at that point in time. For the website, basically if it is a trading card collection that features things that fly, but doesn’t have feathers, it is eligible for consideration on the website. John always welcomes inputs and high resolution scans (600-dpi) that can be used on this website. John can be reached via the “Contact Us” navigation button on the left.


  1. Shupek, John A. “Early Balloon Flight, Rockwell Publishing.” The Skytamer Archive (600-dpi Image Scans). Skytamer Images, Whittier, CA, 2014. Digital Image Database.

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