Helicopter finishing global flight with Alaska leg
A trio of adventurers are on the verge of completing a circumnavigation of the planet in a small helicopter this week, as the last leg of their three-month trip takes them across Alaska.
The EPIC World Tour, which began in Whistler, Canada on May 1, was originally scheduled to return there in 84 days. According to the tour’s website, pilots Ruben Dias and Mischa Gelb along with videographer Diogo Dias have flown their Robinson R66 helicopter to 45 countries on the 30,000-mile, 107-stop eastward trip across the planet.
An online tracker for the flight showed the R66 arriving in Nome, then taking a route east and southeast which avoided much of the Railbelt and Southcentral Alaska. The helicopter stopped Friday afternoon at the Yakataga Airport, about 70 miles west of Yakutat, then flew to Juneau Friday evening before it was set to complete its trip in Whistler.
According to aviation publication Vertical magazine, the R66 has been fitted with a ferry fuel tank, life rafts, expanded avionics and satellite phones for the trip. Gelb told the magazine that Diogo Dias flew separately from Russia to Alaska to reduce weight in the helicopter, which the pilots are flying in survival suits when it’s over water.
The first helicopter to circumnavigate the earth, the Spirit of Texas, made the trip with two pilots including billionaire H. Ross Perot’s son in 1982. According to Dallas-based D Magazine, the Soviet Union’s denial of a landing site for the trip forced the Bell 206L to refuel on a Pacific Ocean container ship in high seas before the crew reached land again at Cold Bay.
Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.