Tags: AS | Australia | Balloon

Russian Balloonist Soon to Circumnavigate Globe in 11 Days

Russian Balloonist Soon to Circumnavigate Globe in 11 Days

Friday, 22 July 2016 08:55 PM

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A 65-year-old Russian adventurer was drifting in a balloon in fair weather on Saturday hours before he was expected to land in the Australian Outback and set a record for flying solo nonstop around the world, an official said.

Fedor Konyukhov's 56-meter (184-foot) -tall helium and hot-air balloon was flying northeast toward the southwest Australian coast at 80 kilometers (50 miles) per hour. It was expected to cross somewhere along a 200-kilometer (120-mile) stretch of shoreline between the cities of Perth and Busselton around noon (0400 GMT), support crew member John Wellington said.

He then hoped to land around 4 p.m. (0800 GMT) along a 500-kilometer (300-mile) sparsely populated expanse between the gold mining town of Kalgoorlie and Northam, the town where his eastward journey began on July 12, Wellington said.

Konyukhov's 34,000-kilometer (21,000-mile) journey would then be completed in around 11 days and eight hours, shaving two days off the record set by American businessman Steve Fossett in 2002.

"It's a bit overcast, but it's not windy which is the most important thing," Wellington said. "It should be a reasonable sort of day to hopefully get him on the ground later this afternoon."

Konyukhov's team say landing the 1.6-metric ton (1.8-ton) balloon could be the most challenging and dangerous part of the journey, with late afternoon the best time. He needs to find an open space free of power lines and buildings and expect to be dragged along the ground for several kilometers (miles) before coming to a halt.

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A 65-year-old Russian adventurer was drifting in a balloon in fair weather on Saturday hours before he was expected to land in the Australian Outback and set a record for flying solo nonstop around the world, an official said.Fedor Konyukhov's 56-meter (184-foot) -tall...
AS,Australia,Balloon
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2016-55-22
Friday, 22 July 2016 08:55 PM
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