Duo Smashes Around-the-world Helo Speed Record

 - August 19, 2008, 11:14 AM

The “Grand Adventure” concluded yesterday morning at New York La Guardia Airport. Helicopter pilots Scott Kasprowicz and Steve Sheik flew a stock twin-engine 2007 AgustaWestland A109S Grand 20,078 miles in a little more than 11 days, shattering the old record by almost six days. The pair beat the record without auxiliary fuel tanks, chase airplanes or an elaborate mission control. En route, they also set a new New York to London helicopter speed record, making the 3,449-nm trip in 40 hours 41 minutes and breaking the previous record by more than 35 hours. The round-the-world helicopter speed record had stood since 1996, when pilots Ron Bower and John Williams flew a Bell 430, outfitted with auxiliary fuel tanks, a distance of 20,508 miles in 17 days, 6 hours and 14 minutes. Kasprowicz and Sheik launched just after 3 a.m. on August 7. Their northerly route took them over the Atlantic, through Europe, Russia, Alaska and Western Canada before they began a circuitous route of the lower 48 states to amass the necessary mileage for the new record.