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During an attempt to break the around the world speed record in an AgustaWestland Grand helicopter, pilots Scott Kasprowicz and Steve Sheik have set a new speed record on the first leg of their trip from New York City to London. This flight covered 3,449 nautical miles and took the crew 40 hours, 41 minutes breaking the current record by over 35 hours. The record of the flight will be submitted to the National Aeronautical Association for ratification.
Kasprowicz and Sheik departed from New YorkLaGuardiaAirport at 3:14 am on August 7, 2008. The journey will cover over 20,046 nm, 18 countries, 49 states and make 78 fuel stops in less than 2 weeks. The team will also look to break the Washington, DC to New York record on the last leg of the world speed record attempt.
"It's been an exhilarating and exhausting first few days," said Kasprowicz after landing at Redhill, just south of London, on August 9th. "We've experienced every possible type of weather condition including rain, icing and strong head winds, and through each challenging condition, the helicopter has performed exceptionally."
The pilots entered Russia on August 10th, the most challenging portion of their record attempt - dubbed the "Grand Adventure". They anticipate crossing the continent in 3.5 days and presently are on schedule to enter the United States through Nome, Alaska. They will travel through almost every state before landing back in New York next week.
As of today the crew has completed the first five legs of the trip, which included 30 fuel stops and an overnight inspection at AgustaWestland's facility in Cascina Costa, Italy. No mission specific modifications or additional fuel cells have been added to the aircraft to improve performance.
Real time tracking and more information about the Grand Adventure can be found at www.grandadventure08.com.
Unlike Wallace and Gromit however there is no Wensleydale cheese on board.