Wonderful hot air balloons on show at the 40th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta at the past weekend. It is the largest ballooning event on earth, with 600 pilots from around the world launching 500 balloons across the New Mexico desert.
The last balloon in the 16th America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has landed. David Hempleman-Adams of the UK and Jonathan Mason of Australia (Team 6) are the apparent winners. They made a safe but fast – 35 knots! — landing at about 8:30 PM MDT (0230Z) this evening near the Canadian border, about 64 miles northwest of Minot, North Dakota.
Unofficial results pending completion of scoring shows that the team flew 974 miles (1,568 km) and also has apparently set a new America’s Challenge race record for time aloft. They were in the air nearly three days – 71 hours, 32 minutes, besting the old mark of 68 hours, 46 minutes set in 2008.