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'Around the World' World Speed Record and 'New York to London' World Speed Record

The record was previously held by an American pilot named Ron Bower who completed the trip in 24½ days in a Bell Jetranger on July 22nd 1994. The mission was a big one! To complete the trip in just 19 days in our MD500E helicopter and make the record a British one.

The route was carefully planned to optimize climate and light conditions and to remain within the rules set by the FAI (Federation Aeronautic International) which state the aircraft must remain at a latitude of less than 66° 33' (the north frigid zone aka the arctic circle) and cover a minimum distance of 19,850.83nm (equal in length to the tropic of cancer). The route must be pre-declared and you must land or overfly every point you nominate to qualify the overall distance.

The start line was our base at Shoreham Airport in the UK. The route took our founder, Simon Oliphant-Hope, through northern Germany, Visby (Sweden) and then into St. Petersburg, Russia for the first night stop. And that was only day one! From here Simon spent 5 further days routing across Russia before crossing the Baring Straits to arrive on day 7 in Alaska. Onward the route took shape south east across Alaska, south through Canada and back into US airspace once again via the northwest state of Oregon.

around the world challenge

A further seven days was spent crossing the USA before the route took Simon back into Canada, this time up the east side tracking north along the Hudson Bay. Next an easterly turn over the icebergs for three landings in the icy frontier of Greenland. The final stretch routed across Iceland, south to the Faeroe Islands and then into to Scotland via Wick and finally southbound again through England to at last arrive safely back to cross the finish line at Shoreham Airport.


The Aircraft was specifically configured by a team of engineers for the trip and is still operated by Eastern Atlantic. The flight was conducted as a solo attempt so other than a mandatory Russian translator Simon was very much out there on his own. The flight planning and operational support throughout the trip was carried out by Jamie who lived at the office 24 hrs a day in order to cover all aspects of coordinating logistics, weather forecasting, flight planning and general problem solving. It was a team event and oh do we have some stories! We enjoy talking about the trip and sharing the experience so if you are interested please get in touch.


Click here to see the official Guinness World Records page for yourself!

Faeroe Islands
Ron Bower and Simon
Ron Bower and Simon
Aircraft in Alaska
Control Panel
Faeroe Islands
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