Record Attempt Balloon Headed To Canada
Two balloonists are most of the way across the Pacific Ocean and headed for landfall over southern British Columbia according their latest tracking prediction.
Leonid Tiukhtyaev, of Russia and Troy Bradley, of the U.S., left Japan last Saturday in Two Eagles, a helium-filled balloon. They’re trying to be the first balloonists to cross the Pacific since 1981. They’re also hoping to set a flight duration record of more than five days and 17 hours set in 1978.
The duo had hoped to hit the California coast and drift across the deserts of the southwestern U.S. but the prevailing winds are sending them toward Canada.
“The current trajectories suggest the balloon may cross the North American coast in southern Canada, possibly around Vancouver Island, sometime on Thursday or Friday,” said the expedition’s Web site. The duration record will be exceeded at 8:45 a.m. Friday.
“The pilots and support team are assessing all of the factors involved, including weather, landing conditions, and remaining resources (gas and sand ballast for maneuvering), to determine how far inland they might choose to fly.”
Depending where exactly on the West Coast they hit land, the landing options might be quite limited because of the mountainous terrain.
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