Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov is now planning to set a new world hot-air balloon altitude record. He was also the pilot who made the fastest non-stop circumnavigation of the globe in 2016 by balloon (Cameron R-550) and even landed almost where he launched from!
And while that hope, may or may not be achieved, one record the 65 year old, priest will definitely have in his name will be that of being the pilot of the world’s largest ever, hot-air balloon. At 3.6 million cubic feet the Cameron Balloons built envelope will be more than twice the size of the one used by Vijaypat Singhania when he climbed to 68,986 ft. (21,027 m) 13 years ago over Mumbai, in India.
Fedor is aiming to fly to reach 25 kilometres, around 82,000 feet AMSL.
In theory, using good conditions, the size of the envelope could lift him even higher to 85,000 feet (25.9 km).
The altitude flight attempt is sponsored by Russian giant Gazprom and The St Luke Charitable Foundation. Beneath the gargantuan envelope carrying their logos will be a fully pressurised, highly sophisticated, capsule. From his racing-car type seat – complete with five point seat-belt and shock absorber base – Fedor will control the numerous kerosene burners on top of the capsule while being able to monitor their performance on screens inside the capsule.
These burners have been created to operate at up to 85,000 feet and Fedor recently saw them tested, running and being re-lit, in an altitude chamber that had been depressurised to the equivalent of 85k.
Fedor would like to make the attempt in his native Russia, but inflating a balloon of this size requires such perfect conditions that other places in the world have to be considered with Northam in Australia, from where he launched his global flight, on the list of possibilities.
And just in case the altitude attempt cannot be made in 2018 Fedor will also fill his time with one of his other numerous projects – to row around the world in stages. He has already rowed from South America to Australia. Now he’s looking at New Zealand to Cape Horn leg of the journey.
Fedor is also planning his next ballooning project too, for after the altitude record: He has in mind to attempt to be the first person to fly twice around the world non-stop.
Fedor is an incredible Adventurer. He was the first person in the world to reach the five poles of the planet – Everest (the highest pole), Cape Horn (the sailors’ pole), the Southern Geographic Pole, the Pole of Relative Inaccessibility in the Arctic Ocean and the North Pole which he has conquered three times.
But for those of us a little less courageous Fedor encourages us all to dream and to ‘stay romantic, saying if the world were without romance, it would be completely boring!’
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