YAROSLAVL, February 7. /TASS/. Russian adventurer Fyodor Konyukhov and his companion, certified balloonist, holder of the "master of sports" title Ivan Menyailo have left an airdrome near Rybinsk, the Yaroslavl Region, by a hot air balloon hoping to stay in the air for more than 50 hours, thereby setting a new non-stop flight world record, the adventurer’s son, Oskar Konyukhov, has told TASS.
"At 09:04 Moscow time the balloon took off and has since remained at an altitude of 50-60 meters. It is moving southwest, towards Moscow. The launch has taken place and this is most important," said Konyukhov Jr.
For setting a new non-stop flight world record lasting more than 50 hours the adventurers are expected to avoid crossing air borders with other countries, because the wind may carry the balloon towards Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia and Lithuania. In that case the crew will have to land. Likewise the ambitious attempt will have to be terminated if the balloon ventures into Moscow’s airspace or if there is heavy snowfall.
Oskar Konyukhov said strong wind delayed the flight by two hours, but Konyukhov’s support team eventually managed to load the gondola with extra 75 fuel cylinders.
"The wind was strong. Originally the balloon was due to leave at seven in the morning. We had to wait for two hours for the wind to subside somewhat. We managed to bring extra fuel cylinders on board," Oskar Konyukhov said.
Previously, the flight was scheduled for the middle of January only to have been postponed due to a thaw. Clear skies and frosty weather, with air temperatures staying at 15-20 degrees below freezing are the key factors for success.
The local authorities will arrange festivities on the occasion of the record-setting attempt. Konyukhov has dedicated the flight to an Orthodox Saint, Admiral Fyodor Ushakov, who was born in the Rybinsk district of the Yaroslavl Region.
Konyukhov set the previous non-stop flight record on a hot air balloon in January 2016 over the Tula, Moscow, Ryazan, Vladimir and Ivanovo regions. He stayed in the air for 32 hours and 20 minutes.