Fedor Konyukhov’s Journey Around the World with the support of the unbeatable Toyota Hilux Has Started
- On July, 12 at 7 a.m. AEST Fedor Konyukhov began his bid to set a new world record for non-stop solo hot-air balloon flight around the globe.
- The iconic Toyota Hilux pickup, the official chase car of the Around the World On a Roziere Balloon expedition, has actively participated in the preparation of the unique journey in Australia by transporting the gondola carrying gas burners and tanks for prelaunch tests and delivering equipment arriving from different countries.
- Unrivaled off-road performance, excellent capacity and legendary reliability of the frame SUV allows the land support team to continuously ensure safety of the famous traveler during his flight across Australia.
Fedor Konyukhov, the Russian adventurer, started his round-the-world air balloon flight on July 12. This day the weather conditions were favorable in Northam, the Australian city where the expedition team is based. Low wind speed of about 5 m/s has let the experts of the company that created the largest Roziere balloon assemble the balloon and fill it with helium. Despite the low wind speed, the Toyota Hilux protected the balloon from premature lift-off. The off-road vehicle kept down the balloon tied to it with wire rope.
While preparing the round-the-world flight in Australian Northam the Toyota Hilux has turned into a full-on traveling base for testing the equipment to be installed on the new world’s largest balloon made especially for Fedor Konyukhov’s record flight. Its excellent capacity let the Toyota Hilux simultaneously transport the gondola with burners on the roof in its trailer, and gas tanks for bed tests to the airfield. When free from testing, the Toyota Hilux delivered additional equipment continuously arriving to the expedition camp from around the world.
Forty-eight- or seventy-two-hour flight across Australia – the first stage of the round-the-world journey – is even more difficult due to the heavy air traffic over the continent. In case of unexpected change in the wind direction or speed Fedor will have to make swift decisions on the flight direction and level in order to stay away from the major air routes. The Toyota Hilux’s unparalleled off-road performance will especially come in handy for the land support team if they will have to change the route on the spot or follow the balloon over a rough terrain. Considering the speed and the enormous height of the flight, no one can predict exactly what distance the Hilux will have to cover off-road to carry out the mission entrusted to it.
The Morton air balloon equipped with a navigation system and an autopilot will fly over New Zealand, the Pacific Ocean, South America, the Atlantic Ocean, the southernmost tip of Africa, and the Indian Ocean. The estimated landing point is located at the west coast of Australia. During the journey the gondola with the famous Russian traveler on board will cover thirty-three thousand kilometers at the height of five to ten kilometers.
The flight around the globe will be a true challenge for Fedor Konyukhov and all equipment used in the expedition. The traveler will spend two weeks in the enclosed space of the gondola. At the ambient temperature of –60 ?? the temperature inside the gondola will not exceed +4 ??. During the whole flight Fedor will wear an oxygen mask and eat freeze-dried products. Restrictions on the airborne weight are so severe that even water supply is limited to fifty liters. Safety requirements expressly preclude the use of open fire inside the gondola; therefore, Fedor will have to get by only using warm water heated on the electric heater to cook his food.
The unrivaled pickup for active leisure that has already proven its reliability in the globe’s most remote areas is now ready to come to the brave traveler’s aid at any time and under any conditions. “After the take-off Fedor will have to do the usual work: set a new world record on his own. Perhaps the most important thing to achieve success here is understanding that help is always near. On land he will be supported by friends, allies and the Toyota Hilux, a loyal partner that has been doing the usual work – giving confidence in all situations – for over a year now as well. We wish the legendary traveler luck and look forward to his successful return,” said Tatiana Khalyavskaya, Marketing Department Manager at Toyota Motor Russia.
• The eighth generation was introduced in the second half of 2015.
• Fifty-five years on the global market of pickup trucks, six years in Russia.
• Over eighteen million vehicles sold around the world.
HISTORY OF PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN TWO LEGENDARY “EXTREME” ADVENTURERS
June 2015 – Toyota and Fedor Konyukhov’s expedition crew signed the partnership agreement. The iconic Toyota Hilux pickup became the official vehicle of the unique Russian solo traveler’s new project – Round The World On a Roziere Balloon. Unrivaled off-road performance, excellent capacity and legendary reliability of body-on-frame SUV predetermined the choice of the official expedition vehicle. The tasks for the Toyota Hilux included:
- transporting the basket and the balloon to the launch site;
- following the hot-air balloon with the land support team on roads of any type of surface and soil;
- helping collect used gas tanks during runs of many kilometers;
- meeting the pilots at the landing place, providing transfer from the launch site and to the camp after landing.
June 2015 – January 2016 – The Toyota Hilux was actively involved in the drills of Konyukhov’s team in Russia.
January 24, 2016 – Fedor Konyukhov and Ivan Menyaylo set the new world record for the longest hot-air balloon non-stop flight. The reliable pickup delivered the hot-air balloon and the crew to the launch site, followed the balloonists all the way during the flight, helped collect used gas tanks in the most remote places and met the travelers at the landing spot.
April 2016 – The Toyota Hilux participated in the official handover ceremony of a new Cameron Baloons air balloon in Bristol, UK. It is the largest Roziere balloon, an aerostat that gains its lift through the use of two chambers filled with gas with specific weight lower than air, and hot air.
June 2016 – The main preparatory stage is completed exactly a year after the partnership has begun: Fedor Konyukhov and his team arrived to Australia where the balloon launch is planned. The unrivaled off-road Toyota Hilux met the traveler in Australia and actively participated in the launch preparation and equipment setup.
July 12, 2016 – Start of the round-the-world flight in a Morton air balloon.
July 2016 – The land support team headed by Oskar Konyukhov will follow Fedor’s air balloon across Australia in order to assist if an unforeseen situation arises, including emergency landing.
Wherever Fedor Konyukhov and his team goes, the Toyota Hilux, a reliable partner and assistant, is ready to support the preparation to the ambitious project. Be it Europe, Russia or Australia – the official vehicle’s help as a member of the land support team cannot be overestimated across all continents.