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Vnukovo-3 Welcomes Record-Breaking Balloon Flight Pilots Fyodor Konyukhov and Ivan Menyailo

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Vnukovo-3 hosted a welcoming ceremony for Fyodor Konyukhov and Ivan Menyailo, the participants of a record-breaking balloon flight.

The balloon of the Russian explorer Fyodor Konyukhov and president of the Balloon Federation of Russia Ivan Menyailo completed a total distance of 2,540 km, 174 km further than the previous world record set in 1994 by the Japanese balloonist Michio Kanda. As a result, the world records for both the range and duration of a non-stop flight by hot-air balloon now belong to Russia.

The balloon was launched on March 24 from Kirovsk in the Murmansk region. It passed through the airspace of the Arkhangelsk and Murmansk regions, the Yamalo-Nenets and Nenets Autonomous territories, and the Krasnoyarsk region at an altitude of between 3 and 6 km. The PhosAgro balloon flew over the Putorana Plateau, known for its harsh weather conditions, and made a precision landing on the runway of the Khatanga airfield in the Krasnoyarsk region on March 26 at 03:24 Moscow time.

For the first time ever, a hot-air balloon with an open basket passed over the waters of the two seas of the Arctic Ocean — the Barents and Kara Seas. As such, the pilots made the first flight in aeronautics history on a hot-air balloon with an open basket over the sea in high northern latitudes. Moreover, the participants made the longest hot-air balloon flight above the Arctic Circle.

Fyodor Konyukhov dedicated his record-breaking flight to the 20th anniversary of the All-Russian Movement «Children of Russia — Education, Health and Spirituality», a key social project of PhosAgro, which was the general partner of the expedition. Commissioned by PhosAgro, the unique balloon designed for transcontinental flights was made with an envelope volume of 12 000 cubic meters, the largest of its kind in the history of Russian aeronautics. The maximum flight altitude was 5,820 meters, with a maxmum speed of 109 km/h.

Vnukovo International Airport is one of Russia’s largest air transport hubs. Each year the airport handles approximately 200 000 flights by Russian and international airlines. Its network covers the whole territory of Russia as well as short- and long-haul destinations, Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa. In 2019, Vnukovo International Airport served over 24 million passengers, breaking its own record. Vnukovo airport terminal, with a total area of about 300,000 square meters, can handle up to 35 million passengers annually. Vnukovo International Airport is the only airport in Russia to have received a Letter of Commendation from the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin for its professional achievements and high performance. Moreover, Vnukovo Airport was recognized as the Best International Airport by Air Gateway of Russia award and Best Airport: overcoming challenges 2020 at National Aviation Infrastructure Show (NAIS) for three years running.