British explorer David Hempleman-Adams has broken two world records by spending more than 14 hours in a tiny hot air balloon over the United States. Hempleman-Adams was equipped with a TT21 Trig transponder, the world’s lightest and smallest transponder.
“I took off at 7pm local time on Friday 18th September from Butler, Missouri. I landed after 14 hours, 15 mins in Cherokee, Oklahoma, breaking both the AA1 and AA2 world records.”
The 52-year-old adventurer flew a distance of more than 200 miles in the smallest balloon that a man can fly. “Weight was critical. I had to go on a 3 month diet, and we looked at the weight of everything – envelope, small basket, even clothing, but the electronics were vital. As I was flying over the mid states at night, I would be flying close to some major cities with class C airspace and some active MOAs (Military Operations Areas).”
David’s Trig transponder ensured the balloon would appear on radar and TCAS, so his flight could be tracked from the ground.
“The Trig Mode S transponder was chosen for its compact size and above all low weight. After looking around the world for the right product, we chose the TT21. It didn’t let me down.” The class AA-01 record broken by Hempleman-Adams had stood at eight hours and 12 minutes and was set by American Coy Foster when he flew over Texas in May 1983. The class AA-02 record stood at 13 hours 55 minutes and was set by Frenchman Vincent Leys who flew from Lille, France, to Ransel, Germany, in June 1994. Hempleman-Adams is the first man in history to reach the Geographic and Magnetic North and South Poles as well as climb the highest peaks in all seven continents, a feat he christened the Adventurers’ Grand Slam.