Saturday, July 23, 2016

One for the record books...

It has been a welcome distraction this week following the incredible personal achievement of Fedor Konyukhov over the senseless dribble that has most Facebookers have been frantically agonizing over.  (My term for people on Facebook that are distracted by nonsense and share useless information is FOOKERS)  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



9 comments:

Margery Bills said...

I have been thinking about solar power, but I don't know if it would be worth it to me. The co. Is going to call me. It could be connected with the grid. Water catchment tanks are even sold here and a very few people have them. Water is critical in San Antonio but o.k. now. Solar is being started in San Antonio and brings up the value of a house. But what about hail damage?

John Wells said...

Don't bother with a grid connected system unless you don't have to pay a penny for it. And don't bother with rainwater catchment. If you have lights at the flick of a switch and water on tap, it pays off in the long run to just stick with what you have. A grid connected system only really benefits the utility and doesn't really add much value to the house. And solar panels are pretty hail resistant unless you get frequent baseball sized hail.

John Wells said...

BTW Margery...you are the queen off off topic comments but that is not a complaint. I like to think of your commentary as a blog within a blog. Yours are the only ones I really look forward to.

Rita B. said...

I guess achievements such as this matter little in this world now days. I remember when Branson and a copilot tried and failed, and Fossett made his attempts. Interesting that I've noticed nothing about this flight and success, and I'm a news hog. Have a good weekend John.

Ronald Mahan said...

That is one brave balloonist to fly over the route he chose - which was remote and very dangerous to go down in - prematurely! But he had reliable balloon, and found the high speed winds which enabled him - to set a speed record. Very well done! As for claims by others - the pilot did not sleep for 11 days - I don't believe that! Who would begrudge the pilot a few cat naps over an eleven day period?

Larry G said...

here's another one that captured my imagination:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6U6WDpWtbTY

Margery Bills said...

TY, John, for the advice. You confirmed my questions.

rj said...

I would disagree about the value of a grid tied system, especially in San Antonio. Properly sized you can end up with no electric bill for 20 years. The payoff can be six to ten years with the local and federal rebates factored in. The real issue may be the site orientation to achieve good solar power and the level of insulation and air tightness of your house. An old house that costs $300 a month to cool may not work because of excessive heat gain. Check out the model home just north of Marshall Rd on 281 that has run on solar for years and is (of course) fully air conditioned. Then look at the commercial businesses around town that have solar for it's return on investment including gas stations and car washes. You won't get the full price back when you sell but it will increase the value. You have to get the payback and savings largely while you live there primarily because the general public does noth appreciate medium term gain as much as they do short term wants like the brand new kitchen.

Todd said...

RJ FOOKER drank the kool aide ;p