Tag Archives: World Record for Distance

16–17 August 1989

Qantas' Boeing 747-438 Longreach VH-OJA, Spirit of Australia. (Aero Icarus)
Qantas’ Boeing 747-438 Longreach VH-OJA, City of Canberra. (Aero Icarus)

16–17 August 1989: On its delivery flight, Qantas’ first Boeing 747-438 Longreach airliner, VH-OJA, City of Canberra, was flown by Captain David Massey-Green from London Heathrow Airport, England (IATA: LHR, ICAO: EGLL) to Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, Australia (IATA: SYD, ICAO: YSSY), non-stop. Three other senior Qantas captains, Ray Heiniger, George Lindeman and Rob Greenop completed the flight deck crew. Boeing Training Captain Chet Chester was also aboard.

The distance flown by the new 747 was 17,039.00 kilometers (10,587.54 miles) at an average speed of 845.58 kilometers per hour (525.42 miles per hour). The flight’s duration was 20 hours, 9 minutes, 5 seconds. This set a new Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Distance ¹ and World Record for Speed Over a Recognized Course.²

The crew of Qantas Flight 741. Front row, left to right: FSD David Cohen, FSD Mal Callender. Back row, left to right: Captain Ray Heiniger, Captain David Massey-Greene, Captain George Lindeman, Captain Rob Greenop.
The crew of Qantas Flight 7741. Front row, left to right: FSD David Cohen, FSD Mal Callender. Back row, left to right: Captain Ray Heiniger, Captain David Massey-Greene, Captain George Lindeman, Captain Rob Greenop. (Unattributed)
Boeing 747-438 Longreach VH-OJA, City of Canberra at Sydney, Australia, August 1989. The motto, WE FLY FURTHER has been painted on the fuselage in recognition of the new airliner's distance record. (John McHarg)
Boeing 747-438 Longreach VH-OJA, City of Canberra, at Sydney, Australia, August 1989. The motto, WE GO FURTHER has been painted on the fuselage in recognition of the new airliner’s distance record. (John McHarg)

VH-OJA was the first of four Boeing 747-400 airliners ordered by Qantas more than two years earlier. The company named these “Longreach” both to emphasize their very long range capabilities, but also as a commemoration of the first scheduled passenger flight of the Queensland and Northern Territories Aerial Services Ltd. at Longreach, Queensland, 2 November 1922. Qantas named the new airliner City of Canberra. The new 747, the twelfth -400 built, with U.S. registration N6064P, it made its first flight at Seattle with Boeing’s test pilots on 3 July 1989. It was turned over to Qantas on 9 August.

Planning for the record setting flight began almost as soon as the airplane had been ordered. Although the airplane was complete and ready to enter passenger service on arrival at Sydney, certain special arrangements were made. Shell Germany refined 60,000 gallons (227,000 liters) of a special high-density jet fuel and delivered it to Heathrow. Rolls-Royce, manufacturer of the RB211-524G high-bypass turbofan engines, had agreed to specially select four engines to be installed on VH-OJA at the Boeing plant at Everett, Washington.

On the morning of the flight, City of Canberra was towed to the Hold Short position for Runway 28 Right (28R) so as not to use any of the precious fuel while taxiing from the terminal. Once there, its fuel tanks were filled to overflow. The airport fire department stood by as the excess fuel ran out of the tank vents. In the passenger cabin were two Flight Service Directors, FSD David Cohen and FSD Mal Callender, and eighteen passengers including senior executives from Qantas, Boeing, Shell as well as representatives of the Australian news media. The flight crew planned the engine start to allow for the mandatory three-minute warm-up and at approximately 0840 local, called the Tower, using the call sign Qantas 7441, and said that they were ready for takeoff.

A Qantas Boeing 747-438 Longreach, VH-OJU, Lord Howe Island, leaves contrails across the sky. (Unattributed)

After climbing to altitude they began the cruise portion of the flight at Flight Level 330 (33,000 feet or 10,058 meters). As fuel was burned off the airliner gradually climbed higher for more efficiency, eventually reaching a maximum altitude of 45,100 feet (13,746.5 meters) by the time they had reached the west coast of Australia.

