The Classic Aircraft Aviation Museum is raising funds in support of the recreation of Charles Lindbergh's and Amelia Earhart's historic flights on the 90th and 80th anniversaries, respectively.
90 years ago Charles Lindbergh bridged the Atlantic Ocean with a flight from New York to Paris in his custom-built plane 'The Spirit of St. Louis'.
80 years ago, Amelia Earhart set out in her Lockheed 10A "Electra" to fly around the world at the equator, with Fred Noonan as her navigator. Her goal was to fly the greatest distance around the world, a feat never before accomplished.
On May 20, 1927, Lindbergh departed from New York and landed in Paris 33 hours later.
On June 1, 1937, Amelia Earhart formally announced her flight as she departed from Miami, Florida. Unfortunately, on July 2 she disappeared over the Pacific somewhere in the vicinity of Howland Island, her planned fuel stop on the way from Papua, New Guinea, to Hawaii. She was going to land her plane on the beach and refuel from the Coast Guard Cutter, Itasca. She never arrived. Her disappearance is still one of the great mysteries of the 20th Century.
To this day their daring pioneering spirit is a shining example to everyone.
In an attempt to honor that spirit, the Classic Aircraft Education Museum in Spring Branch, Texas, is sponsoring a recreation of both Charles Lindbergh's and Amelia Earhart's flights. Brian Lloyd will be flying his 1979 Mooney M20K "231", christened 'Spirit' to honor these pioneers, solo along both routes. (There will be a few deviations to accommodate the current geopolitical climate.) Mr. Lloyd will depart from Spring Branch, TX, on May 18, 2017. He will depart from New York for Paris on May 20. After a short layover in Paris he will return to the US via the Azores and Newfoundland.
After 5 days in Ft. Lauderdale for inspections and maintenance he will depart on June 1, in keeping with Ms. Earhart's original schedule. He will attempt to keep to her schedule as closely as possible commensurate with weather and mechanical issues with the airplane, until reaching Darwin Australia. At that point he plans to deviate from her planned route in order to fly over more of Australia and to add New Zealand and Fiji to the route.
After Fiji Mr. Lloyd will proceed to Howland Island on the way to Kauai, Hawaii. There are no facilities on Howland upon which his aircraft can land so he will overfly the island, dropping two leis, one each in memory of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.
One of the interesting aspects of this trip is the inclusion of Social Media so interested people can follow along with Mr. Lloyd in real time. His position will be reported by Iridium Satellite phone every 5 minutes. He will be able to use his satellite link to post updates to Facebook in-flight. He will also be able to answer questions posted in Facebook and email. Any place he lands where there is Internet access, he will be uploading photos and videos. The goal is to help YOU experience what it might have been like to have been along with Amelia Earhart on her historic flight.
Unfortunately, this historic commemorative flight is extremely expensive. The United States is one of the few countries left where an individual of ordinary means can still enjoy personal flying. Most of the world assumes that aircraft belong to the rich and are therefore subject to exorbitant taxes and fees. Fees alone are expect to run approximately $1,000-$2,000 per stop and there are some 30 stops outside the United States. Fuel is equally scarce as aviation gasoline (avgas) has almost disappeared in favor of jet fuel. In many places along the route, fuel will have to be delivered in 200L barrels at a cost of $1,500 per barrel. (That is almost $30/gallon!) It takes almost 4 barrels to fully fuel the aircraft. (Fortunately in places where fuel is scarce we can usually get by with only one or two barrels, having carried extra fuel from the previous stop.) All in all, fees and fuel are expected to cost over $80,000, how much over, we won't know until the last minute.
In addition to the cost of the trip itself, the aircraft requires special preparation for the trip, specifically it is to be modified to carry almost triple its normal fuel load in order to be able to fly the longest leg, 3,200 miles (5,200 km). Special communications radios for satellite and high-frequency (shortwave) are also being added. Older types of navigation radios -- automatic direction finding (ADF) and distance measuring equipment (DME) -- are being added as a back-up to GPS. Also lightning-detection equipment (Stormscope) is being added to help Mr. Lloyd avoid tropical thunderstorms where weather radar is unavailable (which is most of the route).
So, in the end, the cost of this trip is going to come in at well over $100,000. Add in food, lodging, and survival equipment for the pilot and you can see why we hope to raise $125,000! Donations are tax deductible as the Classic Aircraft Aviation Museum is a 501©(3) non-profit corporation in the United States.
So come along with us to honor Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, and Fred Noonan. Experience this amazing adventure!
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