After 19 hours and 10 minutes in the air the B&N Bank hot air balloon landed on March 15th at 00:54. Fedor Konyukhov and Ivan Menyalo set a new Russian record for the duration in the air on an AX-9 balloon with a size of 3950 cubic meters.
The previous record of 17 hours and 49 minutes was set in February 2013 by a Russian pilot Vladimir Gladkov.
The decision to land in dark, instead of waiting for dawn was made by the pilots with safety being their main goal. Despite having 4 more gallons of fuel they wanted to have a safe landing before reaching the busy airspace of Nizegorodskaya district. The pilots landed the vessel onto a large snowy field in the vicinity of Gubinskaya, Ivanovo oblast. They were greeted with the cheers of their support team. The landing went without a glitch and both pilots are in good physical health.
President of the Balloon Federation of Russia, Leonid Tukhtyaev congratulated both pilots: “Today’s flight is going down in history. A big team has achieved a big accomplishment. Something bigger than us has been done.”
Translated by Tatiana Koreski
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