Skip to comments.Indian millionaire breaks hot air balloon record
Posted on 11/26/2005 5:55:54 AM PST by CarrotAndStick
Indian millionaire Vijaypat Singhania today broke the world record for the highest flight in a hot air balloon, reaching the fringes of space, his son claimed.
Singhania, 67, hit 21,000 metres a little more than two hours after taking off in his 40-tonne balloon, and has started his descent, his son Gautam said.
"We have the world record at 69,000 feet" (21,000 metres), said Gautam Singhania. "We're bringing him down now."
The previous world record was 19,811 metres, set by Sweden's Per Lindstrand in Plano, Texas, in June 1988.
Singhania lifted off from downtown Bombay at 6.45am (1215 AEDT) enclosed in a pressurised cabin suspended from the 50-metre-tall multicoloured balloon.
He had hoped to reach 21,336 metres, but one of the balloon's designers said he couldn't quite make it.
"He must have hit a pocket of cold air, so he decided to quit while ahead," said Colin Prescott.
The record could not be independently verified immediately.
A sealed altimeter, a GPS (global positioning system) unit and a barograph were installed inside the capsule to determine the balloon's height, Prescott said. On landing, the seals will be broken and the instruments submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records for verification.
Singhania was expected to take two hours to get back to Earth, probably landing in Nashik, a town about 100 kilometres northeast of Bombay, depending on wind speed and direction.
Before taking off in downtown Bombay cheered by hundreds of residents and a marching band, Singhania said he expected to break the record.
"I'm very excited but very nervous and confident I'll make it," Singhania said.
Vedant Kumar, 7, watched the balloon's ascent through a pair of binoculars until it became a just speck in the sky.
"I wish I could follow him in a helicopter," he exclaimed, hopping from foot to foot with excitement. A helicopter was following the balloon to monitor wind direction for the landing.
The entire voyage was broadcast live on national television using cameras on board the helicopter, inside the balloon's cabin and on the ground.
The temperature outside the balloon was expected to fall as low as -93 degrees Celsius and oxygen was negligible. Before taking off, Singhania stressed the importance of the pressurised cabin, saying that if a person were exposed to such temperatures his "blood would boil."
A unit on the ground was monitoring oxygen levels and other life support systems inside the cabin.
The cabin also has a parachute, so if Singhania loses consciousness or any other high-altitude emergencies occur, the parachute will be automatically released and the cabin will drift to the ground, the second designer Andy Elson said.
Singhania, the chairman emeritus of the Raymond Group, one of India's leading textile companies, also set a record for ultralight aviation 17 years ago when he flew 9,655km from Britain to India in 23 days.
Mahalaxmi Race Course, Mumbai (Bombay), India
Wow! That's high!
There are a lot of people in Washington who would put that hot air record to shame.
well, here's a new goal!
Sorry, the record hot air assention is still held by Howard "Dr. Demento" Dean, the Chairman of the Democrat National Committee.
If the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) was present and was the authority responsible for sealing, unsealing, recording and authenticating the instrumentation - and officially observing the ascent.
But by the look of the balloon type, I doubt it went to 20,000 feet, let alone meters.
We shall see.
I know, we'll have to see. You're the expert on this. I only cut-and-paste!
So, Vij, how are things in Oz these days?!
But by the look of the balloon type, I doubt it went to 20,000 feet, let alone meters
Looks can be deceiving. I would be happy to take a wager that it went at least 21,500 feet( 3 % over what you doubt it did, which is the FAI requirement for accepting a record). Care to accept ?
Errata on the previous post :
Make that 26,000 feet rather than 21,500 feet.
Thx! missed your earlier post.
India Balloonist Sets Highest Flight Mark ^
What a wussy record. ;') Actually not bad at all, although the non-hot-air record is a bit higher...
Altitude of the Highest Manned Balloon Flight
34668m, 113,740 feet, 4/05/1961
<< "Indian [Went for a ride] ... in India's hot air balloon"
It is about time for Indians to take leadership in that field. >>
Aren't you being a little ambitious for the poor dears?
Shouldn't we let them have a crack at the nineteenth century first?