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April-May 2013

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NASA/JPL Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity

Project Team to Receive 2012 Collier Trophy

   NAA announced at its annual Spring Awards Luncheon in March that the NASA/JPL Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Project Team will receive the 2012 Robert J. Collier Trophy at the upcoming Collier Dinner on Thursday, May 9, 2013, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia.

   The 35-member Collier Selection Committee said it chose the winner ". . .in recognition of the extraordinary achievements of successfully landing Curiosity on Mars, advancing the nation's technological and engineering capabilities, and significantly improving humanity's understanding of ancient Martian habitable environments."

Collier    The Mars Science Laboratory team successfully landed the Curiosity Rover in Gale Crater on August 5, 2012. This event was a dramatic high point in the decade long effort to design, build, test and fly a highly advanced robotic explorer to the surface of Mars.

   The mission also engaged the public in ways that are unprecedented for robotic exploration and clearly demonstrate the passion and excitement that comes from exploring new worlds. For example, the team used social media in a creative way to give Curiosity a "voice" and personality in reporting on its findings from the red planet.

   The Curiosity mission would have been for naught had the Mars Science Laboratory team not been able to land it successfully. Therefore, the task of developing a novel system to land a car-size rover within a few kilometers of the desired landing spot was an unprecedented technology and engineering challenge. Several of the fundamental technical building blocks such as the PICA heat shield thermal protection material, high-precision entry guidance system, and sky-crane touchdown system were first-of-a-kind developments.

   Exploration of the Gale landing site is expected to take several years, so Curiosity has been built to provide both long life and the ability to traverse a substantial distance. Building on the capabilities demonstrated in previous Mars rovers, Curiosity is expected to drive beyond 20 km in total traverse length from the landing site.

   After the announcement about his team winning the Collier Trophy, Project Manager Richard Cook said, "I am honored to be up here to accept the award. We have an amazing team. I want to thank NASA, JPL Cal Tech, and the team of thousands of engineers who made major contributions and were a major part of our success. Curiosity has already done some amazing things on Mars. We will be there for quite a long time and will continue to write more records for the history books about Mars and what we can learn about it."

   The Collier Trophy is awarded annually ". . .for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics

Richard Cook

in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year." The list of Collier winners represents a timeline of air and space achievements, marking major events in the history of flight.

   "As every member of the Selection Committee can attest, this was the most competitive Collier Selection Process that we have experienced in many years," said Walter Boyne, Chairman of NAA and Chairman of the Selection Committee. "Every nominee came to the committee with significant accomplishments and achievements during the year as well as energized and comprehensive presentations. All of them stand out not only in the history of aviation but in the history of the world."

   Other nominees for the 2012 Collier Trophy were:

  • The Lockheed Martin Cargo Unmanned Aerial System
  • The NASA/JPL Dawn Project Team
  • The Gulfstream G650
  • The United States Air Force MC-12 Project Liberty Team
  • Felix Baumgartner and the Red Bull Stratos Team
  • The NASA/JPL Voyager Interstellar Mission Project Team

   The Collier Trophy will be formally presented at the annual Robert J. Collier Trophy Dinner on Thursday, May 9, 2013, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. For tickets or more information, visit


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Most Memorable Records of 2012

Honored at NAA Awards Luncheon

   The annual NAA Spring Awards Ceremony and Luncheon is an opportunity to recognize the "Most Memorable Aviation Records" of the preceding year.

   This year was no exception as the March 2013 luncheon honored a few of the nearly 100 records set during 2012. Art Greenfield, NAA Director, Contest and Records, made the presentations.

   Probably the most famous and visible record of the year was set by Felix Baumgartner, who garnered extensive worldwide media coverage as he established a new Vertical Distance of Freefall record of 119,431 feet in the category of Parachutes: Class G-2 (Performance Record).

   On October 14, 2012, as part of the Red Bull Stratos Project, he leapt from a specially designed balloon capsule that carried him high above the earth over Roswell, New Mexico, breaking sound barrier at a speed of 843 mph (Mach 1.25) during a freefall of 4 minutes, 20 seconds.

