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“Especially for this record, a hot air balloon of 3,000 cubic meters is being built,” Konyuhov’s representative said. “The balloon will be given a name of Turgoyak after the rowboat Fyodor used to cross the Pacific earlier this year.”
A skiing resort near the town of Miass in Russia’s Urals Chenyabinsk region has been chosen as a venue. The balloon is to lift to a height of about two kilometers. The current world record of staying aloft in a balloon is 24 hours. Russia’s record is 19 hours.
Konyukhov’s action will anticipate his next adventure - in August 2015, he wants to challenge the record Steve Fossett set in 2002, when he made a non-stop round-the-globe flight in 15 days (from June 19 to July 3, 2002). Like the US traveler, Konyukhov will start and land in the Australian deserts. He will try to fly 33,000 kilometers in less than two weeks it took Fossett.
Like in the 2002 adventure, the air balloon will comprise two sections, one of them filled with helium, and the other, with hot air constantly heated with burners. Konyukhov plans to rise up to 17,000 kilometers, whereas the minimal possible height is 100 meters, at about 200-300 kilometers an hour on strong ocean winds. The balloon is now being built in London.
Fyodor Konyukhov, an artist by profession, who was ordained as a Russian Orthodox priest in December 2010, has many spectacular exploits to his credit. Their incomplete list includes two ascents to Mount Everest and ascents to the highest peaks of all other continents, a voyage across the Atlantic in a single-row boat in 46 days, the dog sleigh crossing of an 800 km distance in Greenland within about 16 days, several trips to the North Pole, several solo circumnavigation tours, a singlehanded nonstop tour around Antarctica, and a solo rowing voyage across the Pacific in 159 days.