New world record attempt by Russian adventurer
A 65-year-old adventurer from Russia is attempting to break the current world record for travelling around the world in a hot air balloon.
Fedor Konyukhov launched his balloon from the Australian Outback on Tuesday 12th July, attempting to complete his journey within 13 days. The previous record was set by Steve Fossett in 2002, who completed the trip around the world in 13 days.
The 52-metre-high helium balloon was launched from Northam, an outback town in Australia, and is the very same field where Fossett began his trip. According to Dick Smith, the adventurer and entrepreneur, Konyukhov is the person who is most likely to break the world record set by Fossett. Speaking to reporters on the day of the launch, Smith said:
“He’s an incredible adventurer. He’s what I call a responsible risk taker.”
“I sat in the gondola last night with him, it’s an incredibly complex piece of machinery… He’s also prepared to take quite high levels of risk.”
The balloon, weighing 1.6 metric tonnes, will fly east over Australia, towards New Zealand, then over South American countries Chile and Argentina, and then across South Africa. The hot air balloon will then return to Australia, after travelling over 30,000km. The world record attempt was originally planned to take place on 2nd July, however, it was delayed due to inclement weather conditions.
Considerable preparations have to be made before attempting a world record, especially in a hot air balloon when the pilot requires a significant amount of equipment to survive for 13 days.