Three Swiss pilots have broken the round-the-world flight record, smashing Steve Fossett’s four-year-record by almost ten hours, reports Reuters. The flight touched down yesterday in Geneva, 57 hours and 54 minutes after taking off, and the 23,000-mile journey included ten pit stops of 15 to 20 minutes, and 57 hours and 54 minutes. Chief pilot Riccardo Mortara, claimed, however, that the trip could have taken five hours less, had it not been for an angry volcano.
The plane, a Rockwell Sabreline, was en route from Canada’s Goose Island to the Icelandic town of Keflavik, until a volcanic eruption forced the Icelandic Aviation Authority to close down airspace round their destination. They diverted to Shannon Airport for fuel, before flying on to Geneva, via Marrakech.
The fact that a 29-year-old jet can slash ten hours off a four-year record–and, had it not been for the lava-spewing in Iceland, five hours more–is beyond me. Put it down to better technology to detect the winds more accurately, and having three pilots to share the workload. My dad did was co-pilot of a Britten Norman Islander in the London-Sydney air race of 1969. It took them 73 hours!