Back to Squawk list

Longest Flight on a Home Built Airplane

Pilot Bill Harrelson just landed after a 22:15 hour flight covering 4,340nm distance from Peru, IN to Honolulu, HI. This has to be a record..! ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

Andrew Scholl 11
That's odd...I guess if I had the range to do that I still would have stopped in California to fill up and let my body and mind catch up. I'd love to know more about this flight though.
Kenneth Smoll 1
I agree...
tim mitchell 9
I wonder if he was alone....that's along time to stay awake over water with nothing really to do.
smoki 2
Gives you some appreciation for what Charles Lindbergh did in a comparatively crude flying machine, Spirit of St. Louis, when he soloed across the Atlantic on his way to Paris from Long Island N.Y. on May 20, 1927. Though his distance was less than this flight, 3500 miles compared to 4300 miles, his was longer in time, 33 hours compared to 22 hours. Lindbergh was lying in a prone position the entire time relying on a periscope device to sight forward while surrounded by hundreds of gallons of gasoline carried in spare tanks crammed into the fuselage taking up most of the available space

He had hardly slept the night before, the field was muddy making the takeooff hazardous and the takeoff roll longer the following morning at 8am whence he barely cleared some telephone wires at the field boundary. He at times was no more than a mere 10 feet above the Atlantic waves trying to get under the fog. He had no one to talk to and had carried 4 sandwiches as inflight catering. He relied entirely on dead reckoning navigation with a simple compass to guide him but came amazingly close to his planned landfall position on the Irish coast. At one point he started to ice up but managed to get low enough into warmer air to eliminate the hazard.

The most dangerous part of his flight may have been the landing at Paris when people broke through the police barracade and cam running at him with the engine still running and the prop turning. He was afraid he was going to kill somebody so he shut down the engine immediately after coming to a stop. He was a shy young man who was shuffled from pillar to post after his heroic achievement who didn't care much for all the attention he received which ultimately changed his life forever and not all of it for the best. His fame resulted in the painful kidnapping death of his first son.
Marcus Pradel 7
The next leg is to Guam, then Non-Stop back to Orlando!

1/2 way around the world & back without having to use your Passport..

As I understand, he's doing it Solo.
I hope he flew this with NAA and/or the FAI sanction: then it can be actually be recorded as a record flight... otherwise, it's just an interesting personal achievement.

NOTE. I think a Long-Eze [or another similar Rutan acft] may have flown a longer non-stop leg (AK to FL ?).

NOTE. Flying over-water as the last leg of a 4340NM looooong flight is way gutsy: he obviously had confidence in his performance!

Regards, Wil Taylor
Toby Sharp 1
HE probably built that engine ha!
Pa Thomas 4
Did the Voyager count as a homebuilt?
Toby Sharp 1
Michael Logan 3
Bill left Guam just a little before midnight EST last night on his way to Florida. He had some headwinds at the beginning. He is doing this to set a distance record. His Lancair IV is chock full of fuel tanks with not much room for anything else. His current position is 034°05′41.6′′N, 163°41′53.3′′W (about 900 miles north of Hawaii), he is at 15,447 ft and doing 187kts.
david kuhn 1
You mean North of GUAM according to the cooordinates given!
Mark Lansdell 1
Is his flight being tracked on FA?
Michael Logan 1
Yes N6ZQ

