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Date added: 26 June 2007

David Hempleman-Adams interview 

STORY UPDATE: Friday, 06 July 2007 11.22am

Back on dry land: Hempleman-Adams breaks ballooning world record

Touchdown - at last:
David Hempleman-Adams
At 04.00 GMT this morning Swindon explorer David Hempleman-Adams [DHA] broke the world distance record for an AA-06 (37,000 cu ft) helium balloon by crossing the Atlantic in an open wicker basket.

DHA set off from St John's, Newfoundland, on Tuesday 3rd July at 00:00 GMT - and in crossing the coastline of north western France 40 hours and 3,434km later, became the first man to complete such a distance in such a small gas balloon.

"It's an unbelievable feeling," desribed the 50-year-old adventurer after finally landing his 4ft x 4ft basket and balloon, "what a scary trip! I don't think I would have made it with my team back at base. It's thanks to them I'm here and celebrating."
At the mercy of the winds - again:
David Hempleman-Adams
Swindon's record-breaking explorer David Hempleman-Adams is all set for his latest adventure.

The simple task of flying 2000 miles across the northern Atlantic in the smallest gas-balloon ever to attempt the trip - suspended, just for good measure, in open wicker basket just 5 feet long.

"It's right on the limit of what's achievable," Hempleman-Adams [DHA] told us today, "but I can't wait for it. I want to push myself as a pilot and push the equipment and technology to the extreme."

Leaving on Friday for Saint John's in Newfoundland, where DHA plans to take off from next month, the flight is expected to take three to four days, depending on weather conditions.
High living

While onboard, David's diet will include ginger biscuits, pork scratchings, soup and tea. If he gets a chance, he will cook on the bottom of the basket using a camping stove.

For those of you interested, David will take a pee bottle and when it comes to a number two it will go over the side in a bio-degradeable bag!

"But that'll be the least of my worries!" he told us, "the whole trip depends on the wind, especially when it comes to where I land."

"I could end up anywhere between Norway and northern Spain," he added, "it's impossible to predict."

"Just as long as I don't ditch in the sea. That's my biggest fear."
"I can put up with the cold temperatures (-20C) and the sleep deprevation, but I’m very wary of having to land in the water. All three of my daughters can swim further than me and I do get sea sick!”

Climate Change

Crucially for Swindon's famous adventurer, and keen environmental campaigner, his flight will leave a completely zero carbon footprint.

David Hempleman-Adams became
the first person to fly a balloon
over the North Pole in 2000

"It's the most basic form of flight. The helium is an inert natural gas and the ballast, or fuel, is sand which will be thrown out to fly the balloon," he said.

"That aspect of the trip was very important to me, because in my travels to the north pole and ice caps I've seen up close the changes that are happening there. And it's not good."

Weight critical

And not content with using the world's smallest balloon for the flight, Hempleman-Adams will also relying on the world's smallest laptop to help him complete the trip.

The expedition sponsors Toshiba providing him with a Portégé R500, the planet's lightest notebook, weighing in at just 779 grams, less than a bag of sugar.

In the lap of the Gods:
DHA gets to grips with his Toshiba Portege notebook

"It will be invaluable," Hempleman-Adams added, "for tracking the weather and helping to keep in contact."

"And if I get a wi-fi connection up that high, maybe I can also log onto SwindonWeb!"

We certainly hope so!
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