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?
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.
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."