Most memorable aviation records of 2009

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA), as the official record keeper for United States aviation, each year tracks dozens of world and national record attempts. New U.S. records are certified and those qualifying as world records are then ratified with the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), the world air sports federation.

In 2009 NAA certified 124 records and has identified the following seven as the “Most Memorable:”

Speed Around the World, Eastbound: 370 mph (jet engine airplanes weighing 6,614 < 13,228 lbs): Departing from Morristown, New Jersey, on April 12, Jared Isaacman and Douglas Demko flew a Cessna Citation CJ2 around the world, making 14 stops before returning to Morristown on April 15. Their flight averaged 370 mph, beating the previous record of 279 mph set in 1991.

Greatest Payload: 176,450 pounds (jet engine airplanes weighing 551,155 < 661,386 lbs): After loading a Lockheed Martin C-5M Super Galaxy with stacks of pallets totaling 176,450 pounds, Major Cory Bulris, USAF, and his crew departed Dover AFB, Delaware on Sept. 13, on a mission to set 41 world records. This was the first of 41 records set during the flight, and it beat the previous record of 161,023 pounds set in 1993.

Largest Freefall Formation: 181 persons: Jumping from nine aircraft over Perris, California, the women of team “Jump for the Cause” joined together during freefall for a 181-person formation. Their jump on Sept. 26,beat the previous record of a 151-person formation in 2005.

Highest Takeoff: 14,110 feet (piston engine helicopters weighing 1,102 < 2,205 lbs): Taking off from Colorado Springs, Colorado, in a Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter on Oct. 12, Mark Young landed at the summit of Pikes Peak, an elevation of 14,110 feet. His subsequent takeoff from Pikes Peak set the first record in this class.

Free Three Turnpoint Distance: 623 miles (ultralight gliders weighing < 485 lbs): After releasing from tow near Rosamond, California, on April 25, James Payne flew a Windward Performance SparrowHawk ultralight glider a distance of 623 miles. His flight beat the previous record of 497 miles set in 2003.

Speed Over a Commercial Airline Route, Washington to Paris: 605 mph (airplanes operated during commercial air service): Flying a United Airlines Boeing 777-200 from Washington, D.C. to Paris, on Jan. 14, Martin Kemp and his crew made the flight in 6 hours, 23 minutes, averaging 605 mph. Their flight beat the previous record of 574 mph set in 1990.

Speed Over a Triangular Course of 100 Kilometers: 31 mph (rigid wing, weight shift hang gliders): After being towed to 1,500 feet over Zapata, Texas, Dustin Martin flew a Wills Wing T2C hang glider around a 62-mile triangular course in 2 hours, 2 minutes, for an average speed of 31 mph. His flight on July 26 beat the previous record of 27 mph set in 2002.

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