Two Eagles Team Launches Pacific Flight



Two balloonists lifted off from Saga, Japan, about 6:30 a.m. local time on Saturday in a quest to cross the Pacific and set new distance and duration records for their category of aircraft. Troy Bradley, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Russian Leonid Tiukhtyaev plan to continue flying for up to 10 days, perhaps to Albuquerque or beyond. The forecasted winds should carry the crew across the Pacific in about five and a half days, according to the team’s website. By midday Sunday, they reported they were heading east over the Pacific at about 60 mph and had covered more than 1,200 miles, although a lot of that was over Japan.

The current world gas balloon distance record is 5,208 miles. The duration record of nearly 138 hours (five days, 18 hours) was set in 1978 during the first successful trans-Atlantic balloon crossing by the crew of Double Eagle II. The Two Eagles flight is being tracked online at the team’s website and on social media.