Returns To Texas Launch Site
They did it! Wednesday afternoon, just after 1300 CDT, pilots
Jennifer Murray and Colin Bodill returned to their Fort Worth, TX
launch location, complete with another world record to add to their
list of aviation accomplishments. The pair successfully completed
their flight around the world, pole to pole, in a Bell 407.
As ANN reported, the team
began their historic trip, called Polar First, last December from
the Bell Helicopter facility at Alliance Airport. The team's
189-day trip took them through 34 countries, and covered more than
"We've accomplished what no one's ever done before, and it's a
pretty darn good feeling," Murray told The Associated Press. "We've
really seen it all. We've seen the best, and we've seen the worst.
We've had tough times, and we've had great times."
Speaking on behalf of Bell Helicopter, Mike Blake, executive
vice president Customer Solutions stated, "Bell Helicopter is
grateful for the safe return of these two aviation pioneers and
proud of the significant role our 407 helicopter played in this
A major component of the Polar First mission was an educational
outreach program in partnership with the Royal Geographical Society
who worked with 28 key international schools in the countries
visited during the journey.
As Aero-News reported, the
team's first attempt at the record failed in 2003, when their
helicopter crashed in whiteout conditions at the South Pole. Both
pilots suffered serious injuries in the accident... but vowed to
In a particularly poignant moment during this second attempt,
Murray and Bodill returned to the site of the crash, and buried the
keys from that first helicopter there... under clear, blue
"It was a very healing and wonderful moment," Murray said.