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3 Bay Area pilots return from 'World Flight 2004'

3 Bay Area pilots return from 'World Flight 2004'

By Kelli Phillips
CONTRA COSTA TIMES

Three Bay Area pilots returned to the United States late Sunday after trying to fly around the world in 70 hours -- against the wind.

Pilots Tim Weber, 32, of San Ramon; Matt Brooks, 52, of San Francisco; and Fred Lohden, 62, of Oakland arrived back at their starting point in Teterboro, N.J., around 11:30 p.m. local time Sunday.

The trip, dubbed "World Flight 2004," covered 22,860 nautical miles over 39 countries traveling east to west, against the wind.

They left Wednesday afternoon in a 26-year-old Cessna 501 Citation jet outfitted for extra power and fuel by Garrett Aviation. The crew originally was scheduled to return late Saturday or early Sunday, but they decided to extend a stop in Poland for a few extra winks.

"At this point everything is going as planned, it's just taken longer than they had originally thought," Garrett spokeswoman Eileen Boyce said Sunday afternoon.

"They stayed over in Poland at their Warsaw stop to catch up on sleep and everything else," Boyce said. "They got pushed back quite a bit."

Although the crew didn't achieve their goal of returning in 70 hours, they did complete the trip, stopping in 17 countries along the way, in just more than 112 hours.

Besides catching up on sleep, unexpected delays in customs and the weather put them behind.

"There definitely have been strong winds that have been a little difficult and the turnaround times have been slower at international stops," Boyce said.

A message posted from Brooks on the crew's Web site said: "Besides the weather, everything has been wonderful."

Glen Weber, Tim's father, said Sunday afternoon he had been monitoring the crew's progress via the Internet.

"I thought it was a fantastic opportunity for Tim," Glen Weber said. "He loves to fly and this was a chance to do something most people don't get to do. He's a pioneer; they went east to west, which is something people don't do."

Reach Kelli Phillips at 925-945-4780 or kphillips2@cctimes.com.

© 2004 Contra Costa Times and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

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