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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 June, 2003, 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK
Explorer's Atlantic crossing starts
David Hempleman-Adams' balloon preparing to take off
The balloon set off from Pittsburgh
Explorer David Hempleman-Adams has finally set off on his second solo attempt to cross the Atlantic in a balloon.

Mr Hempleman-Adams' world record attempt began at 0330BST on Saturday when he left the ground at Pittsburgh, USA, after a wait of more than three weeks.

His first effort in September last year ended abruptly when the onboard autopilot on the hot air balloon failed.

The 46-year-old, from Box, Wiltshire, will have to withstand temparatures of -30C in an open wicker basket - measuring just eight feet by four feet - below the helium and hot air-filled balloon.

Wicker basket

He will survive on rations including chocolate and pork scratchings, and will only be able to sleep for minutes at a time during the 3,300-mile journey, which is expected to take about a week.

David Hempleman-Adams
This is David Hempleman-Adams' second attempt on the record

Flight director David Owen of the expedition's headquarters in Bristol told the BBC: "We had a long wait because of thunderstorms and the fact the wind was blowing in the wrong direction, but he's up and flying now.

"At the moment David has had a lot to take in because he started at what was the beginning of the night here - he was catapulted up into the cold and the dark.

"It is pretty lonely up there but he is doing OK at the moment."

Where he lands in Euope will depend on the weather and conditions here as he nears the end of his journey.

If successful, the voyage will break the solo world distance record for the AM-08 Roziere class of balloon.

The voyage is also aimed at raising awareness of the 2003 Special Olympics, which are taking place in Ireland at the moment.




SEE ALSO:
New balloon bid for explorer
12 May 03  |  Wiltshire
Atlantic balloon flight abandoned
25 Sep 02  |  England


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