A 44-year-old Austrian pilot and father of three, Helmuth Lehner, landed his small Aerospoolin WT-9 Dynamic Airplane at Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport on Thursday, June 7, 2012, after flying four hours from Jakarta during the visit to the 17th country in a round-the-world journey.
The airplane, modified for the challenge of a circumnavigation, weighs only 320 kilograms.
Lehner’s epic 48,000-kilometer journey commenced four weeks ago when he took off from the Blue Danube Airport
in Linz, Austria. Thus far, his journey has included stops in Central Europe, Greece, Egypt, Abu Dhabi, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Jakarta before touching down in Bali.
When his journey ends in August the intrepid traveler will have visited 30 countries in all and raised substantial funds to memorialize fellow Austrian pilot Han Gutman, the first Austrian to circle the globe in a self-built airplane who perished in a plane accident in Italy in 2011. The donated funds will be used to support surviving family members of private pilots who have died at the wheel of their aircraft.
The specially modified airplane was originally built as an ultra light aircraft but was modified with additional equipment and extra fuel capacity to permit 19 hours of continuous flying time on a single fueling.
The longest leg of Lehner’s sojourn will be a 3,700-kilometer leg from Hawaii to San Francisco.
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