A team piloting a helium-filled balloon across the Pacific has set two major ballooning records.
On Friday, the Two Eagles balloon, piloted by American Troy Bradley and Russian Leonid Tiukhtyaev, surpassed a gas balloon world record for duration aloft.
The record of 137 hours, 5 minutes, 50 seconds was set by Double Eagle II on a 1978 transatlantic flight. According to rules set by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, the record must be surpassed by 1% in order to qualify as a new record. The Two Eagles reached that point Friday at 10:51 a.m. ET.
Officially, the record hasn’t been broken. It may be weeks or months before the U.S. National Aeronautic Association reviews and documents it.
Friday’s duration achievement follows another milestone Thursday, when the balloonists surpassed a 1981 distance record for gas balloons, set by Double Eagle V.
Under the same rule, the balloonists had to best the 1981 record of 5,208 miles or 8,382.54 kilometers by 1%.
With that distance margin safely surpassed, the balloon is expected to land Saturday on the Baja Peninsula in Mexico, completing its 6,000-mile journey.
The Two Eagles balloon launched from Saga, Japan, on January 24. The pilots and the support team on the ground have been tweeting about the journey.