About History – Three days in a balloon
On 22 January, 1927, Georgian ballooning enthusiast Vladimir Garakanidze set off from Moscow in a homemade balloon. His intention was to fly to the town of Gorky. It was not a long journey and Vladimir expected to arrive before nightfall.
The balloon did not have a gondola. Dressed in an army greatcoat and boots to help protect against the minus 17 degrees Celsius temperature Vladimir sat on a wooden board attached by ropes to the covering of the balloon.
He did not arrive at his destination that evening, or the next day. On 24 January, search parties set off along the flight route to look for the balloonist, expecting to find his frozen body.
News of what happened to Garakanidze did not surface until a week later. He had been caught in a strong air current that took him in an entirely different direction. Hungry and frozen, he had sat on his board for three days, clinging to the ropes.
The strong winds had blown him off course and taken him to the remote woodland village of Severodvinskaja Gubernia, 702 km away! Cold and very hungry, he rolled up his balloon and was taken by sled to the nearest railroad station, where there was a telegraph office.
The Moscow newspaper Izvestia reported: “Yesterday, it was brought to our attention that Comrade Garakanidze set a world record in amateur ballooning with his flight. (…) Laborers should know about Comrade Garakanidze-a young worker who has conquered the skies!”
Source and illustration: Georgian Ballooning Open