Today, July 2, 2007, David Hempleman-Adams has received the green light to launch the Toshiba Transatlantic Challenge.
If surface weather conditions are favourable, the launch will be from Feildian Grounds in St. John’s New Foundland at approx 1.00 am GMT tomorrow. Hempleman-Adams hopes to break the existing distance record for the AA06 class of balloon by completing a solo flight in an open wicker basket over the Atlantic towards Europe. This is the smallest gas balloon ever to attempt this flight. The journey is expected to take about four days.
Luc Trullemans, one of the world’s leading meteorologists, will be providing the weather information throughout the flight.
Hempleman-Adams arrived in St.John’s over the weekend where he was met by questioning from immigration officials as to why he only had a one-way ticket. After a referral to the www.toshibachallenge.com website all was well.
The 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 for the balloon to ascend. The 3425 km journey could take four days, depending on weather conditions, which will cause sleep deprivation and extreme fatigue in temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees.
A small highly specialised team of experts will be based at the control centre at Toshiba headquarters in Weybridge, Surrey. There will be hourly updates on the flight website; this will give speed, location, altitude, weather, photographs and blogs.
To track David’s progress log on to www.toshibachallenge.com