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Light Plane Long Distance Flights Continue

Combs and Swiss Pilots Soldier On, Surplus Makes Repairs

Michael Combs poses with members of EAA Chapter 39 in Rapid City, South Dakota

Yannick Bovier and Francisco Agullo
Yannick Bovier and Francisco Agullo chew up some serious air each day. Their most recent flight left east Texas for an 11-hour run to Las Vegas, with a stop in El Paso, Texas.

Combs in Thailand
Norman is ‘suited, booted, and rearing to go’ at a Buddhist Temple near Nongprue, Thailand.

May 20, 2010 — Two weeks ago we reported about several long distance flyers that were making their way around the world, with varying degrees of success. For two of the three adventurers, the beat goes on while one is still making repairs. All are riding inspiration and that will likely see them to their goal. Michael Combs who is visiting all 50 U.S. states in his Remos is almost halfway to his goal he began in early April. Two Swiss airline pilots who left three weeks ago have arrived in the United States and Norman Surplus is continuing repairs to his autogiro in Thailand.

Flight for the Human Spirit Nearing Halfway Point
Michael Combs and his wife Michelle have been meandering across the U.S.  in their Remos GX aiming to stop in all 50 states using their adventure to promote aviation. They began in Kansas and followed the Mason/Dixon line to the Atlantic before swinging north then west through the northern half of the eastern U.S.

Since their May 6 stop in Oshkosh they have weaved their way through the northern plains states flying south from Wyoming earlier in the week to Denver. Part of the project involves press events and meetings with local groups to highlight aviation. Michael hopes to reach 20 million people, which involves targeting media markets in various cities. Flight for the Human Spirit will head east from Denver through Kansas and back to the east coast where it will make a southern swing back west toward California.

Swiss Pilots Luck Carries Them to Las Vegas
Swiss pilots Yannick Bovier and Francisco Agullo departed Sion airport in Switzerland on April 30 and headed west for their own around-the-world flight in a pair of modified CTLS aircraft from Flight Design. AZIMUT 270 - pays homage to Swiss aviation pioneers; and like their countrymen at Solar Impulse, their journey is being made to inspire and to promote ecological flight in general aviation aircraft.

Agullo and Bovier’s CTs feature 100hp Rotax engines and extended fuel tanks. In their first seven days they had reached Brazil. Two weeks later they made it to Las Vegas, Nevada. Their route followed the South American coast, through the eastern Caribbean, across Florida and the Gulf of Mexico before making landfall again in Alabama. Their course then headed straight west, arriving in Las Vegas on May 17. They will next stop in Monterrey, California before jumping off the continent on their way to Hawaii.

Global Gyro Flight Preparing for Key Repair
Norman Surplus remains in Nongprue, Thailand, after ditching in a lake just after takeoff on May 1. Norman was not hurt and all of his belongings have been dried out including most of the autogiro’s components. The aircraft has been stripped down to its structural parts and, aside from some minor damage to the undercarriage, only the rotor mast needs major repair. The mast was bent when the craft capsized in the water. A welder will replace a three foot section of the mast, then the engine, which ran two hours after being fished out of the water, will be inspected and tested one last time.

Next the instrumentation and electrical components will be re-installed and tested for long-term water damage and the rotors balanced. Norman expects to be back in the air and continuing eastward in two to three weeks. You can follow the progress of his repairs here.

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