Hot air balloonist in line for international prize

Richard Jaworski, a hot air balloon pilot from Blaine, Nebraska, is awaiting confirmation of an award from Swiss officials on his completion of a gruelling trial.

Jaworski set off on a flight from Aberdeen, US, in the early hours of the morning of the 2nd January. He completed his journey in Omaha, Nebraska, amidst freezing weather conditions, in a bid to finish the last of the numerous challenges needed to secure the award.

Owner of Olivier Balloons and agent in Sioux Falls, Orvin Olivier, was one of several to help Jaworski with the launch, with the crew attempting to follow the balloon by car and using further tracking devices on an iPad to keep watch over the flight.

“He completely outran us. We had to head east to the interstate and had no chance of keeping up with him.” Olivier said.

The balloon was travelling at a speed of 77-83 miles per hour and arrived at its destination two hours earlier than those on the road. The wind was considered to be strong even at the altitude Jaworski was flying at, which was at more than 16,500 feet and required him to be on oxygen for a significant portion of the journey.

Aberdeen, being roughly 300 miles away from Omaha, was decided as the best place to launch from, due to the fact that winds typically carry pilots to the southeast.

Hot air balloons are extremely sensitive to temperature and able to carry more weight in colder weather, leading to the ability to carry larger amounts of fuel and therefore complete longer flights.

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