Two Russian men have recently broken a 20-year-old record for the longest nonstop hot air balloon flight.
Adventurer Fyodor Konyukhov has broken numerous world records in the last few years, breaking the world record for navigating the world nonstop individually in August 2016 on his first attempt. For this latest record attempt, Konyukhov teamed up with aeronautics expert and professional hot air balloonist Ivan Menyailo.
The previous benchmark was set in 1997 by Japanese pair Hirazuki Takezava and Michio Kanda, with a flight time of 50 hours and 38 minutes when they took off from Canada and landed in neighbouring USA.
The Russian duo surpassed that record with ease on the morning of February 9, more than 51 hours after they set off from an airfield in the Russian Yaroslavl region two days earlier. The duo eventually landed in the Krasnokutsky district of the Saratov region, close to the Russian-Kazakhstani border, after 55 hours and 14 minutes.
Residents and authorities from the area were on hand to welcome the pair upon their landing.
Before eventually breaking the world record, Konyukhov and Menyailo beat the Russian national record, which the duo also held, of 19 hours set back in March 2015.
The hot air balloon reached speeds of up to 31kph at times and soared to heights of 326m above the ground. The balloon itself weighed around 5 tonnes and boasted a volume of 10,000 cubic meters.
After the landing, Fyodor’s son Oskar stating that the pair felt “excellent” to have successfully broken the record, but those looking for a gentler experience might prefer breathtaking hot air balloon rides in Bristol or Bath.