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Thursday, 12 September 2019

Braving the unknown, in a balloon

Around the world in 20 days: It might be the oldest form of flight, but until March 1999 no one had ever made a non-stop round-the-world flight in a balloon. All this changed when pilots Brian Jones and Bertrand Piccard set off from Switzerland on a 20-day adventure, in a pressurized capsule specially designed to withstand the elements (watch, runtime: 04:07). Their travels saw them rise to altitudes so high they lost their heating system, spend five days over the Pacific “barely moving” and without a working communications system, and finally catch a wind current that sent them speeding off at an exhilarating 170 miles per hour, before using the last of their fuel to land in the Egyptian desert.

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