Around the World in 70 Days, Week 1: Pilots Complete First Leg Of Round-the-World Journey

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Air Journey Around the World 2008

A half-dozen GA aircraft took off from Quebec City last week for the first leg of a 10-week round-the world adventure. The pilots, who are flying on an escorted trip organized by Air Journey, will visit 22 countries on five continents, logging more than 24,000 nautical miles. "This is a dream come true!" said Thierry Pouille, president of Air Journey. "Flying completely around the world has been a lifelong dream for many pilots, myself included, and now it's finally happening!" Pouille has been planning the trip, the first of its kind, for about a year. "We have a very capable group of pilots and aircraft on this first trip around the world," Pouille said. The group includes a TBM 700, a Cessna Mustang VLJ, a Pilatus PC-12, a Beechcraft Duke refitted with PT6 propjet engines, and a similarly modified Cessna Conquest 441. AVweb will be following the pilots with weekly updates and pictures from the road. Click through for more about the first leg of the trip, from Canada to Greenland.

The pilots arrived in Quebec City last week, to perfect flying weather, and took some time to relax at the Chateau Frontenac, a landmark hotel, before the big departure. Thursday afternoon, the group met for an hour-and-a-half pilot briefing, checking the weather and routes for the North Atlantic. On Friday morning, the plan was to fly straight to Reykjavik, Iceland, but before they got off the ground, fog was reported moving in over Iceland. Instead, the pilots took off for Goose Bay, on the east coast of Canada, where they could stop for the night and check the weather again.

Nuuk airport approach

The next morning's weather check showed Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, had the best conditions, so the pilots revised their plans. Crossing the North Atlantic, blue skies and oceans extended infinitely, for a spectacular view of the icebergs below. "Our descent into Nuuk was truly astonishing, with stunning views of the rolling mountains, glaciers descending into the ocean, and the multitude of inlets; providing the group a serene bird's-eye view of this rugged landscape," says the Air Journey blog. Click here for a short video showing the approach and landing.

(l.-r.) Tom Horne of AOPA; Jeff Yusem of Aspen, Colo.; and journey director Jean-Pierre Arnaud

AOPA Pilot writer Tom Horne is flying along on the first leg of the trip, from Quebec to Paris. You can read his blog entries here. Here at AVweb, we'll bring you an update once a week as the trip continues across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Alaska, till its final destination at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., late in July.