Action Aviation chairman Hamish Harding, Terry Virts and Qatar Executive are now officially certified by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) as setting the record for speed around the world over both the Earth's poles, in addition to 12 other speed over recognised course records.
The record, set on 11 July, now stands at 860.73km/hr (464.76 knots, 534.83mph). The world record attempt, achieved in a Qatar Executive Gulfstream G650ER aircraft, is called One More Orbit in honour of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
“We're thrilled the FAI has ratified our record,” says Harding. “Having the One More Orbit mission officially in the books with the most prestigious flight authoritative body is an honour for myself, the team and for our attempt to pay homage to Apollo 11.”
Qatar Executive executive VP Ettore Rodaro adds: “The successful accomplishment of this mission has been made possible thanks to a meticulous preparation on all levels, throughout all departments of Qatar Executive. Thanks to Qatar Airways' network around the world we were able to prepare every fuel stop efficiently and swiftly, which was a major component in improving the set of records. We wrote history during that mission, something that will remain in the books for a long time. It is an exciting feeling to have mastered the challenge through excellent teamwork and using the right equipment.”
The previous record, set in 2008 by Captain Aziz Ojjeh in a Bombardier Global XRS, stood at 822 km/h (444 knots, 511mph). Ojjeh completed the polar circumnavigation in 52 hours and 32 minutes.
One More Orbit previously received the Guinness World Record for the fastest aerial circumnavigation of the Earth via both geographical poles, at 46 hours 40 mins. Flight attendant Magdalena Starowicz and payload specialist/live streaming cinematographer Jannicke Mikkelson, FNF are also recognised as the first women to achieve this triumph.
Harding and the Qatar Executive pilots are also eligible to receive an FAI Polar Circumnavigation Diamond Diploma, an accolade only six people currently hold.
“One More Orbit is much more than just a world record: it is an adventure unlike any other. Celebrating Apollo's 50th and Magellan's 500th anniversaries,” says Virts. “we did something that had never been done before, with an amazing and engaging international crew.”