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'Flying is in my blood'

Last updated on: May 08, 2007 14:32 IST

Vijaypath Singhania

CORRECT!

How does one describe a man like Mr Vijaypat Singhania? An industrialist? An aviator? An adventurer? Well he is all that and much more.

Singhania, the chairman emeritus of the Raymond Group has another flight record to his credit. He holds the world record for highest altitude gained traveling in hot air balloon and he achieved this when he was 67-years old.

The textile tycoon soared past 21,000 metres (69,000 feet). He travelled in a pressurised cabin attached to a balloon as high as a 22-storey building. The previous record of 19,811 metres (64,997 feet) was set by Per Lindstrand in Plano, Texas, in June 1988.

His zest for adventure has earned many laurels including the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Smarak Award. He was also conferred the rank of honorary air commodore of the Indian Air Force, by the then Indian president Ramaswamy Venkataraman at Bigyan Bhavan in New Delhi.

In 1988 Singhania flew 5,429 miles from London to Ahmedabad in 22 days.

In 2006, he was awarded Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award by the Government of India.

Singhania is the only Indian to have won the aviation sports gold medal from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale.

Vijaypat Singhania poses during the announcement of his intention to fly a hot air balloon to the edge of space in Mumbai on March 29, 2005.

Photograph: Sebastian D'souza/AFP/Getty Images