Russian Aviators Set Hot Air Balloon World Record

1033832016Source: Sputnik International –

Russian hot air balloon pilots Fedor Konyukhov and Ivan Menyaylo set a new world record for a hot air balloon flight when they touched down on Monday after more than 33 hours in the air.

Russian aviation enthusiast Fedor Konyukhov and expert hot air balloon pilot Ivan Menyaylo entered the world record books on Monday when they touched down in the Ivanovo region of central Russia after 33 hours flying in a hot air balloon.

“We needed to stay in the air more than 29 hours, we manage to last 33 hours and 30 minutes,” Konyukhov told RT after making a safe landing in the village of Shestunikha.

“It is nice for us, my friend and I, pilot Ivan Menyaylo, for our homeland, to bring Russia another victory,” said Konyukhov, who has completed numerous feats of adventure on land, across the sea and in the air.

As well as being an intrepid explorer, Konyukhov is also an Orthodox priest. He has circumnavigated the globe four times, and crossed the Atlantic 15 times in a sailing boat, and once in a rowing boat.

Konyukhov is so far the only person in the world to have reached five of the extreme poles of the planet: he has traveled to Cape Horn, Mount Everest, the Arctic Ocean pole of inaccessibility, the South Pole and the North Pole, the latter three times.

Liftoff.  Photo: ©  Fedor Konyukhov

Photo: © Fedor Konyukhov

The intrepid aviators began their flight at 7:51 Sunday morning, when they lifted off from the Sonino aerodrome in the Tula region of Russia and headed north east, flying over the regions of Moscow, Ryazan and Vladimir.

They broke the previous Russian record for a hot air balloon flight after 19 hours and 10 minutes of flight, after which they settled their sights on breaking the world record, set by American William Bussey in 1993. Bussey flew more than 1,200 km in 29 hours 14 minutes, from Amarillo, Texas, to Milbank, South Dakota.

“It was very cold, at night it was minus 35 degrees Celsius, during the day it was minus 20,” explained Konyukhov.

“But for me that’s practice, because in two months I’m flying from the North Pole, there it will be colder,” he said.

Source: Sputnik International –

‘We Feared We’d Crash’: Russian Balloonist Reveals Secrets of Record Flight

1033832016Source: Sputnik International –

After setting the hot air ballooning world record with his partner Ivan Menyailo, traveler Fyodor Konyukhov told Sputnik about his trip.

Russian balloon master Ivan Menyailo and traveler Fyodor Konyukhov’s hot air balloon flight set a world record for flight time at over 32 hours and 20 minutes.

Russian aviation enthusiast Fedor Konyukhov (L) and expert hot air balloon pilot Ivan Menyaylo (R). © Photo: Fyodor Konyukhov

Russian aviation enthusiast Fedor Konyukhov (L) and expert hot air balloon pilot Ivan Menyaylo (R).
© Photo: Fyodor Konyukhov

Konyukhov is mostly known for his skills as a boat man. At the age of 15, he crossed the Azov Sea on a rowboat from his hometown in what is now Ukraine to the other side, in modern-day Russia.

Besides his countless maritime expeditions across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, urban legends ascribe such stories to his biography as using his boating skills to clandestinely supply rebels in South Vietnam and Sandinistas in Nicaragua. Konyukhov himself became a priest in 2010.

“For 32 hours, we did not sleep, did not eat, did not rest, standing up the entire time. It was necessary to switch tanks, and watch after the burners. We did all that together. We even had no time to open the thermos to drink a cup of tea. Instead of drinking water, we sucked on icicles,” Konyukhov told Sputnik.

“We had very little time to admire nature, because there was a lot of work. Although below us it was beautiful, our Russia, we saw a lot of moose, boar, deer and squirrels,” Konyukhov told Sputnik.

This was Konyukhov and Menyailo’s second attempt to beat the record set by American Bill Bussey in 1993. From the beginning, the flight was fraught with difficulty.

“It was crucial to take as many tanks as we did, we lifted on a limit. We even feared we would crash with such a weight. We used up half of the first tank and threw it overboard to lighten the balloon. We were also worried that we were running out of gas fast. We even began to count, so there would be enough to beat our Russian record, we also hold it at 19 hours and 20 minutes,” Konyukhov said.

“Then the cold got stronger, and we thought that we could only hold on for 25 hours. The balloon frosted up, it became heavier, we threw everything we could overboard to lighten it: felt boots, food, thermoses, anything that was spare, just to get lighter,” he added.

“But everything went well, we worked well, thanks to God and Vanya Menyailo, a good pilot, my partner,” Konyukhov told Sputnik.

Now, Konyukhov and Menyailo plan an balloon expedition around the world, on a blimp which uses both helium and hot air for lift.

“On April 2, we take off on a 10,000  [cubic meter] balloon to fly from the North Pole to Canada, or to Alaska, to the coast. No one has ever flown on a thermal balloon from the North Pole,” Konyukhov told Sputnik.

“And in June we start from Australia to go around the world. But there’s it’s a combined heat balloon, there will be burners and helium. These balloons are impossible to fly here. These only used for the around-the-world voyages,” he added.

Explaining his passion for so many kinds of travel, Konyukhov said that he loves the world, and is lucky to have been born at a time when there is so much potential for new discoveries and records.

“I’m curious, I’m inquisitive. If there are mountains, why not stand on top of the highest mountain, Mount Everest, I have done it twice. If there are polar countries, the North Pole, the South Pole, I have been there too. If there are yachts and ships, I would like to make a trip around the world. I have traveled on camels in Mongolia, I love to travel by dog ​​sled in Alaska and Greenland,” Konyukhov told Sputnik.

Source: Sputnik International –

This entry was posted in Balloons, Hot Air Balloons and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply