Fashion consultant one day, intrepid aeronautical pioneer the next – this month saw Alicia Hempleman-Adams secure the women’s world record for altitude in a small hot air balloon in Calgary, Canada.
For the ascent, Hempleman-Adams used an AX4 class balloon. The small balloon is approximately as tall as a double-decker bus and was made using brand new sustainable materials. To break the world record, she was able to ascend to 4,605 meters, beating the previous world record of 4,272 meters. In the air, she endured temperatures of -30°C.
Flying at high altitude has a number of risks associated with it. The lack of oxygen might cause hypoxia which makes physiological functioning more difficult. However, none of that stopped Hempleman-Adams who was able to face these risks to soar into the record books once more.
As the daughter of explorer Sir David Hempleman-Adams, she already has record-breaking form, having reached the North Pole and skied across Baffin Island as a child.
Despite being a seasoned adventurer, Hempleman-Adams is a relative hot air ballooning novice. Balloon record attempts are not always easy to get right, and depend on the right weather and atmospheric conditions as well as the skill of the pilot. She was delighted to succeed at the record-breaking attempt at her first try.
If Hempleman-Adams’s feat makes you curious about what it would be like to embark on a hot air balloon adventure of your own – albeit at a more comfortable altitude – we offer hot air balloon experiences in Hempleman-Adams’s native Bath, along with Bristol, Gloucester and beyond.