Fedor Konyukhov
enru
29.06.2016

Launched date confirmed. 02 of July. Northam, Western Australia

According to the data available on 28th of June (12 UTC), there is a weather window for the launch of the "MORTON" balloon on 2nd of July, Saturday. Good trajectories for crossing Australian continent.

Details

According to the data available on 28th of June (12 UTC), there is a weather window for the launch of the "MORTON" balloon on 2nd of July, Saturday. Good trajectories for crossing Australian continent.

 The proposed launch program is below:

1st of July, Friday:

- Early in the morning the crew will start covering the field adjacent to the taxiway with protecting coating;

- The balloon/envelop will be taken out of the container and placed on the covered field; min. 20 people are required to complete this task;

- The gondola will be moved from the hangar to the aero field by crane. It is expected that assembling the balloon will take the whole day;

- At the same time, technicians from the Cameron Balloons will be mounting 2 meters’ steel gas bottles around the gondola.

The goal is to complete preparation tasks by night.

During the night the balloon will be filled in with helium – about 10,000 cubic meters will be pumped in. Representatives of Supagas Company have already arrived to Northam.

The launch is planned on 2nd of July, Saturday, at the sunrise. That’s the plan. Attached are anticipated trajectories of the flight on the altitudes of 6,000 and 7,000 meters for the first few days flight. 

 

Translated by Galina Abrossimova



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19.06.2016

Waiting for the weather window

The 19th July 2002 is a special date for the international ballooning community: on that day in Northam, Western Australia American pilot Steve Fossett took off on his sixth attempt at completing his solo nonstop fly around the world.

Details

The 19th July 2002 is a special date for the international ballooning community: on that day in Northam, Western Australia American pilot Steve Fossett took off on his sixth attempt at completing his solo nonstop fly around the world.

Steve Fossett’s balloon on the launch day, 19th of July 2002. Picture curtesy of Shire of Northam.

Today is 19th of June 2016. Our Russian-English-Australian team, based in Northam, 100 km from Indian Ocean, is waiting for favourable weather conditions. All our gear has finally arrived at the launch site from all over the world.

Meteorologists have started monitoring the weather for the take-off of the balloon ‘Morton’.

Almost a full day of calm dry weather is needed to assemble the balloon and fill it with helium. In the morning, the crew will cover the field between taxiways with a special material that will protect the delicate envelop fabric from any damage. Then we will unload the containers: the external envelope that is made of three parts and the internal, gas envelope. The local AFL team will be helping us with this task. The objective is to put everything together, lay down various cables inside and prepare the balloon to be filled with helium.

This preparation work will utilize all daylight hours. We will have some rest in the evening and start filling the envelope at about midnight; 10,000 cubic meters of helium will be pumped into the gas cell of the balloon. After the balloon stands upright, all the systems will be checked again and the pilot will enter the gondola. The next steps will be testing the radio and notifying the Control Tower that we are ready for the launch. The dawn shall see the balloon “Morton” taking off. That is the plan; altogether we are looking at 24 hours of work with short breaks.

The weather:

As can be seen from the diagram above, established jet streams are expected at the altitude of 7,000 m from 23th of June onwards (green line). However, because of its maximum load (10 tonnes) during the first days of flight, the Roziere balloon ‘Morton’ won’t be able to reach this altitude.  At lower altitude the wind streams are travelling in the wrong direction for our flight plan, hence, are also unsuitable (blue and red lines).

What we need are the jet streams to descend to approx. 5,000 m and at least 12 hours of calm dry weather on the ground. At present we continue monitoring the weather while the pilot is fine-tuning the equipment.

Translated by Galina Abrossimova



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14.06.2016

News from Australia

Preparations for the round-the-world balloon flight are in full swing in Northam, West Australia, where local aero club hosts Fedor Konyukhov's crew and the equipment. By the time of our arrival to Northam, gondola and burners were already delivered from the UK by our partner, DHL.

Details

Preparations for the round-the-world balloon flight are in full swing in Northam, West Australia, where local aero club hosts Fedor Konyukhov's crew and the equipment. By the time of our arrival to Northam, gondola and burners were already delivered from the UK by our partner, DHL.

