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Specially-equipped aircraft will fly around the world on Eagles Wings

TETERBORO, N.J. (May 12, 2004) -- Three adventure-seeking pilots will take to the skies today, attempting to be the first to fly around the world in a retrofitted Cessna 501 Citation I/SP, in addition to striving for 20 other speed, altitude and lift world records. Flown by Matt Brooks, Fred Lohden and Tim Weber, this is the lightest aircraft (12,500 lbs) ever to make this attempt, setting a new standard of performance for aircraft in this category.

In order to accomplish this feat, the aircraft has been retrofitted with Garrett Aviation's FJ44 Eagle II® package, giving it the extra power and fuel capacity it needs to complete this mission. The aircraft has been modified with Williams International FJ44-2A fanjet engines which increase thrust power and efficiency, and the wings have been modified to improve the plane's aerodynamics and increase fuel capacity. As a result of these modifications, the "World Flight" aircraft will be able to climb faster, soar to higher altitudes, conserve fuel, and reach its scheduled destinations on time&emdash;all on its way to setting a new record.

Critical flight and complex trip logistics will be handled by Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc. This includes all pre-planning logistics, such as overflight and landing permits, slot arrangements, and assistance in obtaining route approval from the National Aeronautic Association (NAA). They will also provide, arrange and/or coordinate ground handling that includes UVglobal Network member locations, fueling through the UVair Fueling Card, weather briefings, flight status, flight plan changes, and record documentation with Air Traffic Controllers and the NAA.

"The Eagle II package improves the overall performance of the aircraft in all categories, but at a fraction of the cost of buying new," said Frank Klaus, President of Garrett Aviation Services. We're excited to partner with Williams and Universal to ensure Matt, Fred and Tim's around-the-world trip is successful."

"World Flight" will begin and end in Teterboro, N.J., and will make 18 global stops along the way. The pilots plan to leave at 6:00 a.m. EDT today, and are scheduled to complete their by mission by 4:30 a.m. EDT Saturday, May 15. Each pilot will alternate flying the aircraft on legs ranging between two to five hours (with ground time) during the three-day flight. The entire flight will cover a minimum of 22,860 nautical miles, the distance required by NAA and Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) to be certified as national and world records respectively (see attached flight plan for estimated departure times).

The seasoned flight crew, all California natives, has 90 years of combined flying experience, accumulated through a variety of civilian, military and commercial flying adventures:

  • Matt Brooks, 52, has been flying since he was 13 years old. He is an attorney by training, and currently is President and CEO of a real estate investment company. Matt lives in San Francisco.

  • Fred Lohden, 62, has been flying since 1966 in a number of aviation careers, including as a Naval Officer and Senior Captain for United Airlines. He is currently an aviation analyst for NASA and