Longest distance flight in a helium balloon-world record set
by David Hempleman
[July 6] DIJON, France-- The British explorer David Hempleman-Adams
has set a new world record by flying across the Atlantic and completing
the longest distance ever travelled in a helium balloon.
David Hempleman-Adams took just four days to travel 3,379km from
Canada to France - a new record for the longest distance flight
in his size of balloon.
The 50-year-old completed the 2,100-mile journey in
four days in the smallest hot air balloon ever to make the transatlantic
crossing. Organizers of the voyage say it is the smallest gas balloon
ever to attempt this flight.
The businessman, from Box, Wiltshire, flew over the
coast of Brittany, northern France, after setting off from Newfoundland
in Canada. He endured temperatures of minus 20C, little sleep, and
the terrifying thought that he could crash-land into the ocean hundreds
of miles away from help.
Hempleman-Adams flew below 16,000ft, the altitude
at which oxygen is required, and cruised at up to 12,000ft. He was
forced to continually drop sandbags from the basket to make the
balloon go higher to catch the optimum winds.
The balloon uses only helium and sand as ballast
so the challenge will have a zero carbon footprint.
Oh My Cod: David Hempleman-Adams kisses a cod as part of a Newfoundland
good-luck tradition before taking off
He had to rely on the wind to keep him going and only
slept for three hours a day, in 30-minute naps, while surviving
on a typically British diet of pork scratchings and ginger nuts.He
said it was fantastic to see dry land again, but despite the harsh
conditions, he would miss the balloon. "It flew like a dream," he
said. "It did everything I asked of it. It's beautiful."
1998 Hempleman-Adams became the first person to reach the geographic
and magnetic North and South Poles as well as climb the highest
peaks in all seven continents. He already holds a number of ballooning
records, including staging the highest formal dinner party, at 24,262ft,
in a specially-designed hot air balloon in 2005. In January he broke
the 26-year-old world hot air balloon altitude record, by ascending
to 32,500ft over Alberta, Canada.
The previous record holder, Benoit Simeons, praised
Hempleman-Adams in a message read during the flight.
Blog, clock here