QF7441 touched down at Sydney Airport at 2:19 p.m, local time (0419 UTC).

City of Canberra, Qantas' first Boeing 747-400-series airliner, touches down at Sydney Airport, 2:19 p.m., local, 17 August 1989. (Qantas Heritage Collection)
City of Canberra, Qantas’ first Boeing 747-400-series airliner, registered VH-OJA, touches down at Sydney Airport, 2:19 p.m., local, 17 August 1989. (Qantas Heritage Collection) 

For a more detailed description of this flight and its planning, see John McHarg’s article, “The Delivery Flight of Qantas Boeing 747-438 VH-OJA” at:

http://www.aussieairliners.org/b-747/vh-oja/vhoja%20article/vhojastory.html

City of Canberra, VH-OJA, remained in Qantas service until 8 March 2015. The airliner was withdrawn from service and donated to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society Museum at Illawara Regional Airport (YWOL), New South Wales. Its distance record stood until 10 November 1995 when another Boeing airliner, a 777-200LR with Captain Suzanna Darcy-Henneman in command, set a new distance record.

Qantas' Boeing 747-438 Longreach VH-OJA, City of Canberra, on takeoff, 2011. (Aero icarus)
Qantas’ Boeing 747-438 Longreach VH-OJA, City of Canberra, on takeoff from Sydney, 1999. (Aero Icarus)

The Boeing 747-400 airliner can carry between 416 and 660 passengers, depending on configuration. It is 231 feet, 10 inches (70.6 meters) long with a wingspan of 211 feet, 5 inches (64.4 meters) and overall height of 63 feet, 8 inches (19.4 meters). Empty weight is 394,100 pounds (178,800 kilograms). Maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) is 875,000 pounds (396,890 kilograms). While the prototype was powered by four Pratt and Whitney PW4056 turbofan engines, production airplanes could be ordered with PW4062, General Electric CF6 or Rolls-Royce RB211 engines, providing thrust ranging from 59,500 to 63,300 pounds. The –400 has a cruise speed of 0.85 Mach (567 miles per hour, 912 kilometers per hour) and maximum speed of 0.92 Mach (614 miles per hour, 988 kilometers hour). Maximum range at maximum payload weight is 7,260 nautical miles (13,450 kilometers).

Quantas’ Boeing 747-400 VH-OJA, City of Canberra, final landing at Illawarra Regional Airport, New South Wales, Australia, 15 March 2015. (YSSYguy/Wikipedia)

¹ FAI Record File Number 2201: Distance, 17 039.00 km

² FAI Record File Number 2202: Speed over a recognised course, 845.58 km/h

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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6 July 1939

Olga Vasil’yevna Klepikova

6 July 1939: Ольга Васильевна Клепикова (Olga Vasil’yevna Klepikova) flew an Antonov RF-7 glider from Tushino airport, Moscow, to Mikhaylovka, in the Stalingrad region of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. She set two Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Records for Distance at 749.203 kilometers (465.533 statute miles).¹

Klepikova’s glider was towed aloft by a Polikarpov P-5 biplane, and then released at an altitude of 1,000 meters (3,281 feet). She circled overhead for approximately an hour, gaining altitude, before heading toward Stalingrad. The total duration of the flight was 8 hours, 25 minutes.

Once she landed near Mikhaylovka, Tovarisch (Comrade) Klepikova was captured by “vigilant farmers” who presumed that she was a German spy. They turned her over to the NKVD (Narodnyy Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del), the infamous predecessor to the KGB.

Olga Vasil’yevna Klepikova was born at Tula, about 120 miles (193 kilometers) south of Moscow, on 10 October 1915.

Gospohzha Klepikova studied at the Tula FZU (Fabrichno-Zavodskoe Uchilishe), an industrial technical school, and she then worked as a lathe operator in an armaments factory.

Comrade Klepikova joined the Tula Aero Club in 1930, where she was taught to fly. In 1933, she was sent to Moscow as an instructor for the Central Aero Club at Tushino.

