Around The World: A Gyrocopter's Start, Vacher's Finish

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Well, at least Warrant Officer Barry Jones is a realist. "I know it won't go smoothly, nothing ever does, but that's part of the adventure," Jones, a British Army helicopter pilot, told a news conference before setting off on a round-the-world flight in an open-cockpit gyrocopter. He'll cover more than 25,000 miles (including long stretches over water) on the flight, which he expects to take three and a half months. The flight will take him to 25 countries and, if he makes it, will set several records, including one for the lightest aircraft to do the circumnavigation. "I would be lying to say I wasn't nervous," said Jones. As Jones was getting ready to launch, fellow Brit Polly Vacher was returning from her epic adventure in a comparatively luxurious Piper Dakota. Vacher covered 58,000 miles in her bid to go around the world via both poles. She didn't make it over the South Pole because of bad weather but she did help to calm a diplomatic storm between Australia, the U.S. and New Zealand when she donated part of her Antarctic fuel supply to an Australian pilot who ran short while making a polar flight of his own. The U.S. and New Zealand bases on Antarctica had refused to refuel Jon Johansen's homebuilt, citing his lack of preparation for the trip. Although Vacher didn't reach her ultimate goal, she did become the first woman to fly solo around Antarctica in a light single and she was also the first to fly continuously around the world via all seven continents. She touched down at Birmingham Airport 357 days after leaving.