Record-Setting Balloonists Touch Down In Mexico After Pacific Crossing

A photo provided by Tami Bradley-Two Eagles Balloon Team, shows pilots from left, Troy Bradley of Albuquerque, N.M., and Leonid Tiukhtyaev of Russia, before their liftoff in a gas balloon in Saga, Japan. AP

itoggle caption AP

The Eagles have landed.

Balloon pilots Troy Bradley and Leonid Tiukhtyaev, dubbed the “Two Eagles,” who already set a distance record for a gas-filled balloon on Friday, have completed their nearly 7,000-mile journey across the Pacific from Japan to Mexico.

The Associated Press reports that Bradley of Albuquerque, N.M. and Russian Tiukhtyaev landed in their helium-filled balloon off Baja California about 300 miles north of Cabo San Lucas, “greeted by a team of balloon enthusiasts who assisted with the landing. The pilots came in low and dropped thick trailing ropes into the ocean to help slow the balloon before setting down in a controlled water landing.”

The trip shattered two long-standing records for ballooning, what the AP described as the “holy grail” of ballooning achievements – the distance record of 5,209 miles and the 137-hour duration record.

As we reported on Friday: “The previous record was set in 1981 by Ben Abruzzo, Larry Newman, Ron Clark and Rock Aoki aboard Double Eagle V, which also launched from Japan. (In 1999, Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones circumnavigated in a hybrid helium/hot-air balloon, the Breitling Orbiter 3).”

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