   Art Thompson, CEO of Sage Cheshire Aerospace and Technical Director of the Red Bull Stratos Project, accepted the award on behalf of Baumgartner.

Art Thompson and Jonathan Gaffney

   "Seven years of my life and five years with the team were spent on the project," Thompson said. "Felix did an outstanding job. It's an interesting process for the flight test program. I explained to Red Bull that it couldn't be considered a stunt. It had to be what you people you are about - flight testing. Hopefully it will inspire the next generation."

   John Ellias and Dean Gradwell shared a record in the category of Aeromodels: Class F3B (Radio Controlled Glider), and were presented with their awards by Bob Brown, President of the Academy of Model Aeronautics.

   On September 28, 2012, they launched their nearly identical 13-foot wingspan, kit-built model gliders and flew them by remote control to a point more than 17 miles away and back again, covering 35.77 miles.

Bob Brown, John Ellias, Dean Gradwell, and Jonathan Gaffney

   Ellias talked about how they used thermals to reach an altitude of 4,400 feet. "The hardest part coming back was keeping the aircraft in sight," Ellias said. "To keep it from getting too high we had to go nose down and got going very fast."

   Tim McClelland and Brian Erickson set a record in the category of Airplanes: Class C-1.g, Group III (Takeoff Weight 19,842 < 26,455 lbs, Jet Engine)

   On January 22, 2012, they flew a Gulfstream G150 non-stop from the Santa Ana Airport in California to the Hilton Head International airport in Savannah, Georgia. Their 3-hour, 26-minute flight averaged 599 mph, establishing a record for Transcontinental Speed, West to East.

Jonathan Gaffney, Brian Erickson, and Tim McClelland

  "It was a great day to fly an airplane," McClelland said. The two had just flown a Gulfstream senior executive to the West Coast to receive a lifetime achievement award. "It was a good time to spend one-on-one time with the boss and show him what the aircraft could do. At one point Brian said, 'Look at the winds' - we had a 155-knot tailwind in Texas. It's not very often you can just let 'er rip."

   Colin Gore was recognized as the pilot of the "Gamera II" human-powered helicopter in the category of Human-Powered Aircraft: Class IE (Rotorcraft).

Colin Gore

   On August 28, 2012, Gore pedaled the helicopter (a project of the University of Maryland Department of Aerospace Engineering) aloft for 1 minute, 5.1 seconds. The flight took place indoors at the Prince Georges County Sports & Learning Complex in Landover, Maryland. Gore explained that a few other teams doing similar projects have kicked up their efforts recently, adding urgency to his team's record-setting effort. "One team in Canada has access to a gym every Friday," he noted. "That is one of our biggest challenges - finding big spaces to fly in."

   Dustin Martin earned a record in the category of Hang Gliders: Class O-1 (Rigid Wing, Weight-Shift). On July 3-4, 2012, he flew his Wills Wing hang glider 474.7 miles in an 11-hour flight.

Jonathan Gaffney and Richard Hass

   Richard Hass, President of the U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, accepted the award on behalf of Martin. He explained how a group of guys gathered in Zapata, Texas for the "World Record Encampment" to take advantage of winds coming off the gulf.

   "The weather patterns were shaping up," Hass said, "so they cajoled Dustin into coming. He rented a beater car and strapped his hang glider to the roof and came to do the record setting flight." He was flying with another competitor and caught one last thermal to edge him out and set the record.

   Greenfield also honored Brian Utley, Kris Maynard, and Scott Neumann as "MVPs" for their work on the NAA Contest and Records Board.

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NAA Accepting Nominations for Brewer Trophy, Distinguished Statesman of Aviation, and Public Benefit Flying Awards

   NAA is now accepting nominations for the Frank G. Brewer Trophy, Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Awards, and the Public Benefit Flying Awards.

   The Frank G. Brewer Trophy is awarded annually to an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization for significant contributions of enduring value to aerospace education in the United States. Nominations for this year close on July 31, 2013.

