Most Memorable Aviation Records Cited

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A 10-minute rocket flight and a two-day-long balloon flight were among the most memorable aviation records of 2005, the National Aeronautic Association announced last week. Dick Rutan flew XCOR's EZ-Rocket, a modified Long-EZ, from Mojave to California City in just under 10 minutes, the "longest record flight" by a ground-launched, rocket-powered airplane. In February, Troy Bradley broke a 60-year-old duration-of-flight record when he flew a small gas balloon from Texas to Georgia. Other memorable flights included Steve Fossett's GlobalFlyer circumnavigation in March, and John Parker pushing his Thunder Mustang to 376 mph on a straight course less than a kilometer long. Other records recognized a wide spectrum of aviation achievements. A group of skydivers in Lake Wales, Fla., beat their own mark for Largest Canopy Formation with a jump of 85. Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann and a team of Boeing pilots expanded the envelope in commercial aviation with the 777-200LR, setting a new record for Distance without Landing, 13,422 miles from Hong Kong to London. Ken Jennings set a new speed record for model helicopters in West Middlesex, Pa., in October, reaching 75.32 mph. And David Stevenson set a record in ultralight gliders for Three Turnpoint Distance, flying 553.68 miles starting from Jasper, Tenn., in April of last year. Ultralight gliders are much lighter than normal gliders, weighing 220 kg (485 lbs) or less.