Fyodor Konyukhov and Ivan Menyaylo have successfully landed their hot-air balloon ‘PhosAgro’ in the village of Khatanga, in the eastern part of the Taymyr Peninsula, setting a world record for the longest nonstop flight.
During the expedition, the pilots covered a distance of 2,540 km, surpassing the previous world record, set in 1994 by the Japanese pilot Michio Kanda, by 174 km. Now two world records – for distance flown and for the duration of a nonstop flight aboard a hot-air balloon – belong to Russia – Fyodor and Ivan.
Having launched on 24 March at 05:15 Moscow time, from Kirovsk, in the Murmansk region, the balloon passed above the Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions, the Nenets and Yamalo-Nenets autonomous districts as well as Krasnoyarsk krai at an altitude of 3–6 km.
After flying over the Putorana Plateau, which is known for its severe weather conditions, the PhosAgro balloon made a precise landing, on 26 March at 03:24 Moscow time, on the runway at the Khatanga airfield, located in Krasnoyarsk krai, at 72 degrees north latitude.
For the first time in aviation history, a hot-air balloon with an open basket flew over the waters of two Arctic seas: the Barents and the Kara.
Moreover, the longest-ever flight on a hot-air balloon beyond the Arctic Circle was completed: the entire flight took place in a corridor between 67 degrees and 72 degrees north latitude.
Fyodor dedicated the record-breaking flight to the 20th anniversary of the Educated and Healthy Children of Russia project (DROZD), a key social project run by PhosAgro, the expedition’s general partner.
Commissioned by PhosAgro for the transcontinental flight, the balloon is the largest ever produced in the history of Russian aviation, with an envelope volume of 12 thousand cubic metres. The maximum altitude reached during the flight was 5,820 metres, and the maximum speed attained was 109 km per hour.