Chet and Matt Pipkin plan to set a new record for time aloft in an airplane, a record that currently sits at 64 days, 22 hours, 19 minutes and five seconds, according to the men. The record was set in a Cessna 172, and the Pipkins intend to beat it in a (modified) 172 ... this time with a video feed and Wi-Fi. Like the current record holders, Robert Timm and John Cook, who set the mark between Dec. 4, 1958, and Feb. 7, 1959, the Pipkins plan to refuel via low-level flyby, transferring fuel from a truck. Timm and Cook managed that over long straight flat roads in the Mojave desert until their plane's engine had deteriorated to the point where they could no longer climb away. Chet and Matt Pipkin plan to modify their engine with plumbing to allow for in-flight oil changes. As for their own essential fluids and waste, that too will be passed between the ground vehicle and aircraft. "This project is ridiculous," the men admit. "In fact, that is why we love it." But it does have a serious side -- the men hope to raise money for charity.
"It could create a huge opportunity to contribute so some great causes, and also inspire people to go do crazy things for the sake of living exciting, purposeful lives," the men wrote on their blog. The sentiments have come a long way from Matt Pipkin's first impression that the flight was "the dumbest idea he had ever heard." Target date for liftoff is Oct. 1, 2010, from Boise, Idaho.
Podcast interview with Matt Pipkin