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21 June 2007

A World-Record Breaking Transatlantic Flight

Toshiba Transatlantic

David Hempleman-Adams LVO OBE DL Launches the Toshiba Transatlantic Challenge, A World-Record Breaking Transatlantic Flight

LONDON, June 21, 2007 --- One of the worlds leading explorers, David Hempleman-Adams, today announces his World Record breaking transatlantic flight today, for a helium balloon of this size, in a highly dangerous expedition to cross the northern Atlantic in the smallest gas-balloon ever to attempt this flight.

In July, Hempleman-Adams, the first man to fly to the North Pole in a balloon, will be piloting a small gas balloon, no bigger than most people’s front rooms, from St Johns, Newfoundland, Canada, to Europe. This will be a new FAI world record in distance. He will be flying in an open wicker basket, no bigger than a coffee table, open to the elements. He will endure extreme low temperatures down to minus 20 with the danger of landing in the North Atlantic. The 3425 km journey could take four days, depending on weather conditions, which will cause sleep deprivation and extreme fatigue.

This flight has a zero carbon footprint, the most basic form of flight. The helium is an inert natural gas and the ballast, or fuel, is sand which will be thrown out to fly the balloon.

Hempleman-Adams will be keeping in contact with the world using a satellite phone and his flight will be tracked and made far safer by Toshiba’s new laptop. The Portege R500 is the worlds lightest notebook PC which weighs 779 grams, less than a bag of sugar. This sleek, robust notebook, which measures 19.5 mm in height, has the first indoor and outdoor 12.1” widescreen transflective backlit LED display, which is readable no matter what the light conditions are, and uses outdoor lighting conditions to increase visibility. It also has one of the world’s longest battery lives, lasting up to 12.5 hours, and is durable in the case of any crash landings.

This advanced notebook is perfect for Hempleman-Adams in his bid to cross the Atlantic in a balloon. The Toshiba Portege R500 is ideal simply due to its weight, size, indoor and outdoor display and a very long battery time. On a flight where each and every object is weighed and assessed, weight is absolutely critical and can make the difference between success and failure. Failure, of course would mean ditching the specially built balloon in the Atlantic ocean and issuing a mayday to all nearby vessels.

Hempleman-Adams comments: “I will have tracking devices, meteorological data and ATC (Air Traffic Control) frequencies installed to help flight planning to minimise the risks. Weight on this solo flight is critical which makes the Portege R500 my perfect travelling companion. I’ve been on a seafood diet for six months and I still need some help! Thank Goodness for Toshiba.”

“I’m extremely nervous about this challenge. It is on the edge of technology and possibility. People have asked me, ‘Why are you doing it?’ and I say, ‘I want to push myself as a pilot and push the equipment and technology to the extreme’. There is no such thing as an easy world record. I don’t mind the cold temperatures but I’m wary of having to land in the water. All three of my daughters can swim further than me. In the event of ditching, I will have a life raft, and lots of sea sickness tablets.”

The enormous team which Hempleman-Adams requires to support a Transatlantic crossing of this nature will be based at a global-control centre based at Toshiba headquarters in Weybridge Surrey. Here a specialist team of weathermen, balloon professionals and search & rescue support will base themselves for the entire four days. This team will keep the public informed with hourly information on the flight website; this will give speed, location, altitude, weather, photographs and blogs.

We are delighted to be associated with this adventure because it symbolises our brand: pushing the limits of mobility, design and technology to the extreme” said Alan Thompson, Executive Vice-President, Toshiba Europe, Middle East and Africa. “If you’re moving to the next level of mobile computing you need to consider the whole user wish list in one portable device. The Portege R500 might be incredibly thin and light, but its got the functionality that would be found in PCs twice its size.

The fact the Portege R500 is the lightest notebook in the world makes it the perfect marriage for David on his record breaking flight. Thanks to the Portégé R500 we will bring this flight from a small wicker basket over the ocean to the general public all around the world.”


Posted by Luc at 6:32 PM

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