State ATM Corporation Contributes to World Record

A world record has been set for longest non-stop transcontinental flight aboard a hot air balloon.

From 24 to 26 March, adventurer Fyodor Konyukhov and President of the Russian Ballooning Federation Ivan Menyaylo flew more than 2.5 thousand kilometres between Kirovsk, Murmansk region, and the township of Khatanga in Krasnoyarsk region, outperforming by 174 kilometres the previous world record set by Japanese traveler Michio Kanda, who had died as a result of one of his attempts to beat his own best.

The ballooners became the first to overfly in an open-basket hot air balloon the Barents and the Kara Seas, two seas of the Arctic Ocean characterized by extreme weather. The flight took place beyond the Arctic Circle, between 67 and 72 degrees north latitude, at an altitude of 3 – 6 kilometres.

The successful flight had been preceded by thorough preparations. On 10 February 2023, State ATM Corporation’s Main ATM Centre was informed of the planned flight with the view of setting a new record for class AX-12 hot air balloon flight length and duration, with a request for assistance.

The Main Air Traffic Management Centre staff contacted the team members to clarify the time of departure, expected flight routes and altitude. They defined route options and analyzed historical weather and wind data in the intended areas. A task force consisting of the Joint ATM System operational unit staff and Fyodor Konyukhov’s team was set up, including experts from the Main and Regional ATM Centres of Saint Petersburg, Tyumen, Krasnoyarsk, Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk, whose areas of responsibility the intended routes were supposed to cross.

The Main ATM Centre prepared templates for Fyodor Konyukhov’s team to submit requests for temporary airspace restrictions, and SHR messages to be used during preparations for the flight. The task force exchanged contact information of the hot air balloon crew, the mission control team, and duty shifts of the Joint ATM System Main and Regional centres involved, and held two online meetings to discuss airspace management procedures.

The hot air balloon team and operational units of the Joint ATM System coordinated closely throughout the flight. Respective Regional centres (Saint Petersburg, Tyumen, Krasnoyarsk) imposed short-term airspace restrictions along the balloon’s route to enable its flight.

The coordinated efforts of the famous adventurer’s team and operational units of the Joint ATM System have allowed ensuring air navigation support to the record-breaking hot air balloon flight.

State ATM Corporation received a letter of gratitude from Fyodor Konyukhov for high-quality air traffic services that have made the flight possible.