Hot air balloon record breaker tries new challenge

Entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson has added another world record to his collection – that of being the oldest person to kite surf across the English Channel.

It is 25 years since entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson set the world record for the first hot air balloon flight over the Atlantic. With his partner Per Lindstrand, the pair travelled the distance of 2,900 miles in 33 hours. At almost 2.5 million cubic feet, their hot air balloon, the Virgin Atlantic Flyer, was the largest balloon in the world, recording a speed on its transatlantic flight of over 130 miles per hour.

Repeating their success in 1991 Branson and Lindstrand broke the world record with the first transpacific hot air balloon flight, using an even larger balloon, measuring over 2.6 million cubic feet with a speed capability of over 200 miles an hour to travel the 6,700 miles from Japan to Canada.

Sir Richard’s success in breaking records looked in jeopardy at the end of June, when he tried his hand at kite-surfing across the English Channel in an attempt to beat the previous word record set in 1999 of two hours 30 minutes. Setting off from France but miscalculating the size of the kite required for the flight, Sir Richard had to return to the French coast, allowing his son, Sam, to smash the existing record by twelve minutes.

However, all was not lost as Sir Richard made a second attempt, grabbing the record for being the oldest person to achieve the feat, crossing from Dymchurch in Kent to the northern coast of France, setting a new Guinness World Record of three hours 45 minutes.

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