Hot Air Balloon Record Eyed

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An Indian adventurer hopes to take hot air ballooning to new heights in November. Vijaypat Singhania, an Indian clothing magnate, plans to pilot the balloon from Mumbai to a height of 70,000 feet. The current record is 64,900 feet. And it's not just a matter of packing some extra propane. "This is a very complex and dramatic undertaking. The higher you go in a balloon, the less air there is to fill it," Flight Director Alan Noble told New Kerala.com. "You can encounter a myriad of other problems. It's also very demanding physically." A custom-built balloon is being used in the attempt. The balloon's envelope is more than 16 times the size of a standard hot air balloon and is 85 feet tall. Technical details are being handled by Andy Elson and Colin Prescot, of England. Elson was the first person to pilot a balloon over Mt. Everest and has designed and built most of the capsules used in recent around-the-world attempts. Singhania's claim to fame is a 5,420-mile ultralight trip from England to India in 1988 in 22 days, beating the previous record by almost two weeks.