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Legal Global Circumnavigation Routing?

Thu Nov 20, 2003 1:28 pm


Today I came across this website where two people plan on "circumnavigating the globe" via the Poles in a Bell 430 helicopter...however, in looking at that itinerary..Im not sure how that can be defined as a circumnavigation

Dictionary definition, courtesy of
"Circumnavigation: To proceed completely around"
(Moderators, I apologize in advance if this is not the technical aviation definition of "circumnavigation")

However, it appears that this routing is not going "completely around" the world as it goes first to the South Pole, and then turns around and backtracks for a bit, takes a slightly different route back up through the Americas to the North Pole, then turns around, backtracks again for a bit, then returns to the start point in NYC...

Can someone explain how they can possibly claim this is a "circumnavigation"?
It seems like to me, in order to be a circumnavigation they would have to not backtrack at all and completely go across Antarctica and up through Asia and Russia to the North Pole, and then back down to NYC...

Thanks for the help,
Chief college football stadium self-pic guru
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RE: Legal Global Circumnavigation Routing?

Thu Nov 20, 2003 2:33 pm

I'm not sure how this could really be considered circumnavigation. I think I read somewhere that it's considered a circumnavigation as long as the flight goes around the world within the bounds of the tropic of cancer and tropic of capricorn and goes all the way around the world. Perhaps someone could confirm this?
Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
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RE: Legal Global Circumnavigation Routing?

Thu Nov 20, 2003 2:40 pm

That would be for an equatorial circumnavigation Jhooper...however they claim to be trying a polar circumnavigation, and there are no equivalents of the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to define a polar circumnavigation AFAIK...

Chief college football stadium self-pic guru
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RE: Legal Global Circumnavigation Routing?

Tue Nov 25, 2003 8:06 am

"Legal global circumnavigation routing", well, we are talking about aviation records - world records, which have to comply to some rules.

The only world wide recognized body which governs aviation world records is the Federation Aviation Internationale (FAI), which has its office at Avenue Mon-Repos 24, Lausanne, Switzerland.

The rules about circumnavigation records are found at
where paragraph 5.3.5 reads:

5.3.5. Speed around the world non-stop and non-refuelled The course, including the control points, shall be approved in advance by the NAC's (national aeroclub) concerned. It must start and finish at the same aerodrome, crossing all meridians. The length of the course shall not be less that 36 787.559 kilometres (equal in length to the Tropic of Cancer). The pilot may deviate as is necessary for safety or weather conditions provided appropriate control points can be established. All control points must be at a latitude of less than 66° 33’ (outside the North and South Frigid Zones). If due to unforeseen circumstances the final landing cannot be made at the aerodrome of departure, the aircraft may fly to an alternate aerodrome lying beyond the original one (at a greater distance from which the start was made). The start time shall be the time of take-off ; the finish time shall be the time of landing.

I think that it answers the question.

Please notice that just flying around the world cannot be a record since it has already been done (Jeane Yeager and Dick Rutan 1988). But doing it faster than they did (approx. 9 days) can be a speed record around the world.

Kind regards, Preben Norholm
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
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RE: Legal Global Circumnavigation Routing?

Tue Nov 25, 2003 12:12 pm


It appears that the rules you posted also apply to a equatorial circumnavigation and not a polar one... is the polar section...for some reason I can't copy from the PDF you appears that according to them it is still an around the world flight, but I still am bothered by this...

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