New York, NY (August 7, 2008) – Pilot Scott Kasprowicz departed New York at approximately 3:00 am Thursday morning in an attempt to set a new speed record for an around-the-world helicopter flight; the goal is to complete the trip in under 14 days. The record setting flight dubbed “The Grand Adventure” is being attempted in Kasprowicz’s twin engine, factory standard, executive configured AgustaWestland Grand helicopter.
“In order to succeed in a trip like this, you need an aircraft like the Grand that has above average fuel efficiency and exceptional reliability,” said Kasprowicz who is the former CEO of Texel Corporation. “What will make this record setting flight even more meaningful is the fact that we will make the trip in a factory standard aircraft that has not been specially outfitted or modified for this kind of application.”
Unlike previous flights to break the world helicopter speed record, no additional fuel tanks or mission specific modifications have been added to the AgustaWestland Grand aircraft to improve performance.
The Grand Adventure will cover over 20,046 nautical miles, 15 countries, 24 time zones, 30 states and make 65 fuel stops. The crew will travel eastbound across the Atlantic into Europe via Greenland, traverse western and eastern Europe into Russia, cross 14 time zones in Russia, return to North America over the Bering Strait and cross the US and return to New York City. During his journey Kasprowicz’s aircraft must cross every meridian on the globe but is prohibited from traveling into the poles due to time and distance advantages. To track their journey online through TracPlus, please visit www.grandadventure08.com.
“Scott and Steve’s confidence to break the world speed record with the Grand confirms the superior reliability and speed this aircraft offers. The Grand’s unequalled features continue to achieve greater and greater success,” said Lou Bartolotta, AgustaWestland’s executive vice president of commercial sales for the Americas. “We wish them a safe journey on this challenging mission and look forward to seeing them back in New York in less than two weeks.”
During his 14-day journey, Kasprowicz, who is also the former Deputy Secretary of Transportation of Virginia, and his co-pilot Steve Sheik will also attempt two other world record flights – Washington, DC to New York and New York to London. In February, Kasprowicz and Sheik broke the speed record for the fastest transcontinental helicopter flight from New York to Los Angeles. The record breaking flight was achieved in just 15 hours, 9 minutes and 10 seconds resorting to only six fuel stops and covering 2,139.8 nautical miles.
The Grand offers impressive operational availability and serviceability with the fastest cruise speed and low fuel consumption. Its superior features in terms of performance, flexibility and cost effectiveness enable the crew to maximize the time necessary to make the world record setting flight. With its powerful and reliable Pratt & Whitney PW207 turbine engines, the helicopter has exceptional ability to deliver even when faced with challenging environmental conditions.
The Grand is a new top-of-the-range helicopter developed to meet a wide range of market requirements and provides levels of cabin space and payload that until now could only be met by larger, more expensive helicopters. This new intermediate size helicopter with light twin economics has proven to be a major success in its class. Its distinctive characteristics and a wide range of interiors and avionics solutions make it a suitable platform for a multitude of roles including corporate/VIP transport, emergency medical service and offshore transport. Orders for over 230 helicopters have been placed by more than 100 customers in 30 countries.
AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is the global leader in designing, manufacturing and supporting the world’s most technologically advanced helicopters. With more than 100 years of experience in the aerospace industry, AgustaWestland provides a full range of rotorcraft for every commercial, government and military application, and an unrivalled capability in training and support solutions.