Balloon pilots break records
Two accomplished pilots safely touched down in the water just off the coast of Mexico in their helium-filled balloon after shattering two long-standing records. Troy Bradley of Albuquerque and Leonid Tiukhtyaev of Russia landed 4 miles offshore in Baja California. Bradley and Tiukhtyaev lifted off from Japan last Sunday morning. By Friday, they beat what’s considered the “holy grail” of ballooning achievements, the 137-hour duration record set in 1978 by the Double Eagle crew of Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson and Larry Newman in the first balloon flight across the Atlantic. They also easily exceeded the distance record of 5,209 miles set by the Double Eagle V team during the first trans-Pacific flight in 1981. By the time they landed Saturday, the pilots had traveled 6,646 miles over six days, 16 hours and 38 minutes.