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WorldFlyers to Attempt Circumpolar Flight Speed Record

Two American aviators, Mickey Russell and Jay Jones, plan to break the world speed record of flying around he world over the poles in November 2011 and break a 40-year-old speed record in the process.

Buena Vista, CO, June 16, 2011 --( While a number of flights have circumnavigated the Earth around the equator, there have been just six attempts to fly around the world over both poles. Only three of them have been successful. Two American aviators, Mickey Russell and Jay Jones, plan to make that flight in November 2011 and break a 40-year-old speed record in the process.

Russell points out, “More people have stood on the moon than have flown over both of the world's poles in a propeller-driven aircraft.”

The epic flight is timed to maximize favorable conditions and to mark the 100th anniversary of the first successful expedition to the South Pole by the Amundsen Expedition in December 1911, as well as the 40th anniversary of the first successful flight over both the world's poles by Elgen Long in November 1971. If Russell and Jones’ 24-day expedition is successful, it will surpass Long’s flight, which is still the world record at 28 days, by more than 10 percent.

The pilots, both born in the 1950s in Texas, met eight years ago in Buena Vista, Colorado. Russell is no stranger to planning for such a flight, having helped former astronaut Pete Conrad and his crew set a world speed record for circumnavigation in a Lear Jet in 1996. He has more than 3400 hours of flight time. Jones’ Formula One Racer Quadnickel, based at the Central Colorado Regional Airport in Buena Vista, is well known to fans at the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada. He has a solid background in engineering and aircraft design, and his expertise in upgrading the efficiency of aircraft will be vital to the world record attempt.

The endeavor requires an aircraft with a 5200-mile range, as the majority of the route will be flown over water or ice. Jones and Russell decided to use the Beechcraft Queen Air, which had been a former US Army U-8 aircraft. Naturally, the aircraft will be equipped with modern avionics and navigation equipment.

In addition to the tasks involved in planning for international travel, including securing the necessary permits, determining logistics, and interpreting the effects of meteorological patterns, the preparation for the world-flight attempt will involve test flights. Those flights will reveal the strengths and limitations of the aircraft and its systems, endlessly improving the efficiency of the aircraft. The test flights, 30 to 40 hours long over the next few months, will also determine the physical limits of the pilots.

Jones points out, “It’s going to take us 200 flight hours, but the planning and preparation will take us more than 2000 hours.”

Although the route is subject to change due to political or meteorological conditions, the crew will start in Colorado and head to Valdez and Anchorage, Alaska. The crew will then fly over the North Pole to Greenland, then on to Canada and western Africa. They will then fly over the Equator, on to Kenya and then south to South Africa. From South Africa they will fly over the South Atlantic to Brazil. After reaching Brazil, they will fly along the coast until they reach the southern tip of South America. There, from a little-known airfield, they will fly to the South Pole and then on to Chile. The final legs will take them up western South America to Central America. After flying to Belize, they will finish their flight on the continental United States at their home base in Colorado.

They offer insights into the crew’s preparations, as well as information about the pilots, aircraft and its equipment. Updates are posted regularly.

An insightful, informative and inspiring documentary film about the expedition is planned. In addition to recording the preparations and the historic flight itself, the documentary will include footage of exotic locations that have rarely been filmed. The crew also intends to clarify visually the importance of the polar regions and the general health of our planet.

For more information, contact Mickey Russell at 719-207-8760 or

Contact: Cara Russell

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Mickey Russell

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