Hot Air Balloon Record Eyed


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 “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.