SAFETY & PLANNING
We have looked at all the risk factors and mitigated these to come up with, what we believe we have come up with the most risk-averse, around the world flight, ever undertaken.
We have been planning this around the world flight for nearly four years (including an extra year, thanks to Covid). We have worked hard to find the best route, aircraft and safety training to ensure Travis has a safe, successful and enjoyable journey.
To start with, we needed to look at previous around the world flights and the pilots and to see what went wrong as well as what went right. We talked to as many other earthrounders as possible and looking at all the modern day routes.
We broke down all the areas where, previous earthounders had experienced difficulties, or had felt at risk, and worked eliminated these one by one.
WHAT WE LEARNT
We found that many previous earthrounders had experienced difficulties in the Middle East, sometimes due to military tensions and quite often bureaucratic difficulties. This caused delays, putting time pressure on pilots and creating risks.
The far East had much less bureaucratic hurdles but many people had incidents with very bad weather. Some experienced weather conditions that put their lives at risk, others had major delays sitting on the ground for weeks, waiting for the weather to pass.
Norman Surplus, who completed his around the world flight in 2019 but started it in 2010, until he got flooded in a Monsoon in India.
Mason Andrews (2018 world record breaker) got caught hail storm that was so violent, he had to have parts of his plane repainted. He also spent 6 weeks in Japan, waiting for the weather to improve.
So we felt the Far East was risky and potentially very expensive.
Up until 2019, every single engine, around the world flight has had to cross the words biggest ocean, The Pacific. This has meant ferry tanks and long gruelling 15+ hour flights. Not only, was the two lots of 15/16 hour flights daunting for a young pilot, we also didn’t want the added risk of things going wrong with the ferry tanks.
We wanted to avoid the Pacific crossing at all costs. In fact, I do not think Travis would have gone (certainly not at 17), had he had to fly across the Pacific.
Russia opened its boarders to General Aviation in 2018, this allows pilots to avoid many of the previous risks, as outlined above. Russia is a third of Travis’s route and over land. Landing on land is always preferred to landing on water, as long as there are some flat open spaces. A pilot can land on a road in an emergency and there are big long roads all across Russia.
Travis is flying a Cessna 172, the most mass produced aircraft in history and it is also the safest.
The 44,000 Cessna 172’s that have been built to date, has ensured that there are parts for this aircraft, practically everywhere in the world and there is unlikely to be any Aviation maintenance facility, anywhere that hasn’t worked on one…
The worlds Cessna 172’s fly an estimated 5 million hours a year with the best accident rate in private aviation. Although Diamond would argue this but they have a considerably smaller fleet of aircraft flying, which clearly gives them an advantage when the yearly accidents are calculated.
Either way, we feel that the Cessna 172, with its fatal accident rate of 0.56 per 100,000 flying hours, means that chances of Travis dying in his 172 during his 170 hours of flying around the world flight is 0.00095%. Well, that’s what we told his Mum.
TRAINING & EXPERIANCE
Travis will have more flight hours logged and more advanced training than the last three, youngest record breaking, around the world, pilots. In addition to his Night Rating, Instrument Rating, UPRT/Upset Prevention & Recovery Training and Mountain Flying Training, Travis will have logged nearly 400 hours of flying time before take-off on his around the world flight. This is 25% more than the next highest, youngest world record pilot.