List of round
the world records

Youngest RTW pilots

FAI Record Diploma

Records in aviation are almost as old as aviation itself and are very much a part of it. They certainely contributed to the progress of aviation by bringing in a stimulating element, and also the spirit of competition.

Each leg of a long flight and at fortiori each leg of a round the world flight can become a record of speed, duration, distance or altitude.

Records in aviation are verified and kept by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). This organisation is proud of its impartiality, and was founded in 1905 in Paris, filing its first record on November 12th, 1906. This record was achieved by Santos-Dumont, a Brazilian, who lived in Paris, and the following result is recorded :
Speed : 25.66 mp/h (41.3 km/h)
Distance : 721.8 feet (219 mêtres)
Duration : 21.2 seconds

In October 1910, records became World Records. Aircraft are differentiated in classes by weight. Since 1910, many classes have been added to include records not thought of at the time, including space records.

The FAI originally had its headquarters in Paris, but has recently moved to Lausanne, in Switzerland.

Pilots wishing to set records cannot deal directly with the FAI and must go through their National Aero Club. For each nation affiliated with the FAI, there is an aero club to represent them, and it is to this club that pilots can apply to receive any necessary information and to make application for records.

The FAI Internet Site is available to anyone wishing to consult the list of existing records, or records pending which are still under scrutiny. The list of all the National Aero Clubs can also be found on this site.

Address of the Internet Site of the FAI : http://www.fai.org

The only book available which lists all the approved records, is published by the Amerivan National Aero Club, The National Aeronautic Agency (NAA). The address is as follows :
1815N Fort Myer Drive, Suite 700
Arlington, VA 22209
Internet Site : http://www.naa-usa.org
e-mail : naa@naa-usa.org

The procedure to set a record is as follows:
  • Check that the record has not already been set.
  • Contact the National Aero Club. Most of them have a "starter kit".
  • Apply for a record permit. If nobody has applied for that particular record, a permit is issued. Once this permit has been issued, nobody else can attempt that particular record for a given period of time. (This is why Joan Smith was unable to attempt a record for her "around the world" flight in 1964, as Jerrie Mock had already applied for, and been issued a permit.)
  • Prepare the dossier for the record. This comprises of many sections including identifying the aircraft, the crew, and the official observers. Observers must be recognised by the club. In most instances, Control Tower Officers record the take off and landing times.
  • With preparations complete, fly the leg.
  • After the flight forward all documents to the Aero Club with in the set time required.
The National Aero Club will peruse the documentation and will establish a National Record. The dossier will then be forwarded to the FAI if worthy of a world record.

Rules are very strict and should be followed to the letter. As an example, one should not say that a record has been set until it is fully approved, but can say that an attempt for a record has been made.

Pending records can be seen on the FAI Site.

Apart from the permit application, it is best not to broadcast one's intention of setting or breaking a record. Competitors may otherwise get in first. Australian industrialist and traveller, Dick Smith, is an example. In an interview in 1982, he announced his intention to be the first to fly around the world in an helicopter. Ross Perot Jr, the son of a presidential candidate in the USA, on reading an article on the interview, decided that such a record should go to the USA. With a huge transport aircraft, a C-130, carrying mechanics, a specialised rescue team in sea rescue, aircraft and engine parts, and food and water to last months, Ross Perot Jr. flew around the world before Smith was even ready.

On a long flight as in flying around the world, each leg can be the target for a record. One can also set records on cumulative legs. For example, a record can be set from A to B, then from B to C, but also from A to C, bearing in mind that the time spent on the ground at B will counted in the total time.

Speed records around the world are getting harder to break as aircraft and pilots improve and the times taken get shorter. The minimum distance for such a record must be at least equal to the length of the Tropic of Cancer, that is : 36.787, 559 km (22,863 miles).

There are still legs where records have not been set, and by choosing well, a record may stand for a long time. Some routes are commonly used, as are some departure points such as Paris and London.

It is interesting to note that some old records still stand and are there to be broken.
André Japy, November 15, 1936 : Paris - Hanoi; in a Caudron-Renault. Speed: 180km/h.
Maryse Hilsz, December 23, 1937 : Paris - Saigon; in a Caudron-Simoun. Speed: 109km/h.
Genin, December 18, 1935 : Paris - Tananarive; in a Caudron- Simoun. Speed: 151km/h

Fai Logo

This is a brief summary of Speed Records around the World.
It is published with the kind permission of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.
For full details, please visit the FAI Web Site : http://www.fai.org


Class C1-B
Hans Georg SCHMID (Switzerland) Westbound Long Eze HB-YCT, 29/04/2000, 69.99 km/h.
Hans Georg SCHMID (Switzerland) Eastbound Long Eze HB-YCT, 28/03/2000, 69.87 km/h.
Jon JOHANSON (Australia) Westbound RV4 VH-NOJ, 25/09/199, 23.31 km/h.
Jon JOHANSON (Australia) Eastbound RV4 VH-NOJ, 31/08/1995, 29.37 km/h.
Don TAYLOR (USA) Eastbound T18 N445T, 1/8-30/9/1976, 27.127 km/h.

