A 54-year old pilot by the name of Robert DeLaurentis has set off on what promises to be quite the adventure. In November of last year, he embarked on a journey to attempt to fly circumnavigate the planet by airplane, covering some 26,000 nautical miles (29,900 miles/48,119 km) along the way. That alone isn’t necessarily all that remarkable, after all people fly around the world all the time. But in this case, that journey is being made via the North and South Pole, traveling north-south, rather than east-west. That’s alone is a real game changer and a pretty interesting undertaking.
DeLaurentis is taking on this challenge in a specially built aircraft called the Citizen of the World. There are a number of things that make this aircraft special, including being the first to use a new high-tech tracking system that has only recently been activated. But most importantly, it uses biofuel to power its engines, making it more eco friendly that most other aircraft. It will also be carrying a couple of scientific experiments onboard, including one that the pilot will use to collect water samples from around the globe to test for microplastics in the oceans.
As mentioned, the project is already underway and back in December, the San Diego-based pilot flew south and completed his crossing of Antarctica. It took him 18 hours to complete that journey, thankfully amidst good weather conditions. Still, he had to constantly monitor the plane to ensure that the fuel didn’t freeze up and he faced navigational challenges along the way too. Worst of all, was pilot fatigue, which after that long in the cockpit can be a serious concern. Fortunately, he made it through in once piece and is continuing the journey.
But DeLaretnis’s goals go well beyond collecting data and making a flight around the world. He’s hoping to use his mission to unite people from across the planet who will hopefully be following this progress. In doing so, he further hopes that that will foster understanding and acceptance, taking a step towards achieving world peace. That’s a pretty lofty aim and he already has his hands full just traversing the globe, but it is a nice thought nonetheless.
Ultimately, Robert hopes to create a documentary about his globe-spanning flight and share what it is like to travel across both the Arctic and Antarctic. He’ll now stat to fly north to prepare for a flight over the North Pole, which will likely come later this spring, once conditions in the Arctic begin to improve once again.
Find out more and follow along on the project’s official website.