British adventurer David
Hempleman-Adams dreams of setting a new distance record for travel
in an open wicker basket underneath a huge balloon called,
"Atlantic Challenger." Friday night, Hempleman-Adams packed his
dreams in his basket, waved goodbye, and set out for what he hopes
will be a journey of more than 3,300 miles.
"It's a bit scary going up into the unknown. You've got no
reference,'' Hempleman-Adams, 46, told Reuters before the launch.
"I'm a bit apprehensive. I've just been to the bathroom three
Funny talk for a man who has walked across both the North and
South Pole and climbed the highest mountain on every continent. He
hopes to beat the 1992 distance record for a similar flight, set by
Troy Bradley and Richard Abruzzo. Their flight took them from Main
to Morrocco. In this attempt, an FAA official says Hempleman-Adams
hopes to make it to Portugal.
Hundreds of well-wishers waved and cheered as Hempleman-Adams
lifted off beneath the helium balloon. He hopes he can make
Portugal in six days. To fortify him on his long journey,
Hempleman-Adams took along two roast beef sandwiches and a Tibetian
good luck charm. He may need that charm.
The weather over the Atlantic can be treacherous at any time of
year. He'll encounter temperatures far below zero as his open-air
basket cruises at altitudes of up to 24,000 feet. When he runs out
of roast beef, Hempleman-Adams will nibble on dried foods - and
look for land.