Kirovsk (Murmansk region)
– PhosAgro will act as the general partner for an upcoming expedition – a north–south transcontinental flight in a hot-air balloon – by the renowned traveller Fyodor Konyukhov.
The Russian pilots Konyukhov and Ivan Menyailo, President of the Russian Ballooning Federation, will challenge two world records at once:
- the current distance record of 2,360 km, which was set in 1997 by the Japanese pilot Michio Kanda, flying an English balloon over Australia;
- the current flight duration record of 55 hours, which was set by Konyukhov and Menyailo in 2017.
Konyukhov and Menyailo expect to beat their own record by remaining in flight, without landing, for more than 60 hours, covering a distance of up to 2,500 km. They plan to fly at an altitude of up to 5 km, at an average speed of 40–50 km/h.
The PhosAgro-sponsored hot-air balloon, with an envelope volume of 12 thousand square metres – the largest balloon ever produced in the history of Russian aviation – was made especially for this historic expedition. Together with the basket, the balloon is 36 metres high, with a starting weight of 5 tonnes. The creation of this unique aircraft is an investment in the development of Russian aeronautics and in improving the skills of domestic specialists.
The flight will begin in late March or early April 2023 (depending on the weather conditions) in Kirovsk (Murmansk region), where PhosAgro’s mining and processing plant is located. The balloon will pass approximately over Cherepovets (Vologda region) in the direction of Balakovo (Saratov region), where PhosAgro’s mineral fertilizer production facilities are located.
“I am grateful to PhosAgro for supporting our record-breaking attempt in a Russian balloon. As our partner PhosAgro can attest, record-setting accomplishments are the result of teamwork, a sound strategy, the use of the latest technologies and best practices, and a responsible approach to available resources. We hope our flight inspires the younger generation and encourages them to strive to achieve something that no one has done before, to push the limits of human capabilities, to set big goals,” said Mr Konyukhov.
“PhosAgro is proud of its many years of collaboration with Fyodor Konyukhov. His philosophy of constantly moving forward and striving for new heights and new victories, including improving on one’s own achievements and records, has resonated with our company since its inception.
“We greatly appreciate the fact that Fyodor has been a true friend of PhosAgro’s Educated and Healthy Children of Russia (DROZD) project. We are grateful for the many times he has met with children taking part in the project and for the fact that the fearless new expedition that he and his team are undertaking is timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the DROZD project,” said PhosAgro CEO Mikhail Rybnikov.
In addition to the record-breaking flight – continuing the proud tradition of Russian aviation – exhibitions of Fyodor’s paintings, meetings with the world-famous traveller and rides in a smaller version of the record-breaking balloon will be organised in March–April 2023 in the regions where PhosAgro operates, while the DROZD interregional sports and educational festival will be held in Cherepovets.
PhosAgro has been implementing the DROZD project in all its regions of operations since 2003. The project has 77 sections and includes 16 different sports, creative studios and continuing education classes. More than 7,200 children take part in the classes free of charge on an ongoing basis. In addition, around 50,000 young athletes participate in regular sporting events and festivals.
DROZD is aimed at combining in a harmonious way sports and wellness programmes with traditional schooling, developing continuing education and creativity, and promoting a healthy lifestyle, moral and patriotic education and intellectual development among children.
PhosAgro has always paid special attention to the implementation of social and charitable projects in the regions where it operates. In 2022, the Company increased its funding for these purposes by nearly 150%, to RUB 12.9 billion.