WASHINGTON, D.C — The official record keeper for United States aviation, the National Aeronautic Association, has released its list of Most Memorable Aviation Records for 2015.
Speed Around the World, Over Both the Earth’s Poles: 43.68 mph
Record for airplanes (Class C-1.d, Group I-piston engine airplanes weighing 3,858 < 6,614 pounds)
William Harrelson took off from Kinston, North Carolina, in his homebuilt Lancair IV and flew to Montevideo, Uruguay; Punta Arenas, Chile; the South Pole; Hamilton, New Zealand; Fairbanks, Alaska; and the North Pole, returning to Kinston on Jan. 21. His 24-day, 8-hour odyssey beat the previous record of 8.72 mph set in 1987.
Distance: 6,655.88 miles
Record for balloons (Class AA-13–gas balloons, with a volume of 423,776 < 565,035 cubic feet)
Troy Bradley and Leonid Tiukhtyaev, also known as the “Two Eagles” team, launched their helium-filled balloon from Saga, Japan, on Jan. 25, and flew for more than 6 days and 16 hours, landing in the Pacific Ocean just off the coast of Baja, Mexico on Jan. 31. They beat the previous record of 3,543.7 miles set in 1984.
Speed Over a Recognized Course, Beijing, China to Savannah, Georgia: 609.52 mph
Record for airplanes (Class C-1.m, Group III–jet engine airplanes weighing 99,208 < 132,277 pounds)
Departing Beijing Capital Airport on Feb. 6, pilots Michael Jarrett, Raymond Wellington, and Scott Curtis flew a Gulfstream G650ER nonstop to Hilton Head International Airport. They covered over 7,334 miles in just 12 hours, 2 minutes, establishing the first record along the route.
Altitude with 120,000 Kilogram Payload: 37,290 feet
Record for airplanes (Class C-1.t, Group III–jet engine airplanes weighing 661,386 < 881,849 pounds)
Taking off with 265,300 pounds of dedicated payload (at a total weight of 731,292 pounds), Major Jonathan Flowers, USAF, and his seven fellow crew members flew a Lockheed Martin C-5M to over 37,000 feet. This new record was flown at Travis AFB, California on April 3.
Photo by Andrew McMurtrie
Speed Over an Out and Return Course of 1,000 kilometers: 158.47 mph
Record for gliders (Class DO–open class, general)
After self-launching their Schempp-Hirth Arcus M motorglider from Nevada’s Minden-Tahoe Airport, Jim Payne and Alan Coombs flew south along the Sierra Nevada Mountains to their start line near Inyokern, California. They then proceeded to their turnpoint located over 630 miles north along the Sierra Nevada Mountains — and then returned to Inyokern, before landing back at Minden-Tahoe. Their flight on April 5 beat the previous record 132.48 mph set in 2009.
Time to Climb to 3,000 Meters: 1 minute, 59.5 seconds
Record for airplanes (Class C-1.b, Group I–piston engine airplanes weighing 1,102 < 2,205 pounds)
On April 17, Elliot Seguin flew a modified Lancair Legacy from a standing start on the runway to 9,842 feet above Mojave, California’s Air and Space Port in less than 2 minutes. He beat the previous record of 2 minutes, 8.6 seconds set in 2014.
Distance in a Straight Line: 142.11 miles
Record for model aircraft (Class F3B–radio-controlled gliders)
At an abandoned airfield near Pioche, Nevada, John Ellias launched his 13-foot wingspan model glider using an electric winch. Then, controlling the model from a chase vehicle, he and his team headed north along Highway 93 to their pre-declared landing point, which they reached 5 hours and 45 minutes later. His flight on Aug. 9 set a new record in this class.
Speed Over a 100 km Closed Course: 397.40 mph
Record for airplanes (Class C-1.c, Group I–piston engine airplanes weighing 2,205 < 3,858 pounds)
After takeoff from New Mexico’s Moriarty Airport, Jon Sharp flew his Nemesis NXT (Neoteric eXperimental Technology) to a point 32 miles south and then back to Moriarty — in just 9 minutes, 46 seconds. His flight on Oct. 1 beat the previous record of 364.18 mph set in 2010.
Photo by Alan Radecki.
Distance Without Landing: 1,027.17 miles
Record for rotorcraft (Class E-3.b, Group I–piston engine autogyros weighing 1,102 < 2,205 pounds)
After declaring Cape Girardeau Regional Airport in Missouri as his landing spot, Paul Salmon departed El Paso International Airport in Texas in his Magni M22 gyroplane and flew non-stop until reaching Cape Girardeau some 10 hours later. His flight on Nov. 10 beat the previous record of 879.02 miles set in 2007.