Posts Tagged ‘around the world’

Around the world for eight by private jet

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

hong kong

Hong Kong

Every holiday season it seems one company, usually Macy’s, captures media attention for the most luxurious gift. This time, it may be Flexjet. If you really loved your family and friends this holiday season, you would buy them the new Abercrombie and Kent offering–a $1.5 million trip around the world for eight aboard a Flexjet Challenger 605. Hotel rooms, granted they are luxury accomodations, are double occupancy at that price. So what did you expect for only $1.5 million? The leather seats transform into beds if the pace wears you down.

Yes, excess, I know. I’m just the reporter here. For the record, I am a lot more likely to go around the traffic pattern at Frederick, Maryland, in a rented Diamond DA40 than I am to go on this trip.

The price includes private showings and events at every stop that the rest of us will never see. The two-week grand tour includes a visit to Japan to see the Toji Temple and the emperor’s private retreat, both of which are closed to the public. There are two nights in Beijing, two nights in Hong Kong, and two nights in Agra, India, near the Taj Mahal. There are also two nights each in Turkey and France.

Challenger 605 aircraft

Challenger 605

Trips start after the current travel season ends in February. The Challenger will repeat the trip as many times as there are millionaires who are willing to pay the price. Or, at least they were millionaires before the trip began.

WorldFlight Pipistrel back in Europe

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

(Updated April 18. He has reached Malta. He was headed for Tunis but fuel levels over Libya dictated changing to the alternate, Malta, after a 10-hour flight Wednesday. The turbocharger is repaired and working. The oil return line to the Rotax turbocharger was blocked by carbon soot. The situation had been building for some time, including all the hours he spent over the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Look for the blog item from the mechanic titled “Glen Meyer’s Report” to see what he found here.)

Matevž Lenarčič of Slovenia, who just left South Africa on his GreenLight WorldFlight west around the world, had a turbocharger failure near Keetmanshoop, Namibia, and will remain there at least until April 12 while the turbocharger is replaced.

Click picture to enlarge, then click again.

The village is located in the lower third of Namibia, near South Africa. The turbocharger of his Rotax engine failed, due to a gap in the engine’s oil return line. It appears the lack of oil did not damage the engine due to the pilot’s quick reaction. Lenarčič realized he was only two miles from an airport, and intentionally shut the engine down to save it. Given the gliding characteristics of his Pipistrel, he had an easy glide to Keetmanshoop, where there is a tower, a modern terminal building, and a beautiful village nearby. The engine has had 400 hours of extreme heat, cold, dust and altitude, flying to Antarctica and above the top of Mt. Everest (topping out above 29,400 feet).

He is also having difficulty getting permission to cross Libya. He hopes to make it to Aero Friedrichshafen in Germany, an airshow that begins April 18, to celebrate his flight. AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne hopes to interview him there, but it depends on turbocharger replacement and airspace permission from Libya, which has not been granted.

Help is on the way from The Airplane Factory in Johannesburg, South Africa, a light sport manufacturer and service facility that makes the Sling 2 and Sling 4 aircraft. There is also a dealer named The Airplane Factory in California. Like Matevz’s Pipistrel, the Sling has also flown around the world and is also powered by a Rotax. Check out Pipistrel here.  This is the second trip around the world for a Pipistrel.

Pilot circles Everest, proceeds to Seychelles

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

Matevž Lenarčič of Slovenia arrived in India after an eight-hour flight from Nepal, where he realized his dream of circling the very top of Mt. Everest. It took a practice flight or two to check out the aircraft and oxygen equipment. Nepal wanted endless paperwork, which he provided with the help of a Nepal flying club (yes, they have those there, too, just like in the U.S. Check out the Avia Nepal Web site.)  At the very last second Nepal pulled his permit to circle Mt. Everest, but somehow he got close. (I’m guessing the winds and updrafts sent him to the top of Everest. Yeah, that’s the ticket. The winds did it.) After that flight, he beat a hasty retreat out of Nepalese airspace to India.

Can’t help but feel sorry for the climber who has risked his life and his personal finances to climb Mt. Everest, and when he gets on top, some guy in a Pipistrel goes by at 29,413 feet.

Mt. Everest

He is now safely at Seychelles International Airport off the coast of Africa after an 11-hour flight from India. His average ground speed was 136 knots.

He’s circling the world to the west, traveling up and down continents rather than across to study the world’s fresh water supply, photograph key environmental areas, and prepare a photography book. Only Africa left to circle, and he’ll be home.

Mt. Everest in distance