A California father and his 12-year-old son are flying around the world in their homebuilt RV-8 to raise awareness about childhood cancers.
After six years of building their own airplane, Julian, Calif., resident Stephan Armstrong and his son, Charlie, plan to fly their plane “SEE WORLD I” around the world to raise awareness for pediatric cancer research. The flight, which is set to begin in May 2012, will start at the Borrego Valley Airport in California. From there they will travel to the east coast, Canada, Greenland, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, Japan, Russia, Alaska and then back to San Diego. The quest will stretch over a period of three months and cover five continents, 29 countries, and a total distance of more than 35,000 miles.
SEE WORLD I has a 180-hp fuel-injected Lycoming engine propelled with a 2-blade Hartzell constant speed propeller. The plane’s cruise speed is 195 mph. It has a service ceiling of 20,000 ft and an extended range of 1,200 miles. Its fuel capacity is 70 gallons. It took six years, the equivalent of approximately 1,600 hours of labor, to build. It is presently being outfitted with a state of the art Dynon electronic Flight Display and electronic Engine Monitoring System with GPS.
“We’ve always wanted to fly around the world in a small plane,” says Armstrong, whose pilot’s license dates back to 1978. “We couldn’t afford a plane, so we had to build one. The idea for “Flying-for-the-Cure” is a result of our family’s long and personal involvement in the fight against cancer. Of all cancers we feel childhood cancer deserves our attention the most. Pediatric cancer is not only the most overlooked, underfunded and neglected form of cancer, but it is by far the most heartbreaking. No child deserves to suffer from this horrible disease. Yet it is the number one cause of non-accidental death for children in the U.S. and so far it cannot be prevented. It would be impossible for us not to use this event to help. We know, with the support of people who read this, we can make a difference and change the lives of kids who need our help.”
On their trip around the world the father/son team will organize as many media events as possible, and also visit various pediatric cancer hospitals. Charlie, a homeschooler, gets to have the fieldtrip of a lifetime. Unofficially deemed navigator and co-pilot, he will not only receive an education in piloting, geography, world culture, history and geology, but also become an ambassador for children with cancer, his father said. Highlights of the trip include the Smithsonian, the Louvre, the Pyramids, Athens, Rome, the Taj Mahal, Ayers Rock and so much more. “We are not in it to boast, nor are we looking for personal glory. Our message is simple — you don’t have to be a movie star or a millionaire to help.” Armstrong is an apple farmer in Julian.
For more information: Flying-for-the-Cure.org