During the Great Patriotic War, Comrade Klepikova served as a flight instructor at Stalingrad. She worked as a test pilot at Kazan and then Rostov on Don from the end of the War until 1953.

Gospohzha Klepikova married a fellow test pilot, and they had two daughters. The family relocated to the area of Kiev, Ukraine. As of 2002, she lived in Vasiljena, Kiev, Ukraine, with a pension equivalent to $20 per month.

Olga Vasil’yevna Klepikova, an Honored Master of Sports of the USSR, died at Kiev, 27 July 2010, at the age of 95 years. Her remains were interred at the Baikove Cemetery in Kiev.

Ольга Васильевна Клепикова
Рот-Фронт-7 (Rot-Front 7)

Gospohzha Klepikova’s glider was a Рот-Фронт-7 (Rot-, or Roth-Front 7), designed by Oleg Konstantinovich Antonov. It was one of five built at the Moscow Glider Factory. The Rot-Front 7 was a single-place, high wing monoplane glider, constructed primarily of wood. It was covered with 1.5–3.5 millimeter thick plywood. Wing flaps allowed the glider to land in fairly small areas. The RF-7 was 5.00 meters (16 feet, 4.9 inches) long, with a wingspan of 16.24 meters (53 feet, 3.4 inches), and height of 1.55 meters (5 feet, 1.0 inches). The wings had a total area of 12.5 square meters (134.6 square feet), with an aspect ratio of 22.5. As much as 120 liters (31.7 gallons) of water ballast was carried in a tank behind the pilot. There was a single, retractable wheel under the ballast tank, which was enclosed by two aluminum doors.

The RF-7 had a best cruise speed of 85 kilometers per hour (52.8 miles per hour), and it had a maximum speed of 88 kilometers per hour (54.6 miles per hour).

The Rot-Front 7 was considered to be the best aerobatic glider of its time, and was designed to withstand a load factor of 8 gs.

Рот-Фронт-7 (Rot-Front 7)

¹ FAI Record File Number 4386: World Record for Distance, Class D, Feminine: 749.20 kilometers (465.53 statute miles); and FAI Record File Number 13606: World Record for Distance, Class D, General: 749.203 kilometers (465.533 statute miles).

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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2 June 1986

Looking southeast across the Columbia Valley toward Mount 7, Golden, British Columbia, Canada. The 1,942-meter peak is in a cloud shadow, just to the right of the center of the image. (Golden Flying Site)

2 June 1986: Randy Haney, of Dawson Creek, British Columbia, launched his Airwave Magic IV 166 hang glider from the lower launch site on Mount 7, at an elevation of 1,560 meters (5,118 feet) above Sea Level.

Mount 7 is a 1,942-meter (6,371 feet) peak on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountain Trench, a 1,600 kilometer (1,000 miles) geologic feature crossing British Columbia and the Yukon. The peak is located just southeast of the town of Golden, B.C., which marks the beginning of a southwestern segment of the trench, known as the Columbia Valley.

Haney flew along the Columbia Valley until he crossed the international boundary between Canada and the United States. He landed at Trego, Montana. The flight covered 321.5 kilometers (199.8 miles). This set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Distance.¹

Straight Line distance between Golden, B.C., Canada, and Trego, MT, United States. (Google Maps)

The Airwave Magic IV 166 has a wingspan of 33 feet, 8 inches (10.26 meters). The leading edge of each wing is 19 feet, 8 inches (5.99 meters) long. The chord at the wing root is 7 feet, 10 inches (2.388 meters). The hang glider weighs 62 pounds (28 kilograms).

Haney later founded Winds Italia and designed its Raven and Orbiter powered hang gliders.

¹ FAI Record File Number 1670

© 2019, Bryan R. Swopes

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22 April 1961

Jackie Cochran in the cockpit of The Scarlett O'Hara, a record-setting Lockheed L-1329 JetStar, N172L. (FAI)
Jackie Cochran in the cockpit of The Scarlett O’Hara, a record-setting Lockheed L-1329 JetStar, N172L. (FAI)

22 April 1961: Jackie Cochran set 18 Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) records in one day flying a Lockheed L-1329 JetStar, construction number 5003, FAA registration N172L, and named The Scarlett O’Hara. The route of her flight was New Orleans–Boston–Gander–Shannon–London–Paris–Bonn, with refueling stops at Gander and Shannon.

