Russians Fly Over Arctic In Balloon And Claim Longest Flight World Record

Two Russians have flown over the Arctic in a hot air balloon and claim to have broken the world record for the longest non-stop flight distance in a thermal balloon.

The Russian authorities claim that famous Russian balloonist Fedor Konyukhov and the President of the Russian Ballooning Federation, Ivan Menyailo, flew 2,540 kilometres (1,578 miles).

This is 174 kilometres (108 miles) more than the previous record of 2,366 kilometres (1,470 miles) set by Michio Kanda in 1994.

Konyukhov reportedly took off in a balloon from the Murmansk region on 24th March and landed in Khatanga in the Krasnoyarsk Territory.

@mchs_official/Newsflash

The balloon reportedly flew over the Arkhangelsk, Nenets, and Yamalo-Nenets regions.

The first piece of footage reportedly shows the balloon, sporting the colours of the Russian flag, taking off, with the second piece of footage filmed previously and showing the balloon being inflated.

Newsflash obtained a first statement from the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry on Wednesday, 22nd March, announcing the attempt to break the world record.

It said: “The safety of the pilots from the ground will be monitored by rescuers of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia

“Today, in Kirovsk in the Murmansk region, the crew met with the employees of the Main Directorate of the department for the region and the Murmansk Arctic Comprehensive Emergency Rescue Centre of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia.

Picture shows air expedition balloon on the airfield of Kirovsk, Murmansk Oblast, Russia on Friday, Mar. 24, 2023. Russian travelers broke world record for longest flight on their hot air balloon. ( @mchs_official/Newsflash)

“The largest air balloon in the history of domestic aeronautics has been specially created for the flight – it will be piloted by Fyodor Konyukhov and the president of the Federation of Aeronautical Sports of Russia Ivan Menyaylo.

“The air balloon will take off on Friday, 24th March in the morning.”

The statement continued: “And already at the end of this week, on 26th March, the Arctic expedition of the Russian Emergencies Ministry will start.

“Its participants will overcome about 1,600 kilometres off-road and in the real conditions of the north they will test the latest domestic models of machinery and equipment.”

Newsflash obtained a second statement from the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry on Friday, 24th March, saying: “The safety of the record balloon flight is under the control of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia.

Picture shows traveler Fedor Konyukhov (right) and president of the Russian Ballooning Federation Ivan Menyailo (second from right) near landed air expedition balloon at Khatanga Airport, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia on Sunday, Mar. 26. 2023. Russian travelers broke world record for longest flight on their hot air balloon. (@FKonyukhov/Newsflash)

“Rescuers of the Murmansk region have organised cooperation with the ground headquarters of the journey of traveller Fyodor Konyukhov and the president of the Federation of Aeronautical Sports of Russia Ivan Menyaylo.

“Weather conditions allowed the air expedition to take off as planned, today at 5am.”

And on Sunday, 26th March, the Russian state-owned news agency TASS claimed that the record had been broken, saying that Konyukhov and Menyailo had landed in the Krasnoyarsk Territory after flying 2,540 kilometres.

Konyukhov said on Facebook: “During the transcontinental flight, the ‘PhosAgro’ hot air balloon piloted by Fedor Konyukhov and Ivan Menyaylo covered a distance of 2,540 kilometres, which is 174 kilometres more than the previous world record set in 1994 by Japanese pilot Michio Kanda.

Picture shows traveler Fedor Konyukhov (left) and president of the Russian Ballooning Federation Ivan Menyailo (right) during air expedition balloon flight in Far North of Russia, undated. Russian travelers broke world record for longest flight on their hot air balloon. (@FKonyukhov/Newsflash)

“Thus, both world records for the distance and duration of non-stop flight in a hot air balloon now belong to Russia.

“Starting early on 24th March in Kirovsk, Murmansk region, the balloon, flying at an altitude of three to six kilometres, passed through the airspace of the Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions, the Nenets and Yamalo-Nenets autonomous districts, as well as the Krasnoyarsk Territory.

“After crossing the Putorana Plateau, known for its harsh weather conditions, on 26 March at 03.24 Moscow time, the ‘PhosAgro’ balloon made a precise landing on the runway of the Khatanga airport located in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, at 72 degrees north latitude!”

It is currently unclear if the new world record that the Russians claim to have broken has been validated by Guinness World Records.

Picture shows traveler Fedor Konyukhov (middle) with Russian rescuers in Kirovsk, Murmansk Oblast, Russia on Wednesday, Mar. 22, 2023. Russian travelers broke world record for longest flight on their hot air balloon. (@mchs_official/Newsflash)

To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Joseph GolderSub-EditorWilliam McGee, Agency: Newsflash

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