   The Distinguished Statesman awards honor outstanding Americans who, by their efforts over an extended period of years, have made contributions of significant value to aeronautics, and have reflected credit upon America and themselves. Nominations for this year close on July 31, 2013.

   The Public Benefit Flying Awards were created to honor volunteer pilots, other volunteers and their organizations engaged in flying to help others. These awards are presented annually at the "Above and Beyond Presentation" at the U.S. Capitol in September. Nominations for this year close on May 31, 2013.

   The NAA website Awards page has more information about the awards and the nomination process.

Unmanned Air Systems:  

Past, Present and Future

   Unmanned aircraft have received much attention in recent years as rapidly advancing technology enables them to conduct many wartime missions that were previously only done with manned aircraft.

   Carl O. Johnson, Vice President of Program Management in the Advanced Development Programs Division of Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, which produces many of the nation's unmanned aircraft and space systems, is one of the world's leading experts on this advanced technology.

Johnson    Johnson gave a wide-ranging overview of the past, present, and future of unmanned air systems at the NAA February 2013 Luncheon.

   He recounted the early experiments with unmanned aircraft by Samuel Pierpont Langley in the late 1800s, later developments with radio controlled aircraft, and the more widespread development of these during World War II.

   However, the Vietnam War was the first time unmanned aircraft were used successfully in combat on a large scale.

   Today, unmanned aircraft benefit from vast improvements in technology that allow for better command and control. They are flown by computer and fly a preplanned program with the ability to make changes during flight.

      "We can take an unmanned system north of the Arctic Circle and still control it from the United States," Johnson said.

   Payloads have also gotten smaller, providing more capability in a smaller package, and he noted that navigational accuracy has increased to within inches instead of feet.

   He cited several unmanned aircraft that have set NAA-certified records for altitude, endurance and distance, including the RQ-4 Global Hawk, RQ-7 Shadow, MQ-8 Fire Scout, and Heron.

   Johnson explained that future challenges for unmanned air systems include autonomy, national air space, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), cultural/social issues, and affordability.

   "We have much more capability in autonomy than we do in policy and social acceptance," he observed. "Navigational precision is an enhancement that should migrate over to commercial airspace. GPS systems allow unmanned aircraft to be within one foot of their reported position."

   In combat situations, Johnson noted that future adversaries will have superior air defense systems and that endurance and survivability will be requirements for future unmanned aircraft.

   "Unmanned air systems will need airspeed, altitude, payload capacity consistent with current manned aircraft," he said. "We need a better command and control construct and standards that all systems are designed to."

   He advised that "future integration of unmanned systems into the U.S. national air space is an enormous issue - technical and emotional - that must be resolved. FAA has been taking a careful approach. Establishing standards is critical."


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USAF PEDRO 83 Flight Honored

With Mackay Trophy

   NAA will present the 2012 Mackay Trophy to the members of the Crew of PEDRO 83 Flight of the United States Air Force. Administered by the United States Air Force and NAA, the trophy is awarded for the "most meritorious flight of the year" by an Air Force person, persons, or organization.

   In January 2012, PEDRO 83 Flight was the dedicated rescue force for a Joint Special Operations Task Force of United States Navy's Sea, Air, Land Teams (SEALs), on high priority mission near Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. Serving as an on-call medical evacuation alert team for this mission, PEDRO 83 launched in adverse weather conditions and arrived to find a firefight underway at the location of a severely injured soldier.

   Demonstrating extraordinary airmanship and unsurpassed bravery, the crew of PEDRO 83 inserted pararescuemen and saved the patient's life and directly supported an assault operation that resulted in eight enemy killed in action and 35 captured.

   The Mackay Trophy was first presented by Clarence Mackay in 1912 and was later deeded to NAA. This year is the centennial year of the award. The Trophy will be presented at the NAA Annual Fall Awards Banquet on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia.


Colonel Joseph Kittinger to Receive Henderson Award at June NAA Luncheon 

   Colonel Joseph Kittinger, USAF, (Ret.) was selected to receive the 2013 Cliff Henderson Trophy, which will be presented to him at the NAA Luncheon on June 18, 2013 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia.

