WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Aeronautic Association has released its list of the most memorable aviation records of 2014.They include:
Free Three Turnpoint Distance: 1,052.37 miles; Record for gliders (motorgliders, flown single-place): After self-launching a Glaser-Dirks DG-1001M motorglider from Nahuel Huapi airport, near Bariloche, Argentina, Jim Payne soared along the Andes mountains for over 14 hours. His flight on Jan. 2 set a record for distance of 1,052.37 miles, beating the previous record of 1,024 miles set in 2004.
Speed Over a Recognized Course, Palm Beach, Fla., to Birmingham, UK: 619.71 mph; Record for airplanes (jet engine, weighing 35,274 < 44,092 lbs): On the morning of Jan. 24, James Blase and Stephanie Ruyle departed Florida’s Palm Beach International Airport in a Gulfstream G280 bound for Birmingham, UK. The pair made the 4,306-mile flight, in 6 hours, 57 minutes, establishing the first record along that route at an average speed of 619.71 mph.
Speed Over a 15 Kilometer Course: 378.63 mph; Record for airplanes (piston engine, weighing 1,102 < 2,205 lbs): Lee Behel flew the homebuilt GP-5 (a Reno racer powered by a 575 horsepower Chevrolet V8 engine) along a predetermined nine-mile course, just north of Mojave, Calif., on April 12. Flying once in each direction along the course, his average speed for the two runs was 378.63 mph, beating the previous record set in 1989 by more than 75 mph.
Speed Over a 5,000 Kilometer Closed Course: 207.81 mph; Record for airplanes (piston engine, weighing 2,205 < 3,858 lbs): Starting from California’s Mojave Air and Space Port on April 20, Zachary Reeder took the Rutan Catbird on a flight that would last more than 15 hours and cover more than 3,110 miles. Reeder made 10 laps of the 311-mile course (from Mojave to Inyokern, Calif., and on to Big Pine, Calif.), averaging 207.81 mph and establishing the first record for a course of this distance.
Distance in a Straight Line: 18.64 miles; Record for model aircraft (radio controlled helicopter, electric motor): On April 26, John McNeil launched a 12-pound, battery-powered, remote control model helicopter from the Soda Dry Lake Road in California Valley, Calif. McNeil and his observers followed the helicopter by car to a predetermined landing spot, which they arrived at some 25 minutes later. The 18.64 mile flight beat the previous record, set in 2004, by over 15 miles.
Exit Altitude: 135,898 feet; Record for parachutes: Wearing a space suit, a life-support system, and a parachute, Alan Eustace took off from the Roswell, N.M., International Air Center while being carried aloft by a 400 foot high helium balloon. His ascent into the stratosphere on Oct. 24 lasted a little more than two hours, and when he released from the balloon at 135,898 feet, he set the world record for “Exit Altitude.” He beat the previous record, set by Felix Baumgartner in 2012, by more than 8,000 feet.
Duration: 80 hours, 2 minutes, 52 seconds; Record for unmanned aerial vehicles (remotely controlled, internal combustion & jet engine, weighing 11,023 < 22,046 lbs): The Aurora Flight Sciences “Orion”— an 11,200 pound, twin piston-engine, unmanned vehicle—took off from Ridgecrest, Calif., on Dec. 5 and landed three days later, after spending 80 hours, 2 minutes, and 52 seconds airborne. Peter LeHew, John Cody Allee, David Paul Gerhardt, Joel Walker and Thomas Washington remotely piloted the Orion from a nearby trailer, establishing the first duration record in this class.
The record setters will be honored at NAA’s Summer Awards Ceremony, which will be held June 14, at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.