You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Top Stories

Pilot sets a new world record for the fastest journey around the globe via the North and South poles - covering 25,000 miles in less than 47 hours

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 12/07/2019 Lara Keay For Mailonline
In this Thursday, July 11, 2019 photo provided by Chris Garrison, Col. Terry Virts, former International Space Station commander, center with sunglasses, and British pilot Captain Hamish Harding, third from right, pose with other crew members in front of their Gulfstream aircraft after their record-breaking around-the-world flight over the North and South poles, landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Dubbed “One More Orbit,” the flight paid homage to next week’s 50th anniversary of humanity’s first moon landing. (Chris Garrison via AP) © Provided by The Associated Press In this Thursday, July 11, 2019 photo provided by Chris Garrison, Col. Terry Virts, former International Space Station commander, center with sunglasses, and British pilot Captain Hamish Harding, third from right, pose with other crew members in front of their Gulfstream aircraft after their record-breaking around-the-world flight over the North and South poles, landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Dubbed “One More Orbit,” the flight paid homage to next week’s 50th anniversary of humanity’s first moon landing. (Chris Garrison via AP)

An international team of aviators led by a British pilot has set a new record for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe.

Pilot Hamish Harding, of St John's Wood, London, and NASA astronaut Colonel Terry Virts travelled 24,966 miles in 46 hours, 39 minutes and 38 seconds.

The pair smashed the previous record of 54 hours, seven minutes and 12 seconds in their Qatar Executive Gulfstream G650ER.

Globe Simulation Model Globe Simulation Model

Averaging 534.97mph the pair now hold the world record for the fastest journey around the world via the north and south poles. 

Mr Harding, who is chairman of Action Aviation, said he was 'ecstatic' after touching down at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA. 

He told The Times: 'We pushed the boundaries of aeronautics and the aircraft handled it flawlessly.'

Gallery: 23 of the wildest Guinness World Records set in 2019 (INSIDER)

They did have to make three pitstops to refuel, in Kazakhstan, Mauritius and Chile landing for around 30 minutes each.

Colonel Virts, of Baltimore, Maryland, has spent 213 days in space in his career and has orbited the Earth more than 3,400 times.

He told the newspaper: 'Those were like Formula One pitstops. They had to be, because that clock was ticking on us and we didn't know if there might be anything coming up ahead that could slow us down.'

a close up of a map: Pilot Hamish Harding, of St John's Wood, London, and NASA astronaut Colonel Terry Virts travelled 24,966 miles in 46 hours, 39 minutes and 38 seconds. A map shows their route and stop points © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Pilot Hamish Harding, of St John's Wood, London, and NASA astronaut Colonel Terry Virts travelled 24,966 miles in 46 hours, 39 minutes and 38 seconds. A map shows their route and stop points

The pair made the journey to mark the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11's moon landings and the 500 years since the first known circumnavigation of the globe by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1519.  

They named the mission One More Orbit and claim, despite their tight-schedule, they had time to take pictures along the way. 

Mr Harding and Col Virts were accompanied by three other pilots - from Denmark, South Africa and Ukraine - one flight attendant from Poland and one cosmonaut from Russia.

Hand holding paper airplane in the sky. Hand holding paper airplane in the sky.

They were also aided by Captain Ian Cameron, also from the UK, who was the director at the mission control centre. 

Things got nerve-racking as they flew over the south pole and the temperature fell to -83C - three belows lower than the jet's limit.

They were forced to fly 5,000ft lower to increase temperatures for fear of a fatal incident.

Beforehand they radioed down to the Amundsen-Scott research base where they spoke to personnel they last spoke with during a 2016 expedition with Apollo 11's Buzz Aldrin. 

One More Obit broke other aviation records, which were verified by Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.

It has been described as 'nothing short of historic' by experts who cheered as they came back down to earth. 

MSN are empowering Women In Sport this summer. Find out more about our campaign and the charity fighting to promote the transformational and lifelong rewards of exercise for women and girls in the UK here.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More From Daily Mail

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon