The winner of the Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett is the pilot who flies the furthest from the starting point, measured in a straight line around the earth's surface. However, there are only a limited number of countries over which competitors may fly. Flying over or landing in a country outside the competition area results in disqualification.
In 2009's race, three teams flew to the African continent, which was outside the competition area for that year's race. It took long negotiations and several months for the balloons to be returned to the teams.
Some countries are out of bounds because of diplomatic reasons. Others are out because the safety of the teams cannot be guaranteed. Some others are out of bounds to prevent the teams from taking great risks to fly to them.
2010's race competition area is shown on the map. Countries in white (unshaded) are outside the competition area; coloured countries are inside the area. Competitors may cross over any body of water but must not fly over or land in countries outside of the area.
To see a map showing the distance from Bristol of various countries, please click here