Fedor Konyukhov
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Putting a string around the world with a balloon: the Konyukhov RTW flight weather strategy

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.

Successful solo flight - great team work

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.

Appeal To The Public

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.

Where will he land?

Morton FCC ( Flight Control Centre) is currently working overtime to prepare for final phase of Fedor's RTW Balloon flight.

Balloon MORTON on its way to Australia

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.

Flying over the ocean

Morton balloon has crossed the longitude of 163 degrees east and is currently flying in New Zealand airspace. Last night, the pilot Fedor Konyukhov left the Green continent in the hopes of circumnavigating the globe and returning to welcoming Australian soil.

Day 2

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.

Liftoff!

The Russian Rozière hot-air balloon Morton completed a successful takeoff from Northam airport in Western Australia on 12 July, the point of liftoff being recorded as 7:30 am local time.

Round the world balloon launch is postponed until next week

Based on weather forecast and recommendation from weather adviser the team have decided to abandon the Saturday morning launch. The conditions remain difficult due to the active cold front. The balloon would travel with it over its entire length till Tasmania, with an important precipitation and icing risk, possibly making the balloon heavier and obliging it to go to lower levels.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Around the world on roziere balloon - Project Completed

After completing his solo row across the South Pacific Ocean from Chile to Australia in May 2014, Fedor Konyukhov announced that he intends to be back to the Green continent in the summer of 2016 for a quest to fly solo around the world on a Roziere balloon.

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.

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.

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.

A memorial plinth to commemorate the transpacific rowing is erected in Mooloolaba, Australia

Last week Fedor Konyukhov arrived in the City of Mooloolaba, Australia where almost a year ago he finished his transpacific row on the city’s public beach. Fedor Konyukhov was invited by the city council to attend the opening ceremony of a commemorative plinth dedicated to his 2014 solo trip from Chile to Australia on the 9 meter long ocean rowboat “Tourgoyak”.

Fedor Konyukhov visits Cameron Balloons, the world's largest balloon maker

After completing his solo row across the South Pacific Ocean from Chile to Australia, Fedor Konyukhov announced that he intends to be back to the Green continent in the summer of 2015 for a daring adventure to fly solo around the world on a helium/hot-air balloon (Roziere).

Fedor Konyukhov is back home in Moscow, Russia

On June 8th Fedor arrived at the Moscow airport in Domodedovo to be greeted by an excited crowd of his Russian friends, family, fans and supporters. The long journey from Moscow to Chile; across the Pacific Ocean on a row boat from Chile to Australia; and then flying back home from Australia to Russia has officially come to an end.

The row boat Tourgoyak has left the Pacific

On December 1st, 2013 the Tourgoyak boat was released into the waters of the Pacific Ocean at the Chilean yacht-club Higuerillas (Concon, Valparaiso region). Today, May 3rd, 2014 it was lifted from the water and put on keel blocks at the Australian yacht-club of Mooloolaba.

Land at last! Day 160

On Saturday, May 31st, 2014 at 13:13 Brisbane time, Tourgoyak landed on the east coast of Australia finishing the continent to continent rowing marathon across the Pacific Ocean. Fedor Konyukhov had crossed the largest ocean on the planet solo, non-stop, unassisted and in a record time of 160 days.

Update from Fedor Konyukhov

30 of May 18:00 local time. Fedor reported that he is 27 miles from entry to Mooloolaba river (light House). Averaging 1.5-2 knots. Winds S-E-E 10-15 knots. Not much current. Surrounded by 7 trawlers, they are not approaching to him. He expect to be within 5 miles from the coast at 8:00 A.M. on Saturday.

Preparations to meet Fedor Konyukhov are underway

If the weather cooperates, Fedor will arrive to Mooloolaba Marina morning Saturday, May 31st. The current plan is that Fedor's transpacific crossing is scheduled to take place at The Yacht Club Inc. which is located at 33-45 Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba, Queensland 4557. Everyone wishing to see Fedor's arrival is welcomed to come to The Yacht club Commodore dock, located right in front of the main building.

Tourgoyak from Above

On Thursday, May 29th, the land support team for Fedor Konyukhov's expedition across the Pacific flew 70 miles into the ocean to see Fedor and his row boat. Initially, we were going to take off when Fedor would be only 50 miles away from the coast. However, the last 24 hours turned out to be very challenging for rowing: Fedor entered the coastal current that carried him north during the night but by morning it turned around and started pushing him south.

90 miles before the finish

It's the morning of May 28th. Last night went well, the wind was weak but shifting. I could accomplish 38 miles in the last 24 hours. It's a good result considering the situation. Right now, the most important thing is to keep the course steady, which means I'll have to sacrifice some speed. I can no longer just follow the wind but must row strictly west. Currently the wind is northerly and later today it is expected to blow from the north-west.

150 miles until the land. Day 155

The ocean is still, like a lake. A weak wind is from the south-east. I only did 35 miles since yesterday. If I keep this tempo, God willing, I'll see the Australian coast by the end of the week. I don't want to get ahead of myself though, the weather is too unstable.

Day 153

It's the morning of May 24th. Last night was fair and uneventful. At sundown, I saw 5 whales going north, and thankfully, they didn't pay the slightest attention to me. At the sight them I froze and brought the oars back on deck. When whales are around, it's better to not attract their attention.

250 miles left to go. Day 152

The last 24 hours were great; Tourgoyak and I covered an entire one degree. The wind is east-north-easterly, 10-12 knots. The waves are helping the boat along the course. There were six flying fish on deck this morning. I am not fishing any more, to save time, but it's nice to get a surprise like this. I cooked three of them and the other three are drying on the railings.

5 months at sea

It's the morning of May 22. Last night went well. The wind is weak, less than 10 knots. The 40 miles covered is a good result considering I have no help from the wind. There is no current, the ocean is calm: not helping but not interfering either. I'm praying that it will continue this way. I'm in full control of the boat: I can turn it south-west, west, or north-west. I'm at the latitude of the Mooloolaba marina, and will stay here until the end. There are 300 miles left to go.

9000 miles behind the stern. Day 149

I’m staying on course. The weather is stable. The wind is 10-15 knots. The waves are 1 meter tall from the south-east. There are 350 nautical miles until Australia. As of today, Tourgoyak and I have covered 9000 nautical miles (16200 km). I don’t like getting ahead of myself, but I must say that my team and I have correctly estimated the duration of my route across the Pacific.

500 miles to go!

The Ocean is driving me west, towards Australia. For the last 48 hours the wind would not lower down than 25 knots, and oftentimes the gusts would reach 35 knots. The surface of the ocean is completely white. These conditions are very difficult for an ocean row boat. It’s challenging, or even impossible, to effectively row in such a strong wind. The boat, propelled by the wind and the waves, is already going at 3 knots speed.

Day 144. 700 miles to go!

The wind is south-east, 25-30 knots, with gusts of up to 35 knots. Tourgoyak and I covered 70 miles in the last 24 hours. The port side is ballasted. In general, the boat stays steady when the waves slam at her. In fact, Tourgoyak rises above the waves and only the wind crests plunge hard onto the deck. When that happens, the port side gives a sharp roll and there is a risk of capsizing.

Day 142

I left Norfolk island (Australia) at the port side. There are no more islands to pass or to stay away from. The only land ahead is the continent of Australia, but it’s still 780 nautical miles away. The wind is south-east, 15+ knots, and it’s expected to raise up to 25 knots. The week is going to be windy with the gusts up to 30 knots. The formation of a new front will bring steady south-east wind for the next thousand miles. If nothing interrupts this front my boat will advance rapidly.