SARATOV, February 9./TASS/. Renowned Russian traveler Fyodor Konyukhov and merited aeronautics expert Ivan Menyailo landed on Thursday in the Volga River Saratov region’s Krasnokutsky district after flying a hot-air balloon nonstop for 55 hours, breaking the air balloon flight duration record, his son Oskar told TASS.
"The record was beaten, and a new record of 55 hours in the air has been set. Fyodor and Ivan feel excellent, the flight and the landing went off well," he said.
Local residents and region’s authorities welcomed the travelers on the ground.
Earlier reports said that Konyukhov and Menyailo had beaten an absolute world record in air balloon flight duration, spending almost 51 hours in mid-air. The previous record of 50 hours and 38 minutes remained unbeaten for almost 15 years. It was set by Michio Kanda of Japan on February 1, 1997, who took off from Canada and landed in the US.
Last year, Konyukov became the first ever balloonist to make a round-the-globe flight on the first try.
Konyukhov’s Morton balloon took off from Northam, Western Australia, at 07:30 local time (02:30 Moscow time) on July 12. The air vessel crossed non-stop Australia, the Pacific Ocean, South America, the Atlantic Ocean, flew past Cape of Good Hope and the Indian Ocean to finish in Australia on July 23.
Konyukhov, an artist by profession who was ordained as a Russian Orthodox priest in December 2010 has a great many spectacular exploits to his credit. The 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 for 46 days, the crossing of an 800-km distance in Greenland within 16 days, several solo circumnavigation tours, a single-handed non-stop tour around Antarctica, and a solo rowing voyage across the Pacific in 159 days.