Two men piloted a gas-filled balloon from Japan to Baja California, unofficially breaking world records for fastest flight time and distance traveled in such a vessel.
On February 1, Troy Bradley of Albuquerque and Leonid Tiukhtyaev of Russia completed the 6,646-mile voyage near Baja California’s La Poza Grande, Reuters reports. The National Aeronautic Association has yet to verify the records, a process that can take months.
The two pilots, known as the Two Eagles, safely water-landed about four miles off the Baja coast, Kim Vesely, the mission’s spokesperson, told Reuters. Water landings are acceptable under the rules establishing world records.
The balloon relied on an enclosed chamber of helium gas for lift. This method provides less range than other hot air balloons, particularly the Roziere balloon, which uses hot air and lighter-than-air gases.
If confirmed, the flight will break the previous world record of nearly 5,209 miles across the Pacific.