Robert DeLaurentis flew a modified Gulfstream Turbo Commander 900 from Ushuaia, Argentina, to the South Pole—and back—December 16 during a “very challenging” 18-hour flight that included navigation loss, extreme weather, and pilot fatigue.
Before the flight, DeLaurentis observed that he faced the risk of fuel gelling, pilot fatigue, and worries about fuel quantities because of modifications performed on the two thirsty Honeywell TPE331-10T Predator Drone engines. If all went as planned, he calculated that his aircraft, Citizen of the World, would have a 27-percent extra margin of fuel running at about 5 nautical miles per gallon.
In addition, he was thrilled to fulfill a promise to fly the AOPA colors over the South Pole during the association’s eightieth anniversary year.
DeLaurentis also plans to fly Citizen of the World over the North Pole during a six-month mission to help unite humanity; bring science, technology, engineering, and math to the forefront of youth education; and highlight the benefits of general aviation. Follow his Pole to Pole effort online.