‘They can make Greece’ – Trans-Pacific record holder Leonid Tiukhtyaev
Leonid Tiukhtyaev broke the long-standing distance and duration records for gas ballooning in 2015 when he and co-pilot Troy Bradley flew 10,711km across the Pacific Ocean. The flight took 160.6 hours.
An experienced Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett pilot himself, he has been at the competition in Gladbeck for the last few days as a special guest. What does he think of the race so far?
“It’s a good one. I think the lead pilots have a good chance of making Greece. Maybe the top five pilots will get there.
“The others will land in Italy – lots will make it there. A few will land today, but they will be the ones in the older or smaller balloons.”
Tiukhtyaev’s flight lasted nearly a week and launched from Japan on 24 January 2015. Their balloon was a massive 350,000 cu ft and was filled with helium gas. The pilots flew in a non-pressurised capsule made out of carbon fibre and Kevlar.
The capsule from this historic journey is now in the International Balloon Museum in Albuquerque, USA.
Photo: Troy Bradley, left, and Leonid Tiukhtyaev in flight above the Pacific Ocean last year. Credit: YouTube