By now, the gondola equipment and the burners passed all tests successfully; Cameron Balloons’ representatives are happy with the results.

Several days ago we received three containers with helium with a total volume of 10,000 cubic meters. The supplier, Supagas, sent their technicians to ensure the launch pad is in proper order and to perform other essential prep tasks.

At present we are only one step behind the schedule: the container shipped by Kuehne & Nagel from the UK to Australia, is still going through the customs in Fremantle. Fortunately, there’s only envelop and empty gas bottles there, but the crew is anxious to get everything together to finalise the preparations in time.

At the same time, Fedor Konyukhov passed the tests to obtain temporary certificate of balloon pilot, necessary for performing flights in Australia.

As planned, from the 20th of June we start monitoring meteorologic conditions in order to define launch date. The launch is not expected to happen prior to the above date.  

Translated by Galina Abrossimova

 



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14.06.2016

DHL Express delivers the equipment for `Around the world roziere balloon flight’ record

DHL Express is the official logistics partner of the ‘Round the world roziere balloon flight’ project undertaken by prominent Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov. As logistics partner, DHL provided delivery of equipment for the flight, including balloon gondola.

Details

DHL Express has successfully delivered another unique shipment – the equipment and gondola for a new world record – a non-stop round-the-world balloon flight by the famous Russian traveler and adventurer Fedor Konyukhov. The capsule of the balloon, specially created for Fedor’s flight, was shipped from Bristol, UK where it had been produced, to Northam, Western Australia, from where the project will lift off.

To make it happen DHL Express drew on the power of its international express network. The route was designed specifically for the project, taking into consideration the special requirements and unprecedented dimensions of the load. Throughout the itinerary, the shipment was carried by the company’s largest cargo freighters and was under the total control of DHL experts at every stage of the journey.

The route was made from Bristol, UK to Perth, Australia via Leipzig, Bangkok and Singapore in order to provide the optimal conditions for the shipment and maximum control (see infographics).

Fedor has underlined that logistics is ‘a crucially important part of the project, and the delivery of gondola and equipment is a big event. The transportation was performed on a highly professional level on all the stages of delivery’. The team of the project also stressed that customs clearance was perfectly organized. It took only a few hours to go through customs formalities, which is a unique case for such an unusual shipment and complex customs control regulations’.

Specialists started assembling the equipment right after the delivery. According to the latest estimations, all equipment of the project will be ready by June, 19. And then the start date will depend on the weather conditions to minimize the risks of tropical storms and cyclones.

DHL Express has been supporting Fedor`s project for a long time already. Prior to the current project, DHL delivered Fedor’s rowing boat at the end of 2015 from England to the adventurer’s residence in Moscow. The boat was used to set a record when Fedor crossed the Pacific Ocean with unassisted, solo rowing in 2012.

Adrian Marley, Managing Director at DHL Express Russia, CIS and SEE comments on the partnership: ‘‘We are glad to support Fedor’s ambitious and incredibly impressive projects. At DHL Express, we stick to a ‘can do' attitude in every step we take. This means believing in one`s own success, abilities and the capacity to do things that others wouldn’t dare to try. We wish him success in setting the new world record.’

Fedor is planning to set a new world record by completing a solo non-stop flight around the world in a hot air balloon on the first try. The whole journey will take from 15 to 20 days at an altitude from 5,000 to 10,000 meters.

Media Contact:

DHL Express Russia

Media Relations

Svetlana Grebenyuk

Phone: +7 495 961 1001

E-mail: Svetlana.Grebenyuk@dhl.com  



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25.04.2016

MORTON Balloon is sent to the start in Australia

Last week in Bristol (UK), a historic event took place. Morton balloon, in which the traveler and pilot Fedor Konyukhov plans to fly around the world, was officially transferred to Morton Company. Handover of the balloon was held with the participation of Don Cameron, the owner of the company-manufacturer Cameron Balloons, and the management of Morton Company - Alexander Ruchiev, the president, and Oleg Kolchenko, the vice-president.

