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Flight crew breaks from pole to pole record



(CNN) – An international flight crew broke the record for the fastest circumnavigation of the North and South Poles with an impressive margin of nearly six hours.

Called "One More Orbit" and counting a former International Space Station commander as its leader, it was launched in honor of the Apollo 11 moon landings, which marks its 50th anniversary later this month.

It took 52 hours, 31 minutes and four seconds, at an average speed of 822.8 km / h.

Headed by Action Aviation chairman Hamish Harding and Colonel Terry Virts, former Space Station commander, the crew landed at 9:32 am on July 9 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, right on the road to the north pole.
  The crew is posing in front of the vehicle.

The crew is posing in front of the vehicle.

Another Orbit / Facebook

The aircraft was later fueled in Kazakhstan before it flew to Mauritius to begin the South Pole section of the journey. In Punta Areas, Chile, she made another refuel stop before returning to Florida.

The Jet, which was part of the Qatar Executive fleet, was powered by two Rolls-Royce BR725 A1-12 turbofans.

The first round-trip from pole to pole took place in 1965 in a modified Flying Tiger Line Boeing 707-349C with 40 scientists, guests and crew members. To make the journey possible, the nicknamed Pole Cat had to be rebuilt with two additional fuel tanks in the main cabin. The journey took 62 hours and 27 minutes.

In 1968, a Modern Air Transport Convair 990 with 78 passengers and crew flew over both masts. This aircraft set no speed record, but landed on the McMurdo Station of the Antarctic and was the first aircraft that touched all seven continents.

Pan Am Flight 50's speed record was 31 years Until 2008, when a Bombardier Global Express business jet broke it thanks to perfect planning and shorter refueling stops.

"Our mission is to pay tribute to the moon landing of Apollo 11 by highlighting how people cross the boundaries of aviation," said Harding in a statement. "It's our way of paying tribute to the past, present and future of space exploration."

Thom Patterson of CNN contributed to this report.


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