According to the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission, Jackie Cochran “…set more speed and altitude records than any other pilot.”

The following are the FAI records that she set on 22 April 1961:

4609, 4615: Speed over a recognized course, Gander, NF (Canada)–Shannon (Ireland): 829.69 kilometers per hour (515.546 miles per hour)

4611, 4616: Speed over a recognized course, Gander, NF (Canada)–London (UK): 749.11 kilometers per hour (465.475 miles per hour)

4612, 4617: Speed over a recognized course, Gander, NF (Canada)–Paris (France): 746.22 kilometers per hour (463.680 miles per hour)

4613, 4618: Speed over a recognized course, Gander, NF (Canada)–Bonn (FRG): 728.26 kilometers per hour (452.520 miles per hour)

4638: Speed over a recognized course, Boston, MA (USA)–Gander, NF (Canada): 816.32 kilometers per hour (507.238 miles per hour)

4639, 4640: Speed over a recognized course, Boston, MA (USA)–Shannon (Ireland): 565.45 kilometers per hour (351.354 miles per hour)

4641, 4642: Speed over a recognized course, Boston, MA (USA)–London (UK): 558.50 kilometers per hour (347.036 miles per hour)

4643, 4644: Speed over a recognized course, Boston, MA (USA)–Paris (France): 564.88 kilometers per hour (351.000 miles per hour)

4645, 4646: Speed over a recognized course, Boston, MA (USA)–Bonn (FRG): 562.56 kilometers per hour (349.559 miles per hour)

12322: Distance, New Orleans, LA (USA)–Gander, NF (Canada): 3,661.33 kilometers (2,275.045 miles)

The first production Lockheed JetStar, c/n 5001, in service with the Federal Aviation Administration, registered N1. (bizjets101)

The Lockheed L-1329 JetStar was the first in a category of small-to-medium-sized jet transports that would become known as the “business jet.” Like many Lockheed airplanes, it was designed by a team led by Clarence L. “Kelly” Johnson, and he retained the first prototype as his personal transport.

The JetStar is operated by two pilots and can be configured for 8 to 10 passengers. The airplane is 60 feet, 5 inches (18.41 meters) long with a wingspan of 54 feet, 5 inches (16.59 meters) and overall height of 20 feet, 5 inches (6.22 meters). The leading edge of the wings are swept to 30°. The JetStar has an empty weight of 24,750 pounds (11,226 kilograms) and maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 44,500 pounds.

The two prototype JetStars were powered by two Bristol Siddeley Orpheus engines, but the production models were powered by four Pratt & Whitney JT12A-8 turbojets engines which produced 3,300 pounds of thrust, each. The JetStar 731 was a modification program to replace the turbojet engines with quieter, more efficient and more powerful Garrett AiResearch TFE731 turbofan engines which increased thrust to 3,700 pounds per engine. New production JetStar II airplanes were equipped with these turbofans.

Lockheed L-1329 JetStar (FAI)

The JetStar’s cruise speed is 504 miles per hour (811 kilometers per hour) and its maximum speed is 547 miles per hour (883 kilometers per hour) at 30,000 feet (9,145 meters). The service ceiling is 43,000 feet (13,105 meters) and range is 2,995 miles (4,820 kilometers).

The Lockheed JetStar was in production from 1957 to 1978. 204 were built as civil JetStars and military C-140A Flight Check and C-140B and VC-140B JetStar transports.

The JetStar flown by Jackie Cochran on her record setting flight from New Orleans to Bonn, construction number 5003, eventually was acquired by NASA and assigned to the Dryden Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California. It was reregistered as N814NA, and used the call sign NASA 4. No longer in service, NASA 4 is on display at the Joe Davies Heritage Airpark at Air Force Plant 42, Palmdale, California.

