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Kiwi's epic UK-NZ trip in two-seater plane comes to an end

Newshub logoNewshub 6/12/2018 Bridget Grace

A two-seater plane has completed an epic journey from the UK to New Zealand to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force.

The trip took five weeks and involved 27 stop-overs, and the plane finally touched down on New Zealand soil after its 23,000 kilometre journey.

It was a joyful moment for Chris Pote and Abby McGill.

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"[We feel] euphoric, and also slightly bittersweet because it's over - it's been a fantastic adventure," Wing Commander Chris Pote said.

"The idea initially came from as a school boy reading books about the people who had done it previously - Ian Winkler, Jean Batten and Amy Johnson."

Five years ago, the Royal Air Force pilots came up with the idea of flying around the world to mark its 100th anniversary.

The plane departed the UK more than two months ago, with a top speed of 160km/h and a maximum distance of 1610km a day.

It took 27 hops to make it to New Zealand. The crew retraced a route used by early aviation pioneers, and stopped at significant Royal Air Force airfields along the way in countries including Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia and Myanmar.

The weather was responsible for some hairy moments, bouncing around through thunderstorms with large mountains and ridges and winds.

"That required a lot of perseverance and great care; it's very easy to break that sort of airplane," Mr Pote said.

a small airplane sitting on top of a runway: The journey was to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force. © Newshub. The journey was to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force. The search for a suitable aircraft took a couple of years. The Eurofox was modified specifically for the trip, and has double the standard fuel capacity. The extra fuel is carried in the wings.

Our Air Force was born out of the Royal Air Force, so its centenary has meaning here.

And with the plane's landing here, a big adventure connecting the past and the present comes to an end.

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