    The Cliff Henderson Trophy, which resides at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, was established in 1960 by the National Aviation Club (now part of NAA) to honor the creator and Managing Director of the world-renowned National Air Races from 1928-1939. His work stimulated a generation's interest in aviation and challenged the state of the aKittingerrt in aviation development.

   In that spirit, the trophy is awarded to ". . .a living individual, group of individuals, or an organization whose vision, leadership or skill made a significant and lasting contribution to the promotion and advancement of aviation and aerospace in the United States."

   On August 16, 1960, Kittinger became an aviation pioneer with the "highest step in the world" when he made history as he ascended to 102,800 feet in a high-altitude balloon and jumped to Earth. During a distinguished Air Force career, Kittinger served as a test pilot, Squadron Commander, and Vice Wing Commander.

   In addition, he spent 11 months as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. After retiring from the Air Force he set two world ballooning records and won numerous ballooning competitions. Kittinger is a NAA Elder Statesman of Aviation; was awarded a Lifetime Achievement in Aviation trophy from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum; was made an Honorary U.S. Army Golden Knight; and is enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame, the U.S. Ballooning Hall of Fame and the National Skydiving Museum Hall of Fame. To date, he has logged more than 16,800 hours of flying time in over 93 aircraft. His adventures are detailed in his autobiography, Come Up and Get Me.

   Most recently, Colonel Kittinger served as Capsule Communications as Mission Control's primary point of radio contact with Felix Baumgartner and the Red Bull Stratos Project. Click here to register for the June 18 NAA Luncheon where Kittinger will receive his award.

President's Message

"I Left The Room Feeling A Lot Smarter. . ."

   The Selection Process for the Collier Trophy is certainly a challenging one - not just for those competing for it, but also for those who have to do the selecting.

   Those who are presenting come to the process always prepared with focused presentations, a great video, a file of testimonials, and answers to almost every conceivable question that could come from 35 aerospace leaders and executives. Whether the competitors win or lose, they all give it their best shot - and almost always consider the experience to be worth their time and effort.

   For the committee, however, an equally challenging task awaits in trying to pick a recipient.

   All the nominations presented to the Selection Committee for the 2012 Collier Trophy (the Lockheed Martin Cargo Unmanned Aerial System; the NASA/JPL Dawn Project Team; the Gulfstream G650; the United States Air Force MC-12 Project Liberty Team; the NASA/JPL Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Project Team; Felix Baumgartner and the Red Bull Stratos Team; and the NASA/JPL Voyager Interstellar Mission Project Team) were all "Collier Worthy" and represented the very best of the excellence which exists in our aerospace and aviation industry.

   That the Selection Committee had such a difficult time picking just one to receive the 2012 Robert J. Collier Trophy underscores that point.

   Please try to join us on May 9th for the Annual Robert J. Collier Dinner to celebrate not just the accomplishment of NASA and JPL and the Curiosity Project Team - but the history and success of our industry represented by the Collier Trophy.


Jonathan Gaffney

  NAA President and CEO

FAI-Sanctioned Icarus Cup Competition

Invites Entrants for Human-Powered Flight

   For the first time, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) is sanctioning the annual Human Powered Aircraft (HPA) Icarus Cup competition as an FAI Second Category Event. The 2013 competition will be held July 19-28 and is an opportunity for anyone experimenting with human-powered flight to enter. Icarus

   The HPA Icarus Cup 2103 is a competition in which teams try and complete the following series of challenges designed to test all aspects of Human Powered Flight:

  • Duration
  • 200-meter sprint race
  • 1-kilometer race
  • A slalom course
  • A take-off performance and landing accuracy task
  • Distance around a triangular course

   The Human Powered Aircraft (HPA) Icarus Cup 2013 is organized by the Human Powered Flight Group of the Royal Aeronautical Society and originated in 1959. One of the Human Powered Flight Group's objectives is to promote human-powered flight as a sport and encourage wider participation, perhaps one day appearing at the Olympics.

