2 Men Ballooning Over Pacific Set Record

'Two Eagles' now on course to break duration record
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2015 8:53 PM CST
Updated Jan 30, 2015 2:00 AM CST
Trans-Pacific Balloonists Set Distance Record
roy Bradley of New Mexico and Leonid Tiukhtyaev of Russia set off from Saga, Japan shortly before 6:30am on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015,.   (AP Photo/Two Eagles Balloon Team, Tsuyoshi Ogushi)

Two balloonists who took off from Japan early on Sunday have sailed past the world distance record and are still in the sky. American Troy Bradley and Russian Leonid Tiukhtyaev— the "Two Eagles"—passed the old record of 5,261 miles yesterday and are due to pass the balloon duration record of 137 hours aloft, set during the first trans-Atlantic balloon flight in 1978, some time today, reports the BBC. "We're not taking any time to celebrate,'' the head of mission control says. "We have a lot of work we have to do, and we're just taking this flight one hour at a time."

A worker at mission control, which is based in a balloon museum in Albuquerque, tells Reuters that the balloonists are doing fine despite cramped conditions in the capsule, where they are equipped with cold-weather gear and are living on freeze-dried hikers' meals. The men had originally planned to land in Canada, but they changed course because of weather conditions and are due to land in Baja California, Mexico, on Saturday. Chase crews are being organized to help the landing, which mission control says will probably be among sand dunes on the peninsula, the AP reports. (More hot air balloon stories.)

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