Sabreliner Set For Record Attempt

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A European team is using an ancient business jet to try and beat a world record set in a high-tech effort by the late Steve Fossett. In 2005 Fossett flew nonstop around the world in a well-financed effort that set the circumnavigation record at 67 hours and two minutes. Riccardo Mortara, owner of a Swiss-based charter company called Sonnig, thinks he and his three fellow crew members can beat that time in a 1980 Sabreliner 65 and will launch from Geneva March 19. "We've had a great response to the announcement of our mission," Mortara said on his Facebook wall.

Other than the fact that he happened to have one, there doesn't seem to be any particular reason Mortara picked the Sabreliner, a design that originated in the late 1950s, as a platform. The Sabreliner 65 is among the most modern variants and is powered by the Garrett AiResearch TFE731-3R-1D, a geared turbofan that was state-of-the-art in its day. Mortara says the trip will require 10 "carefully-planned stops" for fuel. They hope to spend no more than 40 minutes on the ground at each stop. The Sabreliner will fly over 31 countries and will stop in Abu Dhabi, Colombo, Macau, Osaka, Petropavlovsk, Anchorage, Las Vegas, Montreal, Keflavik and Casablanca.