California group attempts another helicopter world record

March 27, 2009

The World Record Helicopter Team from Southern California is attempting to break the world record for a flight from the West Coast of the United States to the East Coast and back. The standing record for the 4,000-nm trip is 70 hours and 19 seconds flown in a Robinson R44 Raven I, according to Chief Pilot Johan Nurmi. Joining him on this flight are Roy Sciortino, Tyler Kim, and Bill Laggner. Their plan is to depart Brown Field Municipal Airport ( SDM) in San Diego, Calif., at 6 a.m. and fly basically non-stop, landing only for fuel and oil, to Savannah Hilton Head International Airport ( SAV) in Georgia.

The exact day of departure has not yet been determined, but Nurmi says he expects it to be in early April. He is waiting for a three-day period of good weather along the entire route. He adds, “Timing of the weather is crucial for beating this record.” He should know, as he and three other pilots (Charles Martin, Dane Larsen, and Travis Reid) hold the current world record that his new team is attempting to beat. On that flight, they encountered instrument meteorological conditions in Savannah that slowed them down seven hours.

The clock starts when they lift off in their R44 Raven II and will stop when they touch down back in California.

Nurmi said, “If we have maintenance problems, or have to land because of strong winds, low ceilings, reduced visibility, fog, or thunderstorms, the total elapsed time is still running and we might not be able to beat the record.”

His World Record Helicopter Team holds four U.S. national speed records and two world records. Nurmi does these flights to help raise money for The Christian Foundation for Starving Children. More information can be found on his Web site.