Konyukhov easily earned the new world record for flying solo around the world in a balloon, landing just after 4:30 PM in Australia on July 23rd. I actually stayed up until just after midnight last night just to watch him cross the finish line. Here is my FOOKING analysis from this morning.
Amazingly - after flying over 21,000 miles around the world in 11 1/2 days, he passed the longitude of his starting point at 1:02 PM Australia time (12:02 AM our time) within one mile of where he lifted off and actually crossed the same airport runway he launched from. He maintained a high altitude over the finish line (18,625 ft) because you certainly don't want to land short after all that effort. He continued about 130 miles NE while descending and had a rough landing about 3 1/2 hours later. Although the official time has not been announced yet - I calculate that he made the trip in 11 days, 5 hours, and 32 minutes blowing away the previous record set in 2002 by Steve Fossett of 13 days, 8 hours, and 33 minutes. Konyukhov is only the second man to successfully fly around the world solo in a balloon. Fossett self financed five failed attempts but got Bud Light to sponsor his sixth attempt when he became the first man to fly around the world solo in a balloon. He also bought a contingency insurance policy for $500,000 that would pay him $3 million if he succeeded in the flight (that sounds more like a bet than an insurance policy). It is reported that Konyukhov's record breaking attempt cost $2 million but I reckon not much if any of that came out of his pocket. The big Morton logo on the balloon is a hint. Morton is a leading Russian developer that specializes in constructing large-scale residential districts in and around Moscow and is one of the 3 largest companies in Russia in terms of construction volume. 91,102,79,0,B