Sabreliner crew to attempt world record flight

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On 19 March Capt Riccardo Mortara and his crew will set off from Geneva in a Sabreliner business jet on a mission to set the record for the fastest flight around the world.

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.

As well as 62-year-old Italian Mortara, the crew includes 26-year-old Frenchman Flavien Guderzo and 43-year-old Croatian Tom Zorman. They will be joined by Nicolae Buzaianu, the driving force behind the project. Buzaianu is also chairman of Swiss energy company Selectra, which is sponsoring this record attempt. Mortara is his personal pilot.

If their Sabreliner - a 30-year-old midsize mainstream jet - can circumnavigate the globe in under 67h 1min 10s it will fly into the history books. The record is held by the late Steve Fossett, who completed the course in his Virgin GlobalFlyer in 2005 in this same category, with a take-off weight of between 9,000kg (19,840lb) and 12,000kg.

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"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 believe the world record can be his. I am excited for him, and thrilled to be contributing to this mission. If we succeed, I'll be very proud," says Buzaianu.

"Leaving Geneva will add 234km [126nm] to our journey, but that's only about 15min and given our familiarity with this runway and its conditions, I consider it worthwhile," he adds.