Showing posts with label Ballooning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ballooning. Show all posts

Russian Adventurer Sets Record For Fastest Circumnavigation By Balloon

I'm still working hard to catch up with some of the big stories that broke while I was away in Mongolia. Most have been covered now, but there was at least one more that I wanted to share. This past weekend, Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov completed an epic round-the-world journey in a hot air balloon, covering some 33,000 km (20,506 miles) while setting a new speed record in the process.

Konyukhov first set out on his journey back on July 12, taking to the air at 7:30 AM local time at a point located just north of Perth, Australia. He touched down just 11 days later in the town of Bonnie Rock, located in Western Australia at about 5:00 PM in the evening.

In completing the journey, the 64-year old Russian becomes just one of four people to successfully circumnavigate the globe in a balloon. He is the second to do so solo. Konyukhov circled the planet in a carbon fiber pod that was not pressurized, as he cruised along at speeds in excess of 150 miles (240 km) per hour, at an altitude that often reached to 30,000 feet (9144 meters). His speed record is two days faster than the previous mark, which was set by Steve Fossett back in 2002.

This latest achievement is just one of many for the Russian, who has scaled Everest twice, climbed the rest of the Seven Summits, and has skied to both the North and South Pole. He has even visited the Pole of Inaccessibility in the Arctic Ocean, and crossed the Pacific Ocean in a rowboat. An accomplished sailor, Konyukhov has sailed around the world four times, a skill that served him well in the balloon too.

Some of the challenges that he faced while flying around the globe in a balloon included bad weather, a frozen valve on his oxygen tanks, and a storm that froze over the balloon, adding enough additional weight that the flight was in serious jeopardy for a time. At one point, he even strayed far enough south that he was nearing Antarctica, just as his onboard heater was struggling to continue working. This put him into "survival mode" as he strayed into serious jeopardy for a time. Thankfully, he was able to overcome all of those obstacles, stay in the air, and still set the new speed record.

Congrats to Fedor on such an impressive accomplishment. Truly a great adventure for the modern age.

Take A Hot-Air Balloon Ride Over Everest – For $2.6 Million

While we're on the topic of Everest today, adventurer Chris Dewhirst has announced that he is looking for two people to join him on an epic hot-air balloon flight over the mountain, with the cost of the trip running $2.6 million each.

Dewhirst is no stranger to balloon flights over Everest. Back in 1991, he became the first person to ever complete such a journey. Now, he's looking to replicate that feat, and he's giving a couple of well-heeled adventurers the chance to join him.

The flight is being advertised on a luxury-travel site called If Only. The site offers a host of unusual items and experiences for sale, including a tennis weekend with Andre Agassi and Stefi Graf ($116,000), a private workout in San Francisco with Jerry Rice ($14,335), and an African safari with Jan Reynolds ($14,500).

But few of the times listed on the site can compare to the balloon ride over Everest. If someone should actually purchase the experience, they'll get more than just a short flight over the Himalaya. The itinerary calls for the team to be in Nepal for a couple of weeks as they acclimatize to the altitude, and wait for the proper weather conditions for the flight. The actual balloon ride will be an all-day affair, as Dewhirst takes himself, and his passengers, up to about 30,000 feet (9144 meters) so they can gently drift over the summit of Everest.

The If Only ad recommends that those who are interested in joining this adventure be in good physical condition. It will be a challenge, despite the fact that they aren't actually climbing the mountain. The ad says that those who do join Dewhirst on this flight will be rewarded with one of the most spectacular views on the planet.

So, if you're in good shape, want to see Everest for yourself, and have $2.6 million burning a whole in your pocket, you can find out more about this trip by clicking here.