   There are certain rules and regulations that competitors need to know, and an online entry form is available. FAI has further information on its website.

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Air Sport Organization News


USHPA Alerts Members to

Mining on Steep Mountain

   The United States Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association (USHPA) alerted its members on its website about how the north side of Steep Mountain (aka the Point of the Mountain) in Draper, Utah, is currently being mined and the local community is banding together to try to collect 10,000 signatures on a petition to save the flying site and the Salt Lake City/Draper skyline. Click here to sign the petition or learn more at


Evektor's Electric SportStar

EPOS Makes First Flights

Evektor    The Experimental Aviation Association (EAA) featured an article on its website about the Czech aircraft manufacturer Evektor-Aerotechnik flying its electric-powered SportStar EPOS airplane for the first time on March 28 at the Kunovice airport in the Czech Republic. Evektor's factory pilot, Radek Sury, made two flights totaling about 30 minutes.

The SportStar EPOS (electric-powered small aircraft) derives from Evektor's SporStar RTC and is being developed for private customers as well as flight schools for primary pilot training. According to the company, EPOS is powered by a 50-kilowatt Rotex Electric RE X90-7 motor, and employs a new, extended trapezoidal wing. Subsequent flight tests will examine the function of the power unit and its effect on the plane's flight and operational characteristics.

Aero Club News

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta Sworn in

At Aero Club of Washington Luncheon

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (left) swearing in FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

   Calling him a "tremendous leader," U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood swore in Michael Huerta for a five-year term as the 17th Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at the Aero Club of Washington's January Luncheon.

   In his first speech as FAA Administrator, Huerta said that he will continue to focus on three specific areas: a data driven approach to enhance safety, deploying technology to benefit the traveling public and to lower emissions, and meeting the demands of a growing industry and staying abreast of the latest advances in aviation.


ACONE to Present Joe Sutter

With Godfrey L. Cabot Award

    The Aero Club of New England (ACONE) will present the Godfrey L. Cabot Award to Joe Sutter, legendary Boeing aeronautical engineer, on Friday, June 7, 2013 at the Harvard Club in Boston.

   Sutter wSutter ill be honored for his achievements as an aeronautical engineer. He brought to life the designs of the Boeing 707, 727, 737 and the 747, thereby changing the face of commercial aviation forever. Sutter is best known for leading Boeing's 4,500-member design team for the 747, which for many years was the largest commercial airliner ever built. He is known as the "Father of the 747."

   The Cabot Award is presented each year by ACONE to an individual or team who has made a unique and unparalleled contribution to encourage and advance aviation and space flight.

   For reservations or further information, visit or contact Georgia Pappas at 781-592-9357.


Atlanta Aero Club Hears from FSI President

And Presents EPPS Award to Bernadette Darnell

Medal of Honor recipient Jake Jacobs (left), EPPS Award recipient Bernadette Darnell (center), and FSI President Bruce Whitman (right).

   Bruce Whitman, President of Flight Safety International (FSI) spoke to the Atlanta Aero Club (AAC) in January, sharing his involvement with the Wings Club in New York City and the Medal of Honor Foundation as well as his many years with FSI. Medal of Honor recipient Jake Jacobs joined Whitman with an inspiring message to the group of over 110 members and guests in attendance at the Capital City Clu

   The AAC awarded the EPPS Award for Outstanding Aviation Achievement in Georgia to Angel Flight Coordinator Bernadette Darnell for her efforts to orchestrate nonprofit missions to support cancer victims in the Southeast.

   The next AAC luncheon will be on May 23, 2013 with guest speaker Tom Hendricks, President of the National Air Transportation Association. Please RSVP at



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In This Issue
Collier Trophy Winner
NAA Awards Luncheon
NAA Accepting Nominations
Unmanned Air Systems
Henderson Award Winner
Article Headline
NAA President's Message
Icarus Cup Competition
Air Sport News
Aero Club News
Upcoming Events
Call for Nominations
Featured Member Orgs
Records Claimed
Air Sports Link
NAA Credit Card

Upcoming Events
Collier Trophy Dinner

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Honoring the NASA/JPL Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Project Team

Click here to register

June NAA Luncheon
Tuesday, June 18, 2003
Honoring Henderson Award Winner Colonel Joseph Kittinger
Click here to register
Call for Nominations

Frank G. Brewer Trophy

Nominations Close 7/31/13

Awarded annually to an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization for significant contributions of enduring value to aerospace education in the United States.

