Bal­loon record in the air

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

CAN­BERRA, Aus­tralia: A 65- year- old Rus­sian ad­ven­turer is on the brink of set­ting a record for fly­ing solo in a bal­loon around the world non- stop and ex­pected to land in Aus­tralia to­day.

Fedor Konyukhov hopes to land in the wheat fields near Northam in West­ern Aus­tralia state, shav­ing two days off the record of 13 days and eight hours set by Amer­i­can busi­ness­man Steve Fos­sett in 2002, Os­car Konyukhov said.

Konyukhov lifted off from Northam at 7.30am lo­cal time on July 12 in a car­bon box 2m high, 2m long and 1.8m wide sus­pended from a 56m-tall he­lium and hot-air bal­loon.

The father had another 3 000km to go be­fore he hoped to cross the south­west tip of Aus­tralia at 00:00 GMT.

The 1.6 ton bal­loon had flown 31 000km by yes­ter­day at an av­er­age speed of 128km/h – ANA-AP

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