Lockheed L-1329 JetStar, N814NA, NASA 4, on static display at Edwards Air Force Base, California. (NASA)
Lockheed L-1329 JetStar, N814NA, NASA 4, on static display at the Joe Davies Heritage Airpark, Palmdale, California. (NASA)

© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes

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16–17 April 1923

Lieutenants Oakland G. Kelly and John A. MacReady with the fuel drums for their duration flight in front of the Fokker T-2, A.S. 64233. (U.S. Air Force)
Lieutenants Oakland G. Kelly and John A. Macready with the fuel drums for their duration flight in front of the Fokker T-2, A.S. 64233. (U.S. Air Force)

16–17 April 1923: At Wilbur Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, U.S. Army Air Service pilots Lieutenant Oakland George Kelly and Lieutenant John Arthur Macready set six Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Records for speed, distance and duration, flying the Nederlandse Vliegtuigenfabriek Fokker T-2, serial number A.S. 64233, which they planned to fly non-stop across the United States of America.

They flew 2,500 kilometers (1,553.428 miles) at an average speed of 115.60 kilometers per hour (51.83 miles per hour);¹ 3,000 kilometers (1,864.114 miles) at 115.27 kilometers per hour (71.63 miles per hour);² 3,500 kilometers (2,174.799 miles) at 114.82 kilometers per hour (71.35 miles per hour);³ 4,000 kilometers (2,485.485 miles) at 113.93 kilometers per hour (70.79 miles per hour);⁴ flew a total distance of 4,050 kilometers (2,517 miles);⁵ and stayed aloft for 36 hours, 4 minutes, 34 seconds.⁶ Their overall average speed was 112.26 kilometers per hour (69.76 miles per hour).

Lieutenant Oakley G. Kelly (FAI)
Lieutenant Oakley George Kelly, U.S. Army Air Service. (FAI)
Lt. John A. Macready, Air Service, U.S. Army Signal Corps
Lieutenant John A. Macready, U.S. Army Air Service

The Fokker F.IV was built by Anthony Fokker’s Nederlandse Vliegtuigenfabriek at Veere, Netherlands in 1921. The Air Service purchased two and designated the type T-2, with serial numbers A.S. 64233 and A.S. 64234.

Several modifications were made to prepare for the transcontinental flight. Normally flown by a single pilot in an open cockpit, a second set of controls was installed so that the airplane could be controlled from inside while the two pilots changed positions. On this flight, it carried 735 gallons (2,782 liters) of gasoline in three fuel tanks.

For its time, the Fokker was a large airplane: 49 feet (14.9 meters) long, with a wing span of 82 feet (25 meters). The high-wing monoplane was powered by a 1,649.3-cubic-inch-displacement (27.028 liter) liquid-cooled Liberty L12 single overhead cam (SOHC) 45° V-12 engine producing 420 horsepower. The airplane was designed to carry 8–10 passengers in an enclosed cabin.

The second Fokker T-2, A.S. 64234, also designated A-2 (ambulance). (U.S. Air Force)
The second Fokker T-2, A.S. 64234, also designated A-2 (ambulance). (U.S. Air Force)

From 2–3 May 1923, MacReady and Kelly succeeded in their non-stop transcontinental flight, flying from Roosevelt-Hazelhurst Field, Long Island, New York, to Rockwell Field (now, NAS North Island), San Diego, California,  2,470 miles (3,975 kilometers) in 26 hours, 50 minutes, 38.8 seconds, for an average speed of 92 miles per hour (148 kilometers per hour).

The U.S. Army Air Service transferred A.S. 64223 to the Smithsonian Institution in January 1924. It is on display at the National Air and Space Museum.

Fokker T-2, A.S. 64233 at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, 1923. (FAI)
Fokker T-2, A.S. 64233 at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, 1923. (FAI)

¹ FAI Record File Number 9312

² FAI Record File Number 9313

³ FAI Record File Number 9314

⁴ FAI Record File Number 9315

⁵ FAI Record File Number 9316

⁶ FAI Record File Number 9317

© 2019, Bryan R. Swopes

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