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     Monday, September 6, 2010

   Longest nonstop flight in a lightweight plane - world record set by Arnold Ebneter
  Fredericksburg, Va., USA -- The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) reports one of its members, Arnold Ebneter, 82, recently flew his Jabiru 2200-powered home-designed and built aircraft, dubbed ‘E-1’, from Paine Field, Everett, Washington, to Fredericksburg, Virginia, (2,327.85 miles) to set the new world record for the longest nonstop flight in an aircraft weighing less than 500 kilograms.

   Photo: Arnold Ebneter stands before his E-1. Photo by Michael O'Leary / The Herald (enlarge photo)

  The flight covered 2327 miles without stopping over a time of 18 hours and 27 minutes. He broke the record by just under 114 miles.

   The previous World Record for the Longest nonstop flight in a lightweight plane was set in July 1984 by American Frank Hertzler, who flew 2,213.95 miles (3,563.02 kilometers), according to the FAI website.

    Ebneter, now 82, first imagined the E-1 while studying at Texas A&M University in the 50s, but didn’t complete building the aircraft until 2005 with the help of CAD and flight simulator programs.

    E-1 is a strictly all metal, stressed skin, tapered low-wing aircraft powered by a Jabiru 2200, a four-cylinder four-stroke horizontally opposed air cooled engine.

   Ebneter said he made the plane of metal because it was the lightest and most reliable material. He could also seal the wings so they could carry fuel, something called a "wet wing." He spent $25,000 on building his lifelong dream.

    His plane weighs 263 kilograms (580 pounds) empty. With Ebneter in the cockpit and just enough fuel in his tank to beat the record, the plane weighed 498.9 kilograms.

   Th E-1 has a 74-gallon fuel capacity, but Ebneter said he used 58.5 gallons for the July 25-26 flight due to the weight limits for the record attempt.

   “We put the airplane on a scale when fueling and stopped at 500kg,” said Ebneter, a former United States Air Force fighter pilot.

    Top speed for Ebneter’s E-1 is 175kts, and when he landed in Virginia at the end of the flight he figured he could have flown another 100 miles as 2.5 gallons remained in the tank.

    Ebneter started flying when he was 15 years old. He grew up on a farm that was beneath the flight path between Chicago and Indianapolis, where many airplanes of the time flew low.

    "People now fly as a way of transportation," he said. "I just wanted to fly for the sake of flying." He spent 22 years in the Air Force, 15 of them as a fighter pilot and the rest as an engineer. He flew 325 missions and retired following the Vietnam War as a lieutenant colonel.

    After he finished his military service, he worked designing and testing balloons. In 1952, he was a test balloon pilot for General Mills, where he once flew 325 miles overnight.

    He gave his plane the same registration number as that balloon: N7927A.
    In 1974, he came to work for Boeing when they were developing the 767. In 1977 he started his job at Harvey Field.

   Ebneter has previously won two awards from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAA): The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award and The Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award. He still works out of Harvey Field a few days each week as a flight instructor and FAA inspector.

    “As much as anything else, building the E-1 was an engineering exercise,” Ebneter said.

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    Longest solar-powered flight by paramotor-the Cardozo family
     Youngest passenger to fly in microgravity - Jules Nader

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    Fastest transcontinental flight in a LSA - Matt Hansen and Jessica Scharle

   Longest Cluster Balloon Flight - Jonathan Trappe

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   Longest distance flown in an autogyro - Norman Surplus

   Monday, September 6, 2010

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