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 the chief pilot for a California real estate investment company. Fred lives in Oakland, Calif.
Tim Weber, 32, has been flying since the age of 20. He became a commercial airline pilot for Atlantic Coast Airlines in 1996, and was hired by Delta Airlines in 2001. He currently works for NASA as an aviation analyst. Tim lives in San Ramon, Calif.
"Thanks to Garrett Aviation, Williams International and Universal Weather and Aviation, we are embarking on an adventure of a lifetime," said Brooks. "Who could have imagined that a 500 series Cessna would be capable of such an accomplishment? It's certainly a testament to the technical expertise and skill of our sponsors," he added.
Garrett Aviation Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Electric Company, employs 1,200 people at 9 locations: Long Island, N.Y.; Augusta, Ga.; ElectroSonics, Columbus, Ohio; Springfield, Ill.; Little Rock, Ark.; Houston, Texas; Omaha, Neb.; Tempe, Ariz.; and Los Angeles, Calif. Together, they provide comprehensive maintenance for corporate aircraft, including factory-sponsored service and support for Honeywell and GE engines and APUs; major airframe inspections and maintenance; spares and repaired parts; avionics installation and services; aircraft refurbishment and modification; and FBO services. To learn more about Garrett Aviation Services, log onto www.garrettaviation.com.
Williams International, headquartered in Walled Lake, Michigan, designs, develops, and produces small jet engines for both U.S. and international customers. Founded in 1955, the majority of Williams' business through 1992 was in military applications, but today commercial fanjet engines make up more than 75 percent of its business. Williams FAA certified the first member of its revolutionary FJ44 family of engines in 1992. Today the FJ44 family of engines includes the -1A, -1C, -2A, -2C, -2E, -3A, and -4A. Nearly 2000 FJ44's are now in service around the world. In addition, in 1998 Williams announced development plans for a new engine, the FJ33-4. This smaller fanjet engine, derived from the reliable FJ44-2A, is designed for smaller air taxi / business jet applications. The engine is now in production for several customers. All combined, the Williams' family of fanjet engines span a range from 1000 lb to 3500 lb SLS thrust. To learn more about Williams International, log onto www.williams-int.com.
Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc., headquartered in Houston, is the pioneer of international flight support services for corporate aviation. Since 1959, the company has been arranging, coordinating and providing a wide range of services in support of trips for operators worldwide. This "seamless service from start to finish" trip support includes flight planning, permits, discount crew accommodations, worldwide weather forecasting, flight status, online weather & flight planning, the UVair® Fueling Card Program, the UVglobal Networksm , FlightPak® scheduling software and UVdatalink® air-to-ground communications. To learn more about Universal Weather and Aviation, log onto www.universalweather.com.