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Russian explorers break 1994 record for hot air balloon flight distance set by Japanese

Fedor Konyukhov and Ivan Menyailo flew over 2,368 km
Fedor Konyukhov  Lev Fedoseyev/TASS
Fedor Konyukhov
© Lev Fedoseyev/TASS

MOSCOW, March 26. /TASS/. The hot air balloon of Russian adventurers Fyodor Konyukhov and Ivan Menyaylo has covered the distance of more than 2,368 kilometers, thus they have broken the world flight distance record set by Japanese explorers in 1994, the satellite navigation site that tracks the flight reported on Saturday.

"Russian pilots Fyodor Konyukhov and Ivan Menyaylo flying a PhosAgro balloon have covered 2,368 kilometers, thus breaking the record for a hot air balloon flight distance set in 1994 by Japanese pilots. They have carried out the longest flight on a hot air balloon north of the Arctic Circle, since the flight covered its record distance within 67-70 degrees northern latitude. The pilots will be flying until dawn, and plan to land near the village of Khatanga, which is believed to be the Arctic aviation heart," the center says.

The Russian-made PhosAgro hot air balloon is currently flying at about 60 kilometers per hour at an altitude of about 4,000 meters over the Krasnoyarsk Region, north of the Putorana Plateau. Konyukhov and Menyaylo, president of the Russian Ballooning Federation, went on the balloon ride from the Murmansk Region on Friday at about 05:00 a.m. Moscow time. They need to stay up in the air for about 14 hours in order to break their own record of 55 hours of flight time.

Konyukhov and Menyaylo made the first flight in the history of Russian aeronautics in an open basket hot air balloon over the sea in the high northern latitudes.

Fyodor Konyukhov is something of a legend in ballooning, holding the world record for the fastest flight around the world in a hot air balloon. For this achievement, he was awarded the ‘The Pilot of the Year’ honor by the International Federation of Aeronautics (FAI) in 2016. While training for the round-the-world flight, Konyukhov and Menyaylo set two world records, having flown initially for 32 hours and then for 55 hours non-stop in a hot air balloon.