"We've done a trip around South America in 35 days, and a 24-day Europe trip, so flying around the world seemed like the next challenge, the next dream," said Thierry Pouille, of Air Journey, on Thursday. His company announced the new trip this week at Sun 'n Fun, and six of the nine slots are already taken. "Not many people have done this on their own, and as far as we know, we are the first to offer a round-the-world escorted tour for private fliers." The trip will depart from New York in May 2008, and proceed to the west for 23,000 nm. "Most legs will average 600 miles or so, and we want to take time to visit and enjoy our destinations, and relax," he said. "It's not a race, it's an adventure." Events along the way will include a camel ride in Libya, a cruise along the Nile, snow skiing in Dubai, and a candlelit dinner on the Great Wall in China. Most nights will be spent in high-end hotels, he said, except in the Aleutian Islands, where the only accommodations are military barracks.
The trip will arrive in Oshkosh, Wis., in July 2008, just in time for EAA AirVenture. Airplanes that are signed up to go include two PC-12s, two TBMs, a Turbo Commander, and a CJ1+, Pouille said. To join the trip, an airplane must have a range of 1,000 to 1,200 miles and burn Jet-A, because the supply of avgas is not reliable in many places. Air Journey will take care of all the trip planning, including visas, insurance, finding maintenance facilities if needed, and more. An experienced trip leader will accompany the fleet and brief the pilots before every leg. "And of course the office staff will also offer full support," Pouille said. If this sounds like the trip for you, sign up soon -- the planning takes about a year. The cost is $54,950 per person, plus a $12,000 registration fee per aircraft.