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‘Zen Pilot’ DeLaurentis joins AOPA Opinion Leaders‘Zen Pilot’ DeLaurentis joins AOPA Opinion Leaders

What pilot wouldn’t dream of flying a personal aircraft to the ends of the earth for worthy causes, while reporting back to fellow aviators on the adventures and challenges that crop up along the way?

Photo by Cece Canton.

That’s the mission AOPA’s new Opinion Leaders blogger, Robert DeLaurentis, the Zen Pilot, plans to carry out from December 2018 through March 2019 during a pole-to-pole flight in his refurbished 1983 Gulfstream turbine Commander 900, appropriately named Citizen of the World.

“Traveling to the ends of the earth is an enormously complicated and ambitious task—but we are up for this epic trip,” he writes of his upcoming journey. “The benefit to humanity, STEM education, aviation and science makes it all worth the risk. By planning for and overcoming the challenges we will inevitably meet, we will show the world that impossibly big dreams can be achieved and that we are all connected: One planet. One people. One plane. Oneness and Humanity.”

DeLaurentis, a bestselling author, speaker, seasoned long-range flier, and U.S. Navy veteran who lives in San Diego, has a passion for sharing the inspirations he has gleaned from his 1,100 hours of pilot time. An instrument- and multiengine-rated commercial pilot, he has also flown his Piper Malibu Mirage, Spirit of San Diego, to 53 countries, crossing the polar ice cap, the North Atlantic Ocean, the Bering Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico solo. In the summer of 2015 he flew around the world “single plane, single engine, single pilot.”

DeLaurentis has written two books, Flying Through Life and Zen Pilot, holds an advanced graduate degree in spiritual psychology, and operates a residential-property rental business and a supporting property management enterprise.

How a pilot prepares himself and his aircraft for a pole-to-pole flight is a work in progress, he says, but already what’s clear is that it’s amazing what can be accomplished if you try. You can follow his progress online starting with DeLaurentis’s first monthly Opinion Leaders post, "Preparing the 'Citizen of the World' for polar circumnavigation."

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: Around the World Flight, People, Ownership

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