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Although many of us are looking forward to the future of transportation and being able to zip across the globe in just a few hours as opposed to the best part of a day, last week a handful of people turned their attention to a more romantic form of air travel as a record-setting trip across the Pacific Ocean launched from Japan’s Saga City.

The trip, which aimed to break the world record for both distance and duration of flight in a balloon was witnessed by thousands of people, not least the people of Japan where the balloon took off from, who were only too happy to commemorate and share of this piece of aviation history in the form of tweets and photos.

The two pilots, Leonid Tiukhtyaev from Russia and a Troy Bradley from the US, took off in the Two Eagle from Japan’s Saga Prefecture on Sunday, January 25 charting a course east across the Pacific Ocean. Relying on winds to propel them, the balloon eventually landed in the ocean 6.4 km (4 miles) off the coast of Baja, Mexico. This unbelievable flight lasted for six days, 16 hours and 37 minutes, and spanned a distance of 10,696 km (6,646 miles).

The expedition started in Saga City, the same place from which they attempted to launch a similar flight seven years ago. Saga was chosen as the starting zone in order to take advantage of the best weather patterns. There were plenty of balloon enthusiasts at the launch even though it was 6:30 in the morning local time.

Pilots Bradley and Tiukhtyaev went with a gas version, rather than a hot air balloon, the latter of which flies by heating up the air inside. Their massive balloon, which was about five times as large as a normal one, was filled with helium using ballasts and weights to ascend, with a controlled valve at the top to allow them to release some gas and descend.

▼Length: 141.6 ft (43.2 m) Diameter: 91.6 ft (27.9 m) Volume: 350,000 cu ft (9,900 m3) Empty weight: 1,475 lb (669 kg) Useful lift: 14,500 lb (6,600 kg)

Their flight, when measurements are officially confirmed by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, will smash the previous records which have held for over 34 years. And this huge achievement was able to be shared with people around the world thanks to social media.

When they finally landed on January 31 at about 7 AM, the two pilots were overjoyed to find themselves back on Earth, a little bit wetter and a lot more famous than when they took off. It’s an accomplishment that could stand the test of time and one that many people can show they took part in. Japanese balloon enthusiasts are certainly satisfied with their part in the record-setting trip. Until the next great zeppelin takes off into the sky.

Source: Naver Matome
Additional Information: Two Eagles

Top Image: Twitter (@TwoEaglesTeam)