An orthodox priest ready to set world record in solo balloon flight


World famous Russian adventurer and Orthodox priest, Fedor Konyukhov, has everything ready for his nonstop solo balloon flight around the world, which will require him to survive at a temperature of +5 Celsius and altitude of 11,000 meters for two weeks.

The cargo is expected to arrive in Australia in six weeks, with the start of the flight scheduled for June or July this year.
Konyukhov said that he will repeat the route of US adventurer Steve Fossett, who was first to perform a nonstop solo flight around the world in a balloon in 2002.

The 64-year-old plans to complete the flight in 14 days, while the basket’s helium fuel supply is meant to last for 18 days.

The adventurer described his air balloon as a “giant” weighing 10 tons and standing 56 meters tall.

The construction of the balloon was the result of a massive international effort, “with the basket made in the UK; burners from Italy; fabrics from Spain; the equipment and the pilot are Russian. The US team is going to inflate the balloon. And the autopilot is from the Netherlands,” he explained.

Australia was chosen as the starting and finishing point for the expedition because the “main condition is that the start has to take place in a desert,” Konyukhov said. The balloon constructed for the flight “requires several thousand kilometers to gain momentum or land,” and Great Victoria Desert provides the necessary space, he said.