Class C1-C
Charles CLASSEN & Philip GRETH (USA) Westbound Bonanza G-35 N4493D, 27/5-6/06/1988, 87.51 km/h.
William H. WISNER & Janice SULLIVAN (USA) Westbound Bonanza N6826Q, 11/6-6/7/1986, 71.40 km/h.
Donald F. MUIR & Andre DAEMAN (Canada) Eastbound Cessna 210N, 1-7/08/1982, 243.75 km/h.
R. S. MUCKLESTONE (USA) Westbound Cessna T210 N6922R, 1978, 204.05 km/h.
Harold N. BENHAM & Jack RODD (USA) Eastbound Bonanza N990MD, 1977, 142.44 km/h.
R. S. & P. J. MUCKLESTONE (USA) Westbound Cessna T210, 23/8-4/9/1975, 128.277 km/h.
Dr. Alvin MARKS (USA) Eastbound Cessna 210 N942SM, 4/1969, 118.20 km/h.
Sheila SCOTT (UK) Eastbound Piper Comanche 260 G-ATOY, 18/5-20/6/1969, 59.018 km/h.
Geraldine MOCK (USA) Eastbound Cessna 180, 19/3-17/4/1964, 52.751 km/h.

Class C1-D
Richard NORTON, Calin ROSETTI (USA) Via the Poles Malibu Mirage N26033, 05/15/1987, 14.04 km/h.
T. BROUGHAM & R. DICKESON (Australia) Eastbound Baron B55 VH-CFO, 10/08/1971, 318.28 km/h.
Robert L. & Joan WALLICK (USA) Eastbound Baron PJ-C808, 2/6-7/6/1966, 300.20 km/h.
Maximilien CONRAD (USA) Westbound Aztec PA-23 N4544P, 08/03/1961, 198.27 km/h.
Peter K. GLUCKMAN (USA) Eastbound Meyers200A N485C, 22/8-20/9/1959, 53.76 km/h.

Class C1-E
Hamad Ali AL-THANI (Qatar) Westbound Aerostar N90608, 29/04/1992, 132.02 km/h.
Richard RUTAN & Jeana YEAGER (USA) Eastbound without refuelling Voyager N269VA, 14-23/12/1986, 186.11 km/h.
D. MCCULLOCH & G. KEATING (Canada) Westbound Cesna 414 C-FASB, 9/6-7/7/1986, 59.54 km/h.
Philander P. CLAXTON III & John L. CINK (USA) Eastbound Piper Aerostar N300AM, 09/11/1977, 353.57 km/h.
Denys N. DALTON & T. GWYNNE-JONES (Australia) Eastbound VH TKE, 20-25/7/75, 327.73 km/h.
Elgen M. LONG (USA) via the Poles Navajo PA-31 N9097Y, 03/17/1971, 93.050 km/h.


Class E1-D
H.Ross PEROT Jr & J.W. COBURN (USA) Eastbound Bell 206 N3911Z, 1-30/09/1982, 56.97 km/h.

Class E1-C
Joe Ronald BOWER (USA) Eastbound Bell JetRanger III , 20/06/1994, 65.97 km/h.


Class E1-C
Jennifer MURRAY (UK) Robinson 44, 6/09/2000, 16.99 km/h.


Youngest Pilot flying Solo - record holders:

Current (achieved September 2013) - Ryan Campbell (Australia) at 19 years of age, DOB: January 13. 1994, RTW ended September 7, 2013
Former (achieved June 2013) - Jack Weigand (USA) at 20 years of age, DOB:22 June, 1993,, RTW ending June 29, 2013
Former (achieved May 2013) - James Tan (Malaysia) at 21 years of age. DOB:June 4, 1991, RTW ending May 16, 2013
Former (achieved Sept. 2012) - Carlo Schmid (Switzerland), at 22 years of age. DOB: January 25, 1990, RTW: July 11 to September 29, 2012
Former (achieved June 2007) - Barrington Irvin (USA), at 23 years of age. DOB: November 11, 1983. RTW: March 23 to June 27, 2007

Date of Birth
  Date of end of RTW  
Age at end of RTW
Click fo a
larger photo
Barrington Irving USA 11 November, 1983 27 June, 2007 23 years, 7 months, 16 days
Carlo Schmid Switzerland 25 January, 1990 29 September, 2012 22 years, 8 months, 4 days
James Tan Malaysia 4 June, 1991 16 May, 2013 21 years, 11 months, 12 days
Jack Weigand USA 22 June, 1993 29 June, 2013, 2013 20 years, 7 days
Ryan Campbell Australia 13 January, 1994 7 September, 2013 19 years, 7 months, 24 days

Photos curtesy The Earthrounders

Last update :September 26, 2013
Copyright © Claude Meunier 2000, 2013