Details

Last week in Bristol (UK), a historic event took place. Morton balloon, in which the traveler and pilot Fedor Konyukhov plans to fly around the world, was officially transferred to Morton Company. Handover of the balloon was held with the participation of Don Cameron, the owner of the company-manufacturer Cameron Balloons, and the management of Morton Company - Alexander Ruchiev, the president, and Oleg Kolchenko, the vice-president.

The same day, the envelope and 34 fuel cylinders were loaded into 40-foot container for transportation to Australia (Perth) by sea. Travel time is 35 days. The gondola and burners will be sent in mid-May by DHL Company – official logistic partner of round the world flight.

Thus, we can take the interim results of the project preparation of around-the-world flight on the Morton balloon. Cameron Balloons coped with the task and created a unique balloon of Roziere type in time.

“British company Cameron Balloons has many years of successful experience in the manufacture of balloons, so we chose this company to create our Roziere balloon. Balloon manufacturing process started about a year ago, and today the most important stage of preparation for the around-the-world flight is complete - the balloon is ready. We are confident that Cameron Balloons’ specialists applied all their knowledge and experience, and the Morton balloon has true English quality,” - said Alexander Ruchiev, the president of Morton GC.

The manufacture of a balloon was attended by over 50 people. Today, Morton balloon is the largest combined-helium hot air balloon (Roziere) in the world. Its volume is 15 thousand cubic meters, and height - 56 meters. Its height can be compared to the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. Gondola of the aerostat, where the pilot Fedor Konyukhov will be during the flight, is made of ultra-strong and lightweight carbon fiber and equipped with sophisticated avionics instruments.

“Our company creates on average 100-120 different balloon per year, but Morton balloon is special for us. Last time we made such a balloon for more than 15 years ago, when Steve Fossett made the first non-stop around-the-world solo flight”, - said Don Cameron during the official handover of the balloon. - Also, our company was the manufacturer of Breitling Orbiter 3 balloon for a successful around-the-world flight of Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones.”

The owner of Cameron Balloons himself repeatedly made long flights in balloons - including across the Atlantic, as well as from England to the Soviet Union. With extensive experience in aeronautics, he is fully aware of all the risks and complexities associated with such a travel. “It can take a long time to plan, try to figure out all the force majeure, but in the end, it is a journey, and everything can not be foreseen. Much depends on the skill of the pilot, as well as the experience of a meteorologist and equipment reliability,” - said Don Cameron.

During the day balloon will be at a predetermined height due to solar heat and expanding of helium gas injected into the interior cell of the balloon, and at night – due to six gas burners’ work, which will heat up the air under the lower cell. The height, at which the Morton balloon may fly, is at the level of modern aircraft flight 8 - 10 thousand meters. The possible flight speed - 300 km/h. (The current record is 320 kilometers per hour).

Within 14-15 days, the pilot would have to sleep for 3-4 hours, rest of the time he would have to closely monitor the devices and catch favorable air currents. In addition, the pilot will need to regularly leave the inner limits of the gondola to eliminate the icing on the burner, switch the fuel hoses. During the flight, low enough temperature will be maintained inside the gondola and the temperature outside the gondola will vary depending on the altitude and time of day, sometimes reaching -50 degrees.

“Around-the-world flight in a balloon requires not only specialized knowledge and skills, but also a great experience and analysis of previous flights, including unsuccessful attempts, - said Fedor Konyukhov, the pilot Morton balloon. My task is to fly around the world on the first try, while Steven Fossett managed to do it only on the sixth attempt. The results obtained in the course of his attempts, let us hope that we have considered all the possible errors and nuances. Since the previous around-the-world flight, the technology has leaped forward, and we also focus on progress.”