Click here for details.


Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Awards

Nominations Close 7/31/13

Awards honor outstanding Americans who, by their efforts over an extended period of years, have made contributions of significant value to aeronautics, and have reflected credit upon America and themselves.

Click here for details.


Public Benefit Flying Awards

Created to honor volunteer pilots, other volunteers and their organizations engaged in flying to help others.

Nominations Close 5/31/13

Click here for details.

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Records Claimed
January 1-February 28, 2013     

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Speed Over a Commercial Airline Route


San Francisco, CA to Beijing, China: 515 mph

Donald Hill & Trond Einemo

Class C-1

United Airlines Boeing 747-400

4 Pratt & Whitney PW4056



Beijing, China to San Francisco, CA: 571 mph

Donald Hill & Trond Einemo

Class C-1

Boeing 747-400

4 Pratt & Whitney PW4056



Speed Over a Recognized Course


Savannah, GA to London, UK: 559 mph

Erik Kauber & Glenn Gonzales

Class C-1.i, Group III (Jet)

Gulfstream G280

2 Honeywell HTF7250G



Washington, DC to Doha, Qatar: 593 mph

John McGrath, Benjamin Gonzalez & John Salamankas

Class C-1.m, Group III (Jet)

Gulfstream G650

2 BMW Rolls-Royce BR700



Doha, Qatar to Teterboro, NJ: 512 mph

Craig Wilkerson, Eric Henman & Jacob Howard

Class C-1.m, Group III (Jet)

Gulfstream G650

2 BMW Rolls-Royce BR700



Teterboro, NJ to Moscow, Russia: 599 mph

Gregory Sheldon & Ross Oetjen

Class C-1.l, Group III (Jet)

Gulfstream G650

2 BMW Rolls-Royce BR700



Moscow, Russia to Savannah, GA: 565 mph

Ross Oetjen, Benjamin Gonzalez & John McGrath

Class C-1.m, Group III (Jet)

Gulfstream G650

2 BMW Rolls-Royce BR700



Houston, TX to Caracas, Venezuela: 534 mph

Santiago Koritschoner & Earl Leonard

Class C-1.i, Group III (Jet)

Gulfstream G280

2 Honeywell HTF7250G



Minneapolis, MN to San Diego, CA: 509 mph

Timothy McClelland & Earl Leonard

Class C-1.i, Group III (Jet)

Gulfstream G280

2 Honeywell HTF7250G



Honolulu, HI to Pago Pago, American Samoa: 495 mph

Earl Leonard

Class C-1.i, Group III (Jet)

Gulfstream G280

2 Honeywell HTF7250G



Honolulu, HI to Auckland, New Zealand: 544 mph

John McGrath

Class C-1.l, Group III (Jet)

Gulfstream G650

2 BMW Rolls-Royce BR700



Pago Pago, American Samoa to Melbourne, Australia: 426 mph

Earl Leonard

Class C-1.i, Group III (Jet)

Gulfstream G280

2 Honeywell HTF7250G



Melbourne, FL to El Paso, TX: 379 mph

Richard Brimer & Douglas Owenby

Class C-1.f, Group III (Jet)

Embraer Phenom 300

2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PW535E



El Paso, TX to Long Beach, CA: 379 mph

Richard Brimer & Douglas Owenby

Class C-1.f, Group III (Jet)

Embraer Phenom 300

2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PW535E



Transcontinental Speed, East to West: 373 mph

Richard Brimer & Douglas Owenby

Class C-1.f, Group III (Jet)

Embraer Phenom 300

2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PW535E



All information is preliminary and subject to approval.

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