Qatar Executive (QE) together with the ‘One More Orbit’ team has made history by beating the world circumnavigation speed record for any aircraft flying over the North and South poles, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
The QE Gulfstream G650ER departed Cape Canaveral, the home of Nasa, on July 9 at 9.32am, to begin its pole to pole mission.
The One More Orbit team on board comprised Nasa astronaut Terry Virts and Action Aviation chairman Hamish Harding, while the QE crew consisted of pilots Jacob Obe Bech, Jeremy Ascough and Yevgen Vasylenko, engineer Benjamin Reuger and flight attendant Magdalena Starowicz.
A 'thumbs up' from the flight deck
The mission was split into the four sectors: the Nasa shuttle landing facility in Florida to Astana, Astana to Mauritius, Mauritius to Chile and Chile back to Florida, with refueling pit stops in each location.
The aircraft landed at the Kennedy Space Centre on July 11, successfully setting a new world record of flying pole to pole in 46 hours and 40 minutes.
Present at the landing was Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, HE Akbar al-Baker, who said: “Qatar Executive, together with the One More Orbit team, has made history. A mission like this takes a huge amount of planning as we need to factor in the flight paths, fuel stops, potential weather conditions and make plans for all possibilities.
“Many people behind the scenes worked tirelessly to ensure this mission was a success and I am very proud that we broke the world record – a first for Qatar Executive – which will be certified by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) and Guinness World Records."
Harding said: “Our mission, titled One More Orbit, pays homage to the Apollo 11 moon landing achievement, by highlighting how humans push the boundaries of aeronautics. We did this during the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Apollo 11 moon landing; it is our way of paying tribute to the past, the present, and the future of space exploration. The mission has utilised the skills of hundreds of talented technicians across the planet and is testament to what can be achieved when we all pull together.”
Qatar Executive is the world’s largest owner-operator of the G650ER aircraft; the fastest ultra-long rang business jet in the industry.
It is powered by two Rolls-Royce BR725 engines, the latest and most advanced member of the BR700 engine series.
Qatar Executive currently operates a fleet of 18 state-of-the-art private jets, including six Gulfstream G650ERs, four Gulfstream G500s, three Bombardier Challenger 605s, four Global 5000s and one Global XRS.