The start of the trip is scheduled for June 2016 from the Australian Northam (WA). Given the fact that the weight of the structure at the start will be closer to 10 tons, the bottom of the balloon is hung with 34 cylinders with propane gas, 12 thousand cubic meters of helium is pumped into the inner shell - this balloon requires special conditions to start. City of Norham is selected for several reasons. It is 100 kilometers inland from the Indian Ocean of the Australian continent, at a sufficient distance from the zone of influence of the sea breeze. Nearby there are no large settlements, exclusion zones, power lines and other restrictions on flights. Great Victoria Desert begins to the east of Northam - an ideal platform for a slow and controlled gradual climb to check all systems before the balloon starts to fly over the Pacific Ocean. It is planned that the balloon will cross Australia within 2 days and will be released in the Tasman Sea.

The route of around-the-world trip will take place over three continents and three oceans: Australia - Tasman Sea - New Zealand - Pacific Ocean - South America (Chile and Argentina) - Atlantic Ocean - Africa (South Africa, Cape of Good Hope) - the Indian Ocean and the finish in Australia. The length of the route will be about 33-35 thousand kilometers.

 

 



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04.03.2016

Round-the-world flight balloon update

3 of March 2016 Breitling.com held a press conference with Russian adventurer and balloon pilot Fedor Konyukhov celebrating Breitling being appointed as official time-keeper for the Morton Round-the-World balloon flight.

Details

3 of March 2016 Breitling.com held a press conference with Russian adventurer and balloon pilot Fedor Konyukhov celebrating Breitling being appointed as official time-keeper for the Morton Round-the-World balloon flight.

Fedor Konyukhov Pilot and adventurer (centre) is pictured with his new Breitling Emergency watch, with Alexander Ruchev (MORTON CEO) left & Arsen Balayan (Breitling Russia).

In the entire history of the world of aviation, there have been only two successful non-stop flights around-the-world by balloon, both of these were built by Cameron Balloons in Bristol.

In March 1999, two pilots: Bertrand Piccard (Swiss) & Brian Jones (British) flew "Breitling Orbiter 3" flew around-the-world, in 19 days, 21 hours & 55 minutes around the northern hemisphere travelling about 40 thousand kilometers.

In June 2002, the American Steve Fossett (sixth attempt) flew non-stop around-the-world in a Bristol-made balloon taking just 13 days, 8 hours & 33 minutes around the southern hemisphere.

Now Cameron Balloons are building a Roziere balloon for Fedor Konyukhov.

Fedor explains 'I was inspired by Breitling Orbiter 3 and almost 20 years later I wanted to try to repeat this project. The Breitling Emergency watch is known worldwide for its advanced projects in aviation and aeronautics. I am glad that Breitling supports the Russian round-the-world flight and will be the official time-keeper for the flight'

Russian pilot Fedor Konyukhov will try to improve the current world record and will attempt to fly around the globe faster than Steve Fossett.

During the last 13 years Cameron Balloons has developed technologies, materials and delivery systems all of which Fedor will rely on for his success and survival.



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28.01.2016

Successful world record attempt for an AX-9 hot air balloon

If on January 25, 2016, you happened to be in the vicinity of the small Russian city Kovrov in the Vladimir region, you would not only have been extremely cold in the mid -20 ⁰C, but would have witnessed a low flying hot air balloon. Displaying a bright white, red, and blue checkered design and the B&NBANK logo, the balloon moved slowly eastward, with a small flame from a burner shining as a beacon in the still and cold morning air.

Details

If on January 25, 2016, you happened to be in the vicinity of the small Russian city Kovrov in the Vladimir region, you would not only have been extremely cold in the mid -20 ⁰C, but would have witnessed a low flying hot air balloon.

Displaying a bright white, red, and blue checkered design and the B&NBANK logo, the balloon moved slowly eastward, with a small flame from a burner shining as a beacon in the still and cold morning air. If you were to trudge the snowy fields in the direction of the flying vessel, you would have run into a group of people dressed in multiple layers of winter clothing that were driving Toyota Hilux pickup trucks. They would explain to you that the balloon above was being piloted by two Russians, Fedor Konyukhov and Ivan Menyaylo who are trying to set a new world record for time aloft in an AX-9 hot air balloon. The previous record of 29 hours 14 minutes was set by an American William Bussey on January 25, 1993. After 30 hours of flying the B&NBANK balloon the two Russians were still in the air determined to last as long as possible.  While the freezing air temperature proved to be one of the most trying aspects of this endeavor, it would provide the ideal conditions for the longest duration flight.