707t 3
love to hear the whole story
Michael Logan 2
He built the plane to fly around the world, planning to do it over the poles.
john cook 1
Who you calling a pole?
Had to have 400 gal of fuel on board. Probably needed the long runway to get airborne. Shows what can be done with a large ferry tank.
matt jensen 2
12,501' main runway at Grissom.
Sierra hotel! Great job, Bill!
I guess he really got tired of the cold weather.
tim mitchell 3
he took flying the coop to a whole new
Lancair IV i want one of these
Toby Sharp 3
with the walter engine and 5 blade prop of course!
Impressive, possibly on record as #1 in actual distance, but not time .. Lindgergh's trip was 3,610 miles in 33 1/2 hours.
Toby Sharp 1
still amazing to stop and think about isn't it?!
12 hours looking at water - hope he brought a good book with him.
David Platt 2
Modern day adventure , love it
Toby Sharp 2
Shoulda named that Diaper flight!
tim mitchell 1
that would of been a bad time to have a sour
Toby Sharp 0
that's grounds for an in flight emergency
tim mitchell 2
nah just wear depends and throw them out the window when
bashdan 1
Bravo Zulu capt'n!!
Does anyone know the approx amount of fuel he is carrying with all the tanks? I'm trying to read the rest of the story, but it keep taking me to the flight track page
Michael Logan 1
I think it is right around 400 gallons.
Mike Mohle 1
He went almost 1000 mi. longer than the great circle too! Shortest route would have been over N California. I wonder how he decided on this route, or whether he wanted to get the mileage up for some record. Now he has to get back, unless of course he is continuing around the world westbound.
Torsten Hoff 1
Windws aloft?
Something amiss here. Great circle tracker lists the distance GUS-SFO-HNL as 4342 sm. GUS-SAN-HNL as 4411. Great flight either way but I wonder about the 5320 sm figure.
preacher1 2
Well, something is squirrely just at a glancing look. When you call up the story and get the FA track there, it says 4340sm direct and 5320sm as flown. Well that track looked pretty straight and just about as direct as one could go and I can't see 980 miles there.I got mixed up on on last week comparing NM and SM, but these both say SM. Now I guess running it thru a full plan and track might bring it down exact but I still don't see 980 miles there. Anybody care to enlighten?
tim mitchell 2
maybe he would fly 5 miles and the wind would blow him back
tim mitchell 2
maybe greattrack is going off of Nautical miles
I wonder what the winds were heading west.
j walter 1
Dumb non-pilot question: On a flight that long, is it possible to set the autopilot to read a book? (or other things that take your eyes off the instruments) Or do you really need to be focused for 22 hours?
You COULD but the most I'd even consider doing on single pilot would be to Bluetooth my iPod. only takes half a second for things to go pear shaped.
j walter 4
So, I guess taking a nap is out of the question :). Wow, thats a long time to stay mentally focused. I can't imagine being alert for 22 hours. After 13 hours of driving my RV, I start to hallucinate.
tim mitchell 3
in all actuality it is almost impossible to stay focused that long....probably about 300 miles past Cali. he was thinking what am I doing.
Arthur Costa 1
muito bom esse aplicativo!
What a great flight in a Lancair 4 - Great Job! Hopefully the winds will be kinder to you on the way back!
Good advertising for the airplane
Sammy Sirhan 1
I am tipping my hat capt'N
Kenneth Smoll 1
I would have done that flight the other direction if I were him and were going for a record. Pretty small target the way he did it. Lots of options if something goes wrong if you set the record the other way.
Mark Lansdell 1
That wasn't an easy day to fly. AAL flight ABQ / DFW strapped in the cabin crew to get through en route weather. 'Not a good week to quit smoking.'
ric lang 1
Don't nail me with this statement if i have it wrong, but I believe Peter Garrison in a homebuilt flying gas tank called Melmoth which he not only built but designed himself, flew the thing from CA to Japan nonstop....Here's a guy I admire, more so because he did it with his wife on board.....I can only imagine the rhetoric going on during that flight!
ericvap 1
Yes great circle 7052 BUT Filed 8113 @ 180kts I belive this is the record run! SEL & IO550 doing what a G650 cant!
david kuhn 1
According to the positin given he would be N. of GUAM; NOT Hawaii!
Really, why wouldn't you land in CA and hit the head, get some sleep and a decent meal.
It would only make sense.
Mark Lansdell 2
What are the "rules" for the record, if that's what he's after. He may not have been able to stop and still challenge the record he was after. As for flying the route in the other direction, airplane drivers have been making that trip for many years, before nav. aids and loran and long before GPS and SatNav. It wasn't that long ago that the hottest lick was on board radio direction equipment combined with dead reckoning and celestial sightings. There's certainly no shortage of time to do the arithmetic.
what type of aeroplane was that and how much fuel was carrying. Was it equipted with autopilot? Was flying with a single pilot?
Michael Logan 2
Lancair IV with about 400 gallons. It has an autopilot and with 400 gallons, there is not room for any other people
Mark Lansdell 1
I guess the sequester is affecting all the transponders. Flight tracking seems to be about 3 hours behind. My plotter shows him over Oklahoma within Albuquerque Cntr.
DesertDave 1
Congratulations to Bill, whether it is a record, or not.
canyoncountry 0
I don't understand why he didn't fly the great circle route?? Maybe weather??
Weather and winds aloft were unfavorable to fly great circle.
Andy Cornwell 0
This aircraft is currently en route from Guam to Jacksonville. 7052nm listed as the great circle distance. Holy moly.
Marcus Pradel 2
he has now landed. Amazing job Bill!
Bob Booth 0
What an amazing feat! Can't believe the local newscasts didn't pick up on this. Welcome to Jacksonville, Bill!


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!