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World record flight hits a snag that delays start

World record flight hits a snag that delays start

By Sean Holstege
STAFF WRITER

Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - It wasn't bad weather or mechanical trouble that grounded three Bay Area pilots and postponed their attempted world-record flight, but last-minute logistics and government red tape.

The "World Flight" mission to carry Matt Brooks, the 52-year-old flight commander from San Francisco, pilot Fred Lohden, 62, of Oakland and San Ramon navigator Tim Weber, 32, around the world in a Cessna Citation was to have lifted off Sunday morning in New Jersey.

But the twin-engine plane's high-frequency radio arrived a week late. By the time it was installed late Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration inspector had 45 minutes to get to the airfield and certify the radio. That didn't happen.

So the World Flight team spent Monday regrouping, and hopes to take to the skies later this week.

Their 70-hour mission would take them west at an average altitude of around 40,000 feet. They plan 18 stops in 13 countries, lingering at each airfield no more than 20 minutes. The route is 22,860 nautical miles, and crosses the Bering Strait, the Arabian Desert and the North Atlantic.

If their mission succeeds, the three veteran Bay Area pilots will break 39 separate speed, distance and climbing records for a plane in the Cessna's weight class. It would become the first such plane to circle the globe.

Contact Sean Holstege at sholstege@angnewspapers.com