Balloon crew launches in bid to break 2 major records

25 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AP NewsThe pilots are looking to reach North America, an attempt that will put them on course to break a distance record of 5,208 miles. The Two Eagles balloon is readied for flight in an attempt to cross the Pacific by balloon and set a new world record for distance and duration record for gas balloon travel, in Saga, Japan, January 25, 2015.Balloon pilot Troy Bradley announces plans to fly across the Pacific Ocean with fellow pilot Leonid Tiukhtyaev, of Russia, in Albuquerque, N.M., on Oct. 8.

After experiencing delays earlier this month, an international team aiming to break two major ballooning records finally launched a helium-filled balloon Sunday. They also want to break the flight-duration record set in 1978 when Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson and Larry Newman made the first trans-Atlantic balloon flight. Pilots Troy Bradley, 50, of Albuquerque, and Russian Leonid Tiukhtyaev, 58, set off from Saga, Japan, shortly before 6:30 a.m. local time (just before 2:30 p.m. That record of 137 hours in the air in a traditional gas balloon is considered the holy grail of ballooning achievements. “That’s going to keep us on the edge of our seats for this mission,” Hill said after watching the launch at the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum.

Bradley and Tiukhtyaev’s balloon — dubbed Two Eagles — is outfitted with a high-tech navigation system, basic necessities such as a first-aid kit, and equipment to communicate with the command center. The record was set by Albuquerqueans Ben Abruzzo, Larry Newman and Ron Clark, and Japanese-born American restaurateur Rocky Aoki, who launched from Nagashima, Japan, in November 1981 and landed in California’s Mendocino National Forest. That’s what this is all about.” The balloon, which relies solely on an enclosed chamber of helium gas for lift, is different from hot air balloons and so-called Roziere balloons, which rely on both hot air and lighter-than-air gas. They will subsist on a diet that includes fresh fruit, freeze-dried hikers’ meals, beef jerky and the occasional hot meal prepared on a small stove, and will be equipped with cold weather gear including sleeping bags and a heater. The team, which includes balloonists, a meteorologist, a physician and a search-and-rescue expert, uses satellite phones to talk to the pilots, and there are also several different types of radios inside the aircraft. “On any flight of this nature,” Bradley said at a news conference in October, “there is always the possibility of things going wrong.

If they make it to the US West Coast south of Oregon they will have broken the distance record, Bair said, adding that they could also attempt to fly further, as the craft is believed capable of staying aloft for 10 days. In addition to the record attempts, the flight is being monitored by researchers at Arizona State University who are studying the effects of fatigue on cognitive ability.

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