...And Polar Pilot Turns Back

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And while Hofmaier and Coale confront the various challenges that await them, a Maryland pilot has decided discretion is the better part of valor in his attempt to circumnavigate via the poles. Gus McLeod turned back because the new engine in his South Korean-built Firefly, a new homebuilt design that was created in partnership with the creators of the Velocity homebuilt, is burning too much oil. "If the oil consumption is not right, I'm going to run out of oil before I run out of gas," McLeod told the Associated Press. If any of the three complete their trip, they'll join a relatively elite group. If you're interested in joining the ranks, the Web site Earthrounders exists to help pilots plan the trip and list their achievement. Of course there's more to flying around the world than choosing a comfortable seat cushion. Modern avionics have made navigation a lot easier and all the other technologies that go into making today's aircraft safer and more reliable undoubtedly account for the fact that almost half of the successful flights have taken place in the last 10 years. But there are some challenges that mere technology can't overcome. Most earthrounders will touch down in or cross dozens of countries on their way and they each have different rules and attitudes toward such adventurers. Earthrounders publishes an online guide to what to expect along the way.