If you decided to accept an invitation and stay with the support group for two more hours, you would learn a few interesting facts about this flight and what went into its preparation. By the time the balloon landed after being in the air for a total of 32 hours and 12 minutes, you'd have a good idea of what had motivated Fedor Konyukhov and Ivan Menyaylo to undertake such a flight and why it had to be done during one of the coldest months of the year.

It all began in the fall of 2014, when Fedor Konyukhov was taking a piloting course in order to obtain the required number of flying hours for a hot air balloon pilot’s license. The training hours that turned into weeks and months, and a successful passing of the license exam, were a part of the bigger plan, which Fedor Konyukhov has been working on for the last two decades.  He plans to become the first Russian to fly solo around the world on a MORTON Rozière balloon, manufactured by Cameron Balloons in UK. Fedor’s flying instructor was Ivan Menyaylo, a Russian representative of Cameron Balloons and the director of Aerowaltz company specializing in renting and providing private tours on hot air balloons. As they were practicing the art of flying an AX- 9 balloon, Fedor and Ivan decided to work together towards improving on one of the standing records for an AX-9 hot air balloon. The record they set their sights on was the longest time aloft set by Russian Vladimir Gladkov, who in 2013 kept his balloon in the air for 17 hours and 49 minutes. 

In March of 2015 Fedor and Ivan were ready to take on the Russian standing record and successfully lasted in the air for 19 hours and 10 minutes. Their balloon and equipment were supplied by the Russian company RUSBAL. The successful flight encouraged the pilots to aim at setting a new world record for the longest time aloft.  

Based on their experience in 2015 when they were in the air for more than 19 hours both day and night, the pilots decided to implement a few adjustments that would help them last longer during the new world record attempt. For example, this year the gondola basket weighed about 40 kg, two times lighter than the one in 2015. The craft was equipped with 50 light tanks of propane gas that were made in Hungary and assembled by RUSBAL.   

The pilots were ready for take-off since December 1, 2015. However, the weather was not cooperating, kept pouring rain, and wet snow all month long. Not only was the start keep postponed, but even the training flights had to be cut short. The weather prognosis showed that during January 24 - 25 there would be a window of opportunity to attempt the record flight. The air temperature was in the mid -20 ⁰C, dropping to -32 ⁰C at night.  There was a light breeze and full moon under a clear sky. The location for the start was determined in advance. One of the airstrips of Sonino airfield, in Tula region (120 km south of Moscow), had to be maintained and cleared of snow throughout the week preceding the start date.

The pilot’s winter clothing was supplied by Red Fox (St Petersburg). The whole body suit reminded Fedor of his ascents of Mt. Everest.  During the flight even with the best gear the pilots still struggled to stay warm. A pilot doesn’t get to move around much and generate body heat. To keep the weight of the basket as light as possible, even the food and thermoses with hot drinks had to be kept to a bare minimum.

The 50 jettison tanks of propane gas circled the gondola at the beginning of the flight. It was estimated that this amount of fuel should last long enough to set the record time.  An empty tank weighing 13 kg would have to be dropped off right away.  Given the trajectory of the flight, sometimes the dropped tanks would land in the middle of pristine fields covered with snow or on remote roads that haven’t been plowed for weeks.  The support team needed not only good snow boots but more importantly a reliable vehicle that could drive in snow and ice; night and day to follow the balloon and retrieve the empty tanks. A Toyota Hilux pickup truck was the ideal vehicle to tackle the unpredictable and severe conditions.

Lenovo ThinkPad tablets were used as communication devices for the pilots and the support team on land. Despite the freezing air temperature, the equipment worked beautifully.

The burners supplied by RUSBAL worked the entire 32 hours without any signs of slowing down.  During the first 30-40 minutes of the flight the burner temperature was 155 ⁰C, than 3 hours later the temperate was fixed at 120 ⁰C to provide a steady and strong flame.

