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Russian traveler on solo balloon flight reaches New Zealand

July 15, 16:35 UTC+3 SYDNEY
In less than 64 hours Konyukhov crossed Australia west to east and reached the Pacific
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© Pavel Vanichkin/TASS

SYDNEY, July 14. /TASS/. The famed Russian traveler, Fedor Konyukhov, who is on a solo balloon flight around the world, is currently flying in airspace of New Zealand, his son Oskar reported on Friday.

Oskar, who heads the flight center, continues work in Northam, Western Australia, from where Konyukhov took off in the early hours on Tuesday, July 12 (at about 2:30 am, Moscow time). Northam is located at the 31st parallel south, about 100 kilometers from Perth.

In less than 64 hours Konyukhov crossed Australia west to east and reached the Pacific. Now he is flying north of New Zealand. His Morton balloon cruises at a speed of 130-145 kilometers per hour, which is much faster than its speed over Australia.

At the moment, the on-ground team works with air traffic controllers of New Zealand who allowed the flight at an altitude of about 7,900 meters. "This suits us for this day," Oskar said.

The traveler’s Morton balloon is expected to move non-stop west to east. It is yet to fly over the southern part of South America (Chile and Argentina) and then cross the Atlantic Ocean, fly over South Africa and over the Indian Ocean, expected to finish in Australia in approximately the same area where it took off.

The balloon is cruising at an altitude of five to ten kilometers, and will cover a distance of 33,000-35,000 kilometers. Overall, the entire voyage is anticipated to take about two weeks.

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