Russian daredevil Fedor Konyukhov, has set off on a solo trip around the world in a hot air balloon.
Taking off from the Australian outback on the 12th July 2016, Konyukhov is aiming to set a new world record by circumnavigating the globe in under thirteen days, in a bid to beat the previous record set by American ballooning legend Steve Fosset back in 2002.
Konyukhov successfully launched his 52-metre high helium balloon from the exact same Northam field in Australia that Steve Fosset’s balloon ascended from when he set off on his journey in 2002.
Speaking to The Guardian, Dick Smith – a well-known adventurer and successful entrepreneur – noted that Konyukhov is the person most likely to beat Steve Fossett’s world record. He said:
“He’s an incredible adventurer. He’s what I call a responsible risk taker.”
Smith said to reporters in Northam:
“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.”
It is thought that Konyukhov’s balloon, which weighs in at 1.6 metric tons, will head east from Northam, crossing New Zealand, before flying over Argentina and then South Africa, before finally drifting back to Australia – a journey of more than 30,000 kilometres in total.
Hot air balloon rides in the South West, and other parts of the UK, are ideal for anyone who would like to get a taste of the what Konyukhov will be experiencing.