The goal of the Fedor Konyukhov RTW flight in July 2016 was to beat the record of 13 days flying around the world in a balloon, held by Steve Fossett since 2002. I was also involved in the Fossett record, and I helped him in the 3 successful RTW flights in Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer in 2005 and 2006.
The Round the world flight is complete and Fedor is back safely to Northam, Western Australia. All equipment is now at the same hangar! It was an incredible event for all those involved directly and indirectly.
Fedor and the rest of the team were thrilled to have so many members of the public follow the balloon through the final stages of the flight to its landing point. Several hundred people were onsite for the landing or shortly afterwards. Unfortunately in their enthusiasm the souvenir collectors got a little carried away and many parts of the balloon were removed.
Morton FCC ( Flight Control Centre) is currently working overtime to prepare for final phase of Fedor's RTW Balloon flight.
24 hours ago at around 01:00 UTC 21st Fedor flew into very severe thunderstorm activity. He was at around 8,500 metres with the tops well above him and unreachable at night on the burners. Fedor had made the decision to cross the low pressure system on the best forecasting available so the intensity of the activity was an unwelcome surprise.
Fedor is overflying Southern Ocean. He is in strong polar jet stream flow that pushes him down towards Antarctica.
Fedor is on the final leg home but relaxing at this stage is not an option. The morning started with significant valving of helium as it is heated by the sun. This has been necessary for the last few days as fuel is consumed and the system becomes lighter.
Mid Atlantic and the night started with a relatively good immediate vicinity forecast. Fedor appeared to be clear of some frontal activity and the team was focusing on a strong developing low that may be encountered as the balloon moved into the Indian Ocean the following day.