The 13th of July. Fedor Konyukhov has completed the second set of day light hours flying of his circumnavigation flight. Morton balloon so far has transcended 1650 kilometers, crossed the territory of the State of Western Australia, and is currently flying over the state of South Australia. Fedor Konyukhov is in his second night flying. Yesterday afternoon the pilot undertook a maneuver of turning his balloon to the north. He descended from 7200 meters to 4800 meters. At lower altitudes the wind backs more to the north, but wind speeds drop. At an altitude of 4800 the balloon’s speed did not exceed 30 kilometers per hour. Then it was decided to go back to the height of 6700m, which is 500 meters below the ceiling for day flying. During a solo flight the pilot must perform all actions on his own, must maintain radio contact, keep in touch with his Flight Control Centre in Australia and change empty gas cylinders single-handedly. Today, at an altitude of 7000 meters, Fedor, for the first time, had to clean burners from ice. This will be a regular procedure that the pilot will have to perform before each ignition of the burners.
The ground crew is in constant contact with the aeronautical authorities of Australia. We are trying to obtain permission to climb to the class "A" altitudes to the height of 24,500 feet (FL 245). A permit must issued for flying in zone "A". Morton balloon is getting closer to large airports of the Australian east coast, such as Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. We also keep in touch with air traffic controllers in New Zealand and making initial contact with air traffic controllers in Santiago (Chile) and Mendoza (Argentina).
There is an active discussion in social networks on the subject of whether the record of Steve Fossett will be broken. Of course, it's great to improve the records, but do not forget that in order to set a record, one must first fly around the world. It took 6 attempts for Steve Fossett to achieve that in his balloon Spirit of Freedom. Bertrand Piccard and Brian Johnson (in their Breitling Orbiter 3 balloon) have succeeded only on their 3rd attempt, there were two pilots on board of their balloon and their gondola was pressurised. These should not be compared with the work of a single pilot in a non- pressurised gondola. There are still tens of thousands of kilometres ahead, and every minute the pilot is faced with the task of solving multiple complex problems.
The current time in Northam is 22:00 (Western Australian local time). The entire international team has assembled at the Flight Control Centre, including Don Cameron, who has a flight across the Atlantic and a flight from England to the Soviet Union on a combined Rozière balloon to his credit. John Wallington, holder of an Australian record for crossing the continent from west to east and other experienced pilots are also present. The ground team effort is up to the mark and continues uninterrupted for 24 hours a day.
You can follow the balloon’s path here: https://my.yb.tl/RRTW2016
You can also view the route map at www.iridium360.ru
The official website for the project “Around the world in a Roziere balloon “Morton” can be found at a flyfedor.ru