Up and away: Air balloons above the vast lands of Russia

The aerostat cabin has room for 4 people and is equipped with gas injector, speedometer and walkie-talkie.

The aerostat cabin has room for 4 people and is equipped with gas injector, speedometer and walkie-talkie.

Mikhail Sinitsyn
Dozens of aerostats beautified the sky above the historic towns of Pereslavl Zalessky and Rostov Veliki, located on Russia’s historic Golden Ring.
For 5 days in July the ancient towns of Pereslavl Zalessky and Rostov Veliki (150 km north-west of Moscow) become a mecca for ballooning enthusiasts.
Usually visited for their unique architectural heritage, this time the two cities boasting millennia of history found themselves amid a spectacular aerial show.
For balloonists, this annual festival is always the hottest date in the calendar.
Who would say no to a flight over the ancient Rostov Veliki Kremlin and the beautiful Lake Nero?
Spectators are also happy to watch air balloons race in such pretty surroundings.
Airship pilot Mikhail Latypov has practiced ballooning since childhood.
Time trial competitions were recently introduced, but Mikhail flies just for pleasure.
Mikhail doesn't have to separate work and play, as he is an employee in a company producing hot air balloons.
Hot air balloons are the most popular, says Mikhail. Gas aerostats go further, but they are way too expensive.
Famous traveler Fyodor Konyukhov is this very minute inside one of those gas aerostats on his round-the-world trip.
In ballooning everything depends on seamless teamwork.
Everyone is involved in the preparations.
A balloon parade is a joy even for those who remain on terra firma.
Despite the competition, the homy spirit still prevails. "The festival is an unforgettable experience for everyone," says Mikhail.
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