Two Teams Complete 48-States Speed Record Attempts


Two teams have recently completed flights aiming to log the fastest time by plane to land in all 48 contiguous U.S. states. Bob Reynolds and John Skittone, both from Illinois, report that they finished their trip in 38 hours and 13 minutes flying a Cirrus SR22T. They began in Maine on a route that initially headed south then west, finishing in Indiana on May 25th. Michigan-based Barry Behnfeldt and Aaron Wilson flew from June 4-6, reporting a flight time of 44 hours 7 minutes in a 1980 Piper PA-32R Saratoga. Behnfeldt and Wilson departed from Michigan, travelling west to Washington before looping south and completing the trip in Maine.

Both teams successfully finished their flights far ahead off the previous Guinness World Record of 16 days, 12 hours and 56 minutes, which was set by Calvin Page and Mitch Miller in May 2018. The flights are still being verified by record-keeping organizations, a process that is expected to take at least 12 weeks. In addition to the Guinness World Record, Behnfeldt and Wilson are also looking to set a National Aeronautic Association record.

The Guinness World Record for the fastest time by plane to land in all 48 contiguous U.S. states requires a separate leg between each state but allows additional stops as long as they are also documented. The record can be attempted by either an individual or team of two pilots provided they have at least a private pilot certificate and use the same aircraft throughout the attempt. Flights must reach a minimum height of 500 feet and only land at locations that are open to the public and have given their approval for the landing.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. I’m also curious as to the distance flown and the average speed and altitude. How long on the ground vs in the air? Average gas price? More stats needed. Seems like the trick here is to pick the shortest/quickest route considering winds and terrain.

  2. It’s a competition. Perhaps the airports and routes are kept under wraps at least until the records are verified? Like everyone else though, curious to learn more!

  3. Can someone please explain what the point of this is or what it proves? Actually, it is just one more “record” that is completely irresponsible and unnecessary. I can understand point-to-point speed records, at least to some degree, and they usually are not by definition dangerous. Attempting to break some kind of pointless “record” by landing in 48 states in the fastest time will almost certainly involve poor decision making and completing segments that probably should not have been flown due to weather or a host of other considerations. Please, can we just stop this!!!

    • Perhaps one should know something about the folks involved (I am speaking of 48n48), the planning to keep risks well within normal GA profile, the launch criteria, and the charity for whom they were raising money before anyone goes assuming and accusing recklessness.

      Review their prep and progress on or by looking them up on Facebook.

      They were raising money for Veterans Airlift Command.

      The planning has been going for some time. They picked the late evening June 4 launch to give them a full moon for the night portions and to make the night segments as short as possible. Weather over their route is generally better before the solstice than after. This also allowed the mountainous west to be flown in daylight on one of the longest days of the year. Picking that date also allows latitude to postpone to any of several other dates with similar advantages – as it was no postponement was needed.

      They had two pilots and a mechanic, an approved bunk with curtains, and a rest period schedule for both pilots and the mechanic. Repair items and tools were carried in case of common failures. This was beautifully planned and executed. They had contacts arranged in all 48 stops, along with backup plans for each stop.

      What better way to spend 500 gallons of 100LL?

  4. Not to be a wet blanket but I have to agree with Renick01. This sort of thing is stupid whether they’ve made an attempt to support a charitable organization or not. And let’s face it, it’s a chance for people with big egos and internalized low self esteem to feel important and achieve notoriety – without apparently becoming notorious. Sincerity spurns notoriety.

    I’m sure there are more pointless and trivial “World Records” out there but this one is pretty silly. The sanctioning bodies should take along hard look at their true intent. Guinness I understand given the genesis of their brand. They’ve always existed for arcane trivia. Anyone else needs to get a life.

    If it’s something you really want to do, you’ll do it without the fanfare. If fanfare is what you want all you have to do is find something to do to generate it. Hence this sort of nonsense.

    • Stupid? They’re flying an airplane, who cares if it’s for one or multiple flights and why? What’s stupid is your comment.

      And I know one of the dudes who flew the Cirrus, very well. He’s the opposite of having an ego. He LOVES TO FLY. Loves to do interesting things other then $100 hamburgers and boring holes in the sky.

      You must be boring as F

    • Well, I guess I have to stop my weekly breakfast fly-outs with the gang. Certainly wouldn’t want to do anything Bill might think was stupid.

    • If you think it is ‘stupid’ to support a non-profit group, then there is no arguing with you.

      If, on the other hand, you see some benefit from supporting said cause, then isn’t ‘fanfare’ exactly what you’re looking for?

  5. If you don’t like this sort of thing, then don’t do it and don’t support it. But you can also have the good manners to not call folks stupid, not cast aspersions on their character, and not accuse them of being dangerous. They did 47 GA flights from point to point, some of them not even long enough to log as cross country flights.

    If that is to be looked down upon, then what is next, the $100 cheeseburger, fly-in pancake breakfasts, and the journey to OSH?

  6. I am pleased to know that this was for a good cause and was well planned. I’ll be happy to eat a little crow on those counts. Nonetheless, I maintain that this sort of thing encourages others to do similar pointless “record” attempts in a manner that inevitably results in general aviation getting a black eye. One only needs to look at the ridiculous and at least once fatal effort to be the “youngest” pilot to travel across the country, and of course the Red Bull fiasco. Worthy cause or not, nobody really cares about this sort of “record” until things go terribly wrong. There are better and just as effective ways to raise funds.

    • That “youngest” pilot was almost thirty years ago. Which Red Bull fiasco? The parachutist or the plane that landed on a plate on that hotel?

      Just sit in your chair and whine, you’re really good at that. Let others imagine and take risks.