The four single engine airplanes completed their voyage around the world.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association – Japan members on four private airplanes completed their 5 week long around-the-globe circumnavigation arrived at Naha International Airport, Japan on July 5, 2001. This is the final destination for their 21st Century project, which is not a record run but something unusual. One of them still has a transpacific leg to return to its home in Idaho, U.S.
eWe are amateurs,f said Mr. Kozo Takita, the president of AOPA-J, told a reporter at live TV broadcast at Naha in the morning of July 6. The TV crew found airplane cabin so small. For aviation enthusiasts two of the Piper Mirage is a big 6-place. Other two, Pilatus PC-12 and Beech A-36 Bonanza, also can fly by Instrument Flight Rules.
Their biggest problem was at Russia. To cross the North Pacific, their airplanes which did not have any special fuel tank modification, had to have a fuel stop at Kamchatka. There is no standard Aviation Gasoline there. They had to bring it from Alaska, have certification gas ownership, its quality inspected, all in very bureaucratic system. There they had one week in struggle.
The rest of the legs were fairly trouble-free. Only one mechanical failure was an alternator of Mirage twin-generator system, which was repaired at Cannes, France, supervised by one of the flight crew who is a professional aviation mechanic. Two days were consumed to acquire permit to fly over Saudi Arabia, but it was not significant after the Russian issue.
The members will report to their AOPA-J meeting on July 14 in Tokyo.
(Text by K. Shimada, AOPA-J, AOPA, EAA, IAC.)