Communication with the Air Traffic Control services was the sole responsibility of the support team on land. Based on lessons learned during the 2015 flight, the pilots knew the importance of good communication with air traffic control. This year, the team had a designated person in Moscow office, who was in charge of contacting the local authorities. The pilots were able to focus on navigating the balloon, changing and releasing empty fuel tanks, removing ice from equipment, and conserving their energy to stay warm.  

Condensation of warm air inside the envelope allowed water to accumulate and run down the fabric only to freeze rapidly at the base of the envelope. Some of the condensation runoff would escape and continue to drip onto the equipment in the gondola threatening to cover everything with a thin layer of ice. Both pilots had to work hard to prevent the icing inside of the gondola, and especially the fuel tanks. This challenge has to be addressed before the pilots’ next flight in freezing temperatures.

This 32 hour record flight was not only a chance to set a world record but a great experiment that will be invaluable in preparations for the pilots’ next ambitious goal - flying from the North Pole to mainland (landing in either Russia, Canada, the USA, Norway or Greenland). The new balloon will have an envelope of 10,000 cubic meters the largest yet to be made in Russia. The team plans to take off from the Barneo polar station in April of this year. The North Pole flight will be another huge step forward in perfecting piloting skills and selecting equipment and supplies for Konyukhov’s first attempt to fly solo around the world in June 2016.

Fedor Konyukhov reflecting on the 32 hour flight: “Prior to the start Ivan and I had a couple of goals that we were hoping to achieve. First and foremost, we wanted to beat our own record of 19 hours. This was by far the most important goal. The balloon was extremely heavy and the amount of fuel we needed was very large. The next goal was to last 24 hours if we manage to surpass our 19 hour mark. When the sunrise greeted us after long hours of freezing darkness, we knew that the long standing record of 29 hours set by William Bussey in 1993 was within our reach. We pressed on. The fact that we lasted through the most difficult part of the flight - the night - gave us a huge boost of confidence. Before too long we were in the air for 30 hours, and the additional two hours were rather enjoyable. In the end, we had reached 32 hours and 12 minutes. This record attempt belongs not only to us but to our support team; without their dedication this achievement wouldn’t be possible.”

Ivan Menyaylo was very encouraged by the amount of interest and support this flight has generated: “In life, any record and achievement is based on human ability and determination. It also depends on technical capabilities of the equipment. The end result is not only a successful record attempt, but a new horizon for future achievements.  This new record is not for us to keep. We hope that it will promote the sport of aviation, air ballooning, and in general, a healthy and adventurous lifestyle in Russia. It was incredible to watch so many people taking a huge interest in our flight. Thousands of people were watching us thanks to the live coverage by the mass media. We received hundreds of text messages with warm wishes from our countrymen and people from other countries.  Our hope is that as we continue our balloon flying adventures many young people will show interest in this sport and will pursue education in aviation.”

This record attempt is subject to FAI approval and ratification. Application was submitted to FAI and can be tracked here.

 

Proud Sponsor and Partners of the AX-9 B&NBANK flights:

B&NBANK – main sponsor of the project

DHL – transportation logistics partner

TOYOTA HILUX – land transportation partner

LENOVO – official IT partner

RED FOX – technical equipment and clothing partner

FORWARD – technical equipment and clothing partner

Translated by Tatiana Koreski



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19.11.2015

Seven months until the Round the World launch and counting

In mid-December 2015, Fedor Konyukhov will travel to Cameron Balloons to assess yet another stage of the manufacturing the MORTON GROUP record-breaking attempt balloon and in June of 2016 Fedor Konyukhov will attempt to fly solo and non-stop around the world in a balloon.

Details

In mid-December 2015, Fedor Konyukhov will travel to Cameron Balloons to assess yet another stage of the manufacturing the MORTON GROUP record-breaking attempt balloon and in June of 2016 Fedor Konyukhov will attempt to fly solo and non-stop around the world in a balloon.

