10 most wanted

There are many aviation records still to be broken.

In fact, the National Aeronautic Association has a “10 Most Wanted” list of records, several of which go back to the 1930s.

The oldest, from May 1937, is for distance flown over a closed circuit — without landing, of course — by a piston powered seaplane. It is held by Mario Stoppani of Italy, who flew a CRDA CANT Z.506 3,231 miles. You’ll need 3,263.44 miles to set a new record, says the NAA’s Michael Pablo.

In November 1938, Mario Pezzi – another Italian – set an altitude record of 56,046 feet for piston landplanes, flying a Caproni Ca-161. You (or Bruce Bohannon) will have to reach 57,728 feet to top that 66-year-old record.

Beech Bonanzas hold two long-standing average speed records: around the world westbound (54.37 mph, including refueling stops) and speed over a 15/25 km straight course (a more respectable 220.46 mph).

Several of the most-wanted records involve aircraft not usually found in GA hangars. For example, Bryan Allen set a duration record of eight hours, 50 minutes, 12 seconds in his Raven White Dwarf airship. Drury Wood and Dieter Thomas set another of those distance-without-landing records – 423 miles – but their class was VTOL aircraft. Theirs was a Dornier Do-31.

You might need a Harrier or one of those new F-35s to beat them. Obviously there’s not much competition in this class.

Two records for jet aircraft, regardless of takeoff weight, are held by a Boeing 747-SP (average speed around the world over both Poles, 487.31 mph) and a Boeing B-52H (distance without landing, 12,532.28 miles). A third record, held by yet another Boeing – a 737-400 – is for distance without landing within the takeoff weights of 99,208 pounds and 132,277 pounds (3,891.18 miles).

Although these are Pablo’s 10 most wanted, there are dozens of other records available to pilots with the time, money and willingness to pursue them.

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