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Thu, Aug 07, 2008

AgustaWestland RTW Speed Record Attempt Underway

Scott Kasprowicz, Co-Pilot Took Off From NYC Thursday Morning

They're off! Pilot Scott Kasprowicz and co-pilot Steve Sheik departed New York at approximately 3:00 am Thursday morning in an attempt to set a new speed record for an around-the-world helicopter flight; the goal is to complete the trip in under 14 days. The record setting flight -- dubbed "The Grand Adventure" -- is being attempted in Kasprowicz's twin engine stock AgustaWestland Grand helicopter.

"In order to succeed in a trip like this, you need an aircraft like the Grand that has above average fuel efficiency and exceptional reliability," said Kasprowicz, the former CEO of Texel Corporation. "What will make this record setting flight even more meaningful is the fact that we will make the trip in a factory standard aircraft that has not been specially outfitted or modified for this kind of application."

Unlike previous flights to break the world helicopter speed record, no additional fuel tanks or mission specific modifications have been added to the helicopter to improve performance.

The Grand Adventure will cover over 20,046 nautical miles, 15 countries, 24 time zones, 30 states and make 65 fuel stops. The crew will travel eastbound across the Atlantic into Europe via Greenland, traverse western and eastern Europe into Russia, cross 14 time zones in Russia, return to North America over the Bering Strait and cross the US and return to New York City.

During their 14-day journey, Kasprowicz and Shiek will also attempt two other world record flights -- Washington, DC to New York and New York to London. As ANN reported, in February both men broke the speed record for the fastest transcontinental helicopter flight from New York to Los Angeles. The record breaking flight was achieved in 15 hours, 9 minutes and 10 seconds resorting to only six fuel stops and covering 2,139.8 nautical miles.

During his journey Kasprowicz's aircraft must cross every meridian on the globe... but is prohibited from travelling into the poles, due to time and distance advantages.



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