On Dec. 18, 1990, Tom Casey became the first person to fly solo around the world in a single-engine seaplane, landing only on water. He did it in a converted Cessna 206 named the “Liberty II” equipped with floats. A new novel by William Coleman, “Floatplane Odyssey,” details the account of this historic adventure.
Coleman was charged by Phillips 66 — Casey’s sponsor — with the promotion of the quest, and served as the behind the scenes route planner, coordinating entries and exits with countries and diplomats across the globe. All the while, he took notes and conducted interviews with those Casey interacted with along his journey.
Explains Coleman, “The world needs to know and appreciate the accomplishments made by Tom Casey during the year 1990. This record-setting adventure likely will never be repeated. The account is based on his logbook, among other testimonials. As his official ground and flight coordinator, I retained all of the official flight information, photos, and worldwide documentation.”
The aircraft conversion involved replacing the existing engine with a higher performance IO-550 Continental engine and installing specially built Wipline floats, which contained internal fuel bladders manufactured by Wipaire.
It took Casey 188 days, with more than 75 takeoffs and landings on oceans, bays, lakes, and rivers in 20 countries, flying a total of more than 29,000 miles, often at a maximum speed of 144 mph, to accomplish this once in lifetime journey.
Coleman adds that despite his heroic accomplishment, Casey has never been officially recognized with a record.
“Casey deserves it,” explains Coleman. “We are hoping that the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) will agree and present Casey with the record. He deserves all the accolades that come with flying this round-the-world feat. Further, it is my opinion that he was as good a pilot as Lindbergh and perhaps even better, since he flew further and had to land and take off only on water.”