A message from Travis about the changes that has had to make due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Updated 1st May 2020
As you are probably aware, I had planned to take-off in early June 2020. Unfortunately, this started to look unlikely back in March, so I started looking at a plan B. My plan B was for me to take-off in July/August, with the potential of flying back via Azores, if it became too late to fly across Greenland. This plan was not ideal as it would have put a lot of pressure on me and I would have missed the all-important Oshkosh Air Show (which has now been cancelled anyway).
Obviously, I don’t make these decisions lightly, on my own, or without much discussion. I have a wonderful group of dedicated people helping me with my planning. As well as my Dad who has been working with me on this since I was 14, I have two very experienced overflight management companies (GASE in the UK and MAK in Russia) and a whole host of previous Earthrounder pilots. In the many discussions with them and my sponsors, it has been decided that, with the state of the world at the moment and the weather window of opportunity closing at the end of August, I will not be taking off this year.
Let me explain the windows of opportunity. As I will be flying through colder climates, over very cold places like Alaska, Iceland and Greenland, there is a limited window in which it is safe for a single engine aircraft, without de-icing equipment to fly. So the window of opportunity is the time when the weather is not too cold to fly. I talked to everyone in my team to work out the next available, safe, take-off opportunity, within the fair weather window.
The other factor I had to consider was the World Record. To beat the current World Record, I have to return home by 25th July 2021.
After discussing all the variables with my team it was decided that I would take-off in March 2021 but after discussing this with my main sponsors, the decision was then made to include Europe’s biggest Air Show at Friedrichshafen in Germany, en route. This is just too good an opportunity to miss and it will allow me to promote my sponsors on their trade stands and take part in forums. It is also a great place to show off all the companies involved in building and kitting out my incredible plane.
Therefore I will now be taking-off from the UK on Saturday 17th April 2021, to be at Aero Friedrichshafen the day before the show starts (21st to 24th April 2021). Although this is a delay of ten and a half months, this take-off date does give me and my sponsors a lot of exciting benefits.
As well as Aero Friedrichshafen, I will now visit 21 different countries, instead of 13; make 50 different stops, instead of 45; land in 5 continents instead of 4 and fly in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Flying down to South America, to Ecuador and across the equator, ticks a big box for me.
This will make my journey that much more exciting and newsworthy; thereby giving my sponsors that extra bit more profile, while making my podcasts and blogs more interesting.
Although I was initially very disappointed (I wanted to do this at 17 and not 18), I can’t help but think of the many millions of people suffering due to this virus. I am now concentrating on the many positives and working on the new plans.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all well during this difficult time. Let us all hope and pray, the world recovers soon and we get this awful virus out of the way… not just for my around the world flight but for the entire world.