Two British helicopter pilots, Peter Wilson and Matthew Gallagher, stopped at AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Maryland, in July as they entered the final quarter of a world-spanning flight in a Robinson R66.
Their 120-plus-day, 30,000-nautical-mile adventure is the first helicopter circumnavigation that touches the equator in both the eastern and western hemispheres (Indonesia and Colombia).
The pair expect to fly about 300 flight hours, and their route has stretched from Arctic Alaska to the equator. They’ve been across Europe, the Middle East, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, Alaska, Canada, the U.S. West Coast, Central America, Trinidad, Cuba, and the U.S. East Coast. They planned to re-enter Canada at Quebec, cross the Atlantic via Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands (Sweden), and Scotland, then return home to England.
They’re documenting their trip with photos and video, and they’re taking scenic routes. From the Mid-Atlantic, the pair planned to fly New York’s Hudson River VFR corridor on their way northeast.
The pair has encountered bureaucratic snafus, weather delays, and bouts of sickness. But Gallagher said the people they’ve encountered along the way have been friendly and helpful.
“Everywhere we’ve gone, the people have been absolutely incredible,” he said. “That’s been the best part.”
Follow their progress online.