Fedor Konyukhov explains, that the idea to fly around the world in a balloon first came to him in 1992. “I was stationed at a base camp of Mt. Everest, preparing to climb the summit, when I heard talk of a flight, the year before over Mt. Everest by balloon. Since that time I’ve been working towards my dream to fly around the world in a balloon. I have worked on this project for the last 23 years.”  The main sponsor for the project is MORTON GROUP, who are leaders in large-scale residential construction in Russia. MORTONS GROUPS’ support and sponsorship has been instrumental in making this dream a reality.

As of today, there have been only two successful circumnavigations by balloon. In March of 1999 Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones flew around the world on the Breitling Orbiter 3. The flight lasted almost 20 days (19 days, 21 hours, 55 minutes). This was their third attempt. The two-man team chose to fly in the Northern Hemisphere taking off in the Swiss Alps and landing in Egypt, covering a distance of 40 thousand kilometres. 

In June of 2002, an American pilot Steven Fossett undertook his sixth attempt to fly The Spirit of Freedom around the world. This turned out to be a successful flight, which lasted 13 days, 8 hours and 33 minutes. Steve Fossett chose to fly in the Southern Hemisphere, taking off and landing in Australia, flying a distance of 33 thousand kilometres. 

Breitling Orbiter 3 and The Spirit of Freedom were both designed and manufactured by British company Cameron Balloons. Naturally, this was the only company that Fedor Konyukhov and his team trusted to build a balloon that would be fit to fly around the world in 2016.  It has been thirteen years since the American solo flight around the world. During these years, technology, materials, and equipment for ballooning has made significant advances and improvements. Fedor Konyukhov will rely on many of these new innovations. However, as the legendary aviator, Don Cameron Managing Director, Cameron Balloons noted, ‘to circumnavigate the world on a first attempt, will be by far, one of the biggest achievements in the history of lighter-than-air flight.’ 

The MORTON GROUP balloon is expected to reach top speeds of 300 km/hour (Steve Fossett’s record speed was 320 km/hour).
During the flight Fedor Konyukhov will only be able to sleep in short periods of 30-45 minutes, in total just 4 hours in a 24 hour period. Periodically, he will have to; send data to mission control, eat, keep warm, complete navigation tasks, check fuel calculations, read instruments and change fuel tanks as they are used as well as clear ice from equipment. Fedor’s work will be performed often at altitudes of 5000 to10,000 metres, at a speed of 100-200 km/hr and at temperatures of around negative 40 degrees Celsius.

The envelope is a Cameron Balloons Rozière design, it combines the advantages of helium and hot air technologies to create a balloon capable of extended flights. A large cell of helium is placed within a specially designed hot-air balloon. Six hot-air burners warm the helium at night, while a system of insulation and vents reduce the effect of solar-heating during the day. The result is a balloon that remains at a fairly constant altitude, conserving helium and making it possible to remain aloft for lengthy periods. The propane gas will fuel the six hot-air burners for up to 20 days. The cylinders will be mounted along each sides of the gondola. The balloon will carry 34 cylinders, each weighing nearly 200kg. As the majority of the flight will be over the ocean, the gondola must also have life raft features - should an emergency landing on water be required. The gondola, or capsule, is made from carbon fibre material, with two keels at the bottom, one ‘bubble’ hatch, and one lookout window. The gondola interior will waste no weight on luxury and will seem sparse. The main elements for the gondola are Fedor’s navigation and instrument flight deck and a sleeping bench, food rations, water and as he will be at a cruising altitude of about 5 thousand metres an oxygen supply is also crucial. Fedor will wear an oxygen mask, similar to the one he used during his two summit climbs of Mt. Everest. In fact, in order to acclimatize his body to the high altitudes he will spend a couple of weeks in one of Mt. Everest’s base camps at an elevation of 5 thousand metres. From the Himalayas, he will then fly straight to Northam, Australia where he will receive the MORTON GROUP balloon delivered from the UK by the packaging and delivery company DHL. 

The flight around the world will symbolize the collaborative spirit among many specialists from different countries. The main sponsorship and equipment is of Russian origin; designing and manufacturing provided by the UK; the autopilot is supplied from Holland; a meteorologist from Belgium has agreed to join the team; consultants from the UK, USA and Australia are providing expertise in regards to preparing the balloon for flight, maintaining the balloon aloft and of course, the start and finish will be in Australia.

