Around-the-world group flight, just for fun.
Sixteen of AOPA(Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association)-Japan members began their flight of lifetime on June 1, 2001. Four aircraft, two Piper Miragefs, a Beech Bonanza, and a Pilatus PC-12 are to circumnavigate the globe to make friends with other IAOPA colleagues, brush up their flying skill(by one of ultimate measures), and most of all, to enjoy the exotic scenery overseas.
Mr. Kozo Takita, president of AOPA-J, stresses:
gOurs is not a record attempt. Just like AOPA-Jfs past overseas group flights to Philippines and Russia, the idea is to fly no more than 8 hours a day, find a good local restaurant at a stop, have fun. No rush on weather. Human factors are important, i.e., no interpersonal conflicts. Overall, I recognize no previous flight like ours.h They had a departure eve feast already, with Russian navigators whose boarding is mandatory for Russian territory flight. They made a special fuel depot to secure Aviation Gas at Russian stop.
Kozo, a veteran IFR pilot, will make a Seattle departure ? destination Fukushima, Japan flight aboard a non-pressurized Beech A-36. A PC-12 will have an Idaho-Idaho flight plan. Two Mirages have taken off out of Hokkaido (north island) on June 1st. They are to stop at Russian peninsula, then make a transpacific to Fairbanks, Alaska, cross northern part of Canada, stop at Greenland during a transatlantic, then to Iceland, UK, France, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Bahrain, Oman, India, Vietnam, Philippines, and back to Tokyo. None of the aircraft have a temporarily installed long-range tank. Their longest leg is 967 NM.
You find a variety of talents in this group. To fly with a veteran physician and a top-certification mechanic might make things a little easier. There are non-pilot members also, which include an aviation journalist and AOPA-J secretary. On the ground, as their secretary is flying, one-man AOPA-J base operator, Mr. Imahashi, will update Web page progress report.
Wish they safely complete a challenging and rewarding flight. They expect to return to Japan in July.
text by K. Shimada AOPA-J#0097, AOPA# 01175972, EAA#244236