A new chapter has been written in the chronicle of amazing human achievements. Fedor Konyukhov, a famous Russian adventurer, has set a world record for circumnavigating the globe non-stop in a hot air balloon in just 11 days. The previous record set by the American balloonist Steve Fosset was beat by two days.
Fedor Konyukhov's ambitious undertaking was directly supported by Toyota, with the new Toyota Hilux as the official vehicle of this amazing journey. Over a year ago, the legendary Toyota Hilux pickup accompanied the prominent adventurer in all preparations to the around-the-world flight.
First of all, it supported the training phase in Russia. Then, during the pre-flight preparations in June, the seventh-generation Toyota Hilux participated in the official handover of a new Cameron Balloons hot air balloon to Fedor Konyukhov in Bristol, UK. On 12 July, the invincible pickup was indispensable at the launching site near Northam, Australia – Toyota Hilux prevented the balloon from a premature take-off, while the envelope was being filled with helium. Finally, the pickup was among the first to arrive at the landing site, with Fedor Konyukhov's team on board. After the balloon touched the ground, it was again secured with the help of Toyota Hilux, enabling Fedor Konyukhov to exit the pod safely.
Fedor's balloon was airborne for 11 days, traveling the distance of 34,950 km: it passed over the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans, approached Antarctica and flew across Australia, South America and Africa. Konyukhov has been flying at heights of up to 10,600 m while enduring temperatures down to -55°C.
Celebrating the new world record, Fedor Konyukhov's son Oscar Konyukhov, who headed the ground support team, said: "I'm extremely proud of my father! It's hard to grasp the scope of what he managed to achieve. To complete a record-breaking non-stop circumnavigation in a hot air balloon from the first attempt is one chance in a million. And he did just that!"
"The whole Toyota team sincerely congratulates Fedor Konyukhov and all participants of the Round The World On a Roziere Balloon project. The example of the 65-year old traveller who challenged the nature and circumstances proves that there is nothing impossible for a human. Especially when supported by true friends and a vehicle you can rely on in the most extreme situations," commented Tatiana Khalyavskaya, Marketing Director at Toyota Motor Russia.