 

The flight will launch from the Southern Hemisphere: Australia and fly over the Tasman Sea - New Zealand - Pacific Ocean - South America (Chile and Argentina) - the Falkland Islands - the Atlantic Ocean - Africa (South Africa, Cape of Good Hope) - the Indian Ocean - finally landing back in Australia.

The total distance of the flight is expected to be 33-35 thousand kilometres. 

The total volume of the MORTON GROUP balloon is 18,000 cubic meters; the height of the entire craft when inflated is 56 meters and will weigh approximately 10 tons at the start - nearly half of which will be fuel. GLONASS will provide GPS services. Helium and propane will be supplied by Gazprom.

Proud Sponsors & Partners of the Round the World Balloon Flight 2016:

MORTON GROUPMain sponsor of the project

DHL – transportation logistics partner

NEW TOYOTA HILUX – land transportation partner

LENOVO – official IT partner

RED FOX – technical equipment and clothing partner

FORWARD – technical equipment and clothing partner

Fedor Konyukhov Press Contact : Oscar Konyukhov +7 (925) 771 29 91 oscar75@yandex.ru



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05.11.2015

The row boat K9 has reached its final destination – Moscow, Russia

On November 5th, 2015 Fedor Konyukhov’s ocean row boat Tourgoyak (K9) arrived to her final destination in Moscow, Russia. After a successful crossing of the South Pacific Ocean from Chile to Australia in 160 days, the boat was packed and shipped to England where it spent almost a year awaiting for a perfect opportunity and shipping company to travel home.

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On November 5th, 2015 Fedor Konyukhov’s ocean row boat Tourgoyak (K9) arrived to her final destination in Moscow, Russia.  After a successful crossing of the South Pacific Ocean from Chile to Australia in 160 days, the boat was packed and shipped to England where it spent almost a year awaiting for a perfect opportunity and shipping company to travel home.  Such an opportunity was presented by DHL company who offered to transport Tourgoyak from England to Moscow straight to the doorsteps of Fedor Konyukhov’s art studio in the center of the city.

Fedor Konyukhov reflects: “Seeing the boat arriving to my residence was very emotional.  I immediately remembered my days on the ocean, the events of leaving Concon in Chile, long months of solitude, stressful times of navigating around the French Polynesia, and a warm welcome in Australia.  When the boat arrived to England it was stored at my friend’s, Simon Chalk.  I was looking forward to finally having Tourgoyak here, in my studio, where every adult and child can visit, see and touch the boat that was my home for 160 days while crossing the biggest ocean on the planet.  Against Moscow’s skyscrapers the boat looks even smaller than back on the ocean. I am thankful for the professionalism of the DHL Company, who took good care of the boat while transporting it from England to Moscow.  I admit that it was a rather unusual cargo, but the company did a superb job and delivered the boat in a very short time, just as promised. ”



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04.11.2015

Letter of support from Sir Richard Branson

"I have received letter of support from Sir Richard Branson. This is a great news. He always inspired me by his projects in the air, in the ocean, on land. Even he was not always the first to achieve the goal but he was pushing the limits, creating completions, investing into technology, promoting sports".

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"I have received letter of support from Sir Richard Branson. This is a great news. He always inspired me by his projects in the air, in the ocean, on land. Even he was not always the first to achieve the goal but he was pushing the limits, creating completions, investing into technology, promoting sports. Richard holds several balloon world records.  

In July 1987 first to cross the Atlantic Ocean from USA to UK in hot air balloon. Distance covered 4,947 km (3,074 miles) in 33 hours.

January 1991 first hot-air balloon flight across the Pacific. Distance covered = 7,671.9-km (4,767.1-mi) from Japan to Canada in the Virgin Otsuka Pacific Flyer in 46 hr 15 min.

Between 1995 and 1998, Richard Branson attempted to circumnavigate the globe by balloon. In late 1998 he made a record-breaking flight from Morocco to Hawaii but were unable to complete a global flight before Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones in Breitling Orbiter 3 in March 1999".

Fedor Konyukhov



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