Picture credit: Fanny Eternod
(L-R) Flavien Guderzo (co-pilot), Tom Zorman (mission control), Riccardo Mortara (mission commander / captain) and Gabriel Mortara (co-captain)
Italian pilot Riccardo Mortara has set the world record for the fastest round the world flight in his 30-year-old Sabreliner.
They had to add a 12th leg to their trip, after plans to land in Keflavik, Iceland, were aborted due to a volcanic eruption.
The Sabreliner 65 jet, took of from Geneva at 06:12 UTC on Friday morning, flew east, and returned Sunday at 16:06 UTC, completing the 36,770 km minimum distance in 57 hours 54 minutes. The average speed around the world was 647km/h.
This journey beats pioneering pilot Steve Fossett’s time of 67 hours and one minute, which was achieved without stops in the state-of-the-art VirginFlyer in 2006.
A secondary target was to beat golfer Arnold Palmer’s 1978 record of 57 hours 26 minutes, which he set in a Learjet 36 – an aircraftin a lighter weight category.
The three-man crew, Mortara, 62, co-captain Gabriel Mortara, 28, and co-pilot Flavien Guderzo, 26, blogged and tweeted on their journey from Geneva to Bahrain, Colombo, Macau, Osaka, Petropavlovsk, Anchorage, Las Vegas and Montreal, and had to urgently change plans following a volcanic eruption in Iceland causing all of Iceland’s airports to be shut down.
Mortara was forced to return to Canada, refuelling in Goose Bay, Labrador, before re-calculating the Sabreliner’s route.
With the aborted leg not counting towards the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) minimum distance, the previous Keflavik-Casablanca-Geneva plan was ditched in favour of Shannon, then Marrakech, and finally home to Geneva. The total distance traveled was 36,900km.
Mortara said: “To complete this circumnavigation and establish a new record 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.”.
“I would like to thank my plane. The aircraft is known as ‘the legend’ for a reason. She is a very special plane, and a great team mate. Very few aircraft can fly for 58 hours straight without experiencing any mechanical troubles. After this mission, she returns to her regular job as a luxury air taxi for my company, Sonnig SA.”