Tuesday, March 23, 2010 Fastest
team flight around the world - Swiss Pilots sets world record
GENEVA, Switzerland -- Swiss aviator Riccardo
Mortara, 62, and his crew (co-captain Gabriel
Mortara, 28, and co-pilot Flavien Guderzo, 26)
completed the 36,770 km minimum distance around the world
in 57 hours 54 minutes in a 1980 Rockwell Sabreliner 65
jet (the 19,840 to 26,455 pounds/9,000-12,000kg aircraft category)
- setting the new world record for the Fastest
team flight around the world.
Photo: The Sabreliner 65 and Her successful
Guinness world record for the Fastest Solo flight around
the world (9,000-12,000kg aircraft category) was set by
Steve Fossett’s time of 67 hours and one minute, which was
achieved without stops in the state-of-the-art VirginFlyer
in 2006. Fossett flew alone and nonstop in a
custom-built plane. He died the next year in a plane crash.
Riccardo Mortara (mission commander): “To
complete this circumnavigation and establish a new world record
for the Fastest
team flight around the world is a tremendous honour
and the proudest moment of my career. Steve Fossett’s time
in this category of plane was a challenge to beat, but I was
confident we could do so.
Mortara flew with two co-pilots; his oldest
son Gabriel and Flavien Guderzo. They flew over 33 countries
in a 22,928 miles stretch at a mean speed of 402 mph (647
The Rockwell Sabreliner 65, nevertheless
proved faster and more resistant than Fosset's airplane with
its NASA engineered supercritical wing, making the plane all
the more fuel-efficient. Every stop was carefully
timed to take no more than 15 to 20 minutes for the refuels.
The start/finish line was to have been Bucharest,
but the team has elected to make Geneva the venue, given that
its operations base - Sonnig
- is in the Swiss city.
Nicolae Buzaianu was the driving
force behind the project. Buzaianu is also chairman of Swiss
energy company Selectra, which sponsored this world record.
Mortara is his personal pilot.
"Riccardo is my friend as well as
my pilot, and I believe in him strongly. I don't think there's
any pilot more skilled or as cool under pressure. I believed
the world record can be his. I am excited for him, and thrilled
to be contributing to this mission," says Buzaianu.
After lifting off from Geneva, the team
stopped to refuel in such places as Bahrain, Macau, Osaka,
Anchorage and Las Vegas before lifting off from Montreal for
But halfway there -- and four hours ahead
of Palmer's time -- the crew learned of the volcanic eruption
in Iceland that forced the closure of the nation's airports.
"We lost five hours for the volcano
in Iceland so that was a mess but except that everything went
well. So we recovered that but we had to rush," Riccardo Mortara,
chief pilot of the flight said as he stepped out of his charter
The Eyjafjallajokull glacier, Iceland's
fifth largest erupted shortly before midnight on Saturday
and diverted the pilots' plan to land in Keflavik for a refuelling
Mortara and his crew had to turn back to Canada
to refuel in Goose Bay, Labrador, where they recalculated
the final leg of their adventure in favour of Shannon, then
Marrakech before finally landing back in Geneva.
The volcano eruption, which was the area's first
in 176 years, caused the crew four hours in their flight,
adding suspense to the adventure.