CAMERON TAKES ALTITUDE RECORD
Subject to ratification by the FAI in Switzerland, Dr. Vijaypat Singhania set a new world altitude record for hot-air balloons over Mumbai, India, on 26 November, 2005, when he reached a reported altitude of 69,852 feet above sea level.
He was flying a huge Cameron Z-1600 balloon which lifted the pilot in a sophisticated pressurized gondola built by Andy Elson and the Flying Pictures engineering team in Glastonbury, England. The whole structure measured 160 feet in height and weighed nearly 3,700 lb.
The record attempt had taken more than 12 months to organize. Thousands of locals went wild as Vijay, as he is known, lifted off from the race course in Mumbai at dawn to start his epic flight.
The unusual burners, (below) used kerosene rather than the more conventional propane fuel. After landing the balloon envelope was released and then flew on its own for a further eight hours before landing. It was later found near a village, the burner had been stripped and much of the envelope was missing!