Tag Archive: record-setting flights

solarimpulsesolar impulse in airThe Solar Impulse – on the longest nonstop leg of its Round-The-World attempt has now broken the record for both longest solo flight and longest SOLAR flight (by time). André Borschberg and the Swiss team are attempting to set the record for circling the globe without using a single drop of fuel.


No gas.

Not only from Japan to Hawaii – that’s the hardest, longest, most dangerous part.

But around the world.

The first-in-flight record books are filled with points-on-a-graph success stories all heading toward one goal… flight without limitations of time or distance.

Flying like a bird is not enough for mankind, we must fly like the wind.

Without polluting it.

Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight is the most famous of the record setters. He flew solo nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927.

But before that was the first round-the-world flight in 1924. Not nonstop, not solo. It was four biplanes under the command of Major Martin. That record was broken seven years later by Wiley Post who flew it solo, in a Lockeed Vega.

In 1949 came the first nonstop round-the-world flight, in a B-50A Superfortress built by Boeing. Eight years later in 1957, three Boeing B-52 bombers topped that record by flying round-the-world nonstop by jet engine.

With round-the-world and nonstop accomplished, many years went by without a technological record-breaking advance in aviation. Not until after the 1970s and the energy crisis. Then the race turned to fuel efficiency.

In 1986,  Rutan and Yeager flew round-the-world, nonstop, without refueling. The plane was the Voyager – and a whole new technology.

Naturally, the next record had to be round-the-world, nonstop, without refueling, solo. That was set in 2005 by Steve Fossett with the Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer.

The team behind the Solar Impulse is blowing the record book sky high now. Forget “without refueling”… they are going for “without fuel” in their round-the-world flight.

And in this leg, claiming longest nonstop solo – even aside from without fuel.

Congratulations Solar Impulse. Those of us sitting under skies changed by global warming cheer you on.




Colonel C. J. Tippett’s record breaking flight is described vividly in his biography When No One Else Would Fly, and the level of detail is amazing. He not only kept a meticulous flight log during the flight, but he also preserved it throughout his life and travels. It is one of many gems in his archive.

Tip described the flight in his own words, including his first approach to the Amazon River:

“… on Saturday, February 20, I started the leg of the trip that held the most apprehension for me… “

My previous post offers more tantalizing previews. But what is even more interesting is that Tip turned around and made the flight again, in a Cessna T-50, and then AGAIN… !

For the full story, check out When No One Else Would Fly, now available on Amazon.com!

The Cessna T-50 was a twin-engine trainer and Tip flew it from Washington D.C. to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1943. Thank you wikipedia for the public domain photo!

The Cessna T-50 was a twin-engine trainer and Tip flew it from Washington D.C. to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1943. Thank you wikipedia for the public domain photo!

The Cessna T-50 is not a very big plane, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is a very long way from Washington D.C.

The flight would be a challenge in today’s modern times, with all of the GPS navigation equipment now available – but back in 1943, it was beyond challenging, it was a record!

Colonel C. J. Tippett made that flight in October, 1943 to bring a Cessna T-50 twin engine plane to Rio as a gift from the US Government to the civil aviation program of Brazil. Tip was in charge of the pilot training program, and his students needed access to a twin engine trainer. The US Government wanted to keep Brazil’s good will during wartime, and due to enemy submarine attacks in the Atlantic, the only way to get the plane to the students was to have Tip fly it down.

Additionally, Tip wanted to bring his wife and young son to Brazil. The Cessna could seat up to five, so off they went – with a State Department diplomat named Tony Satterthwaite.

Tip wrote:  “The newest twin-engine trainer at that time was the Cessna T-50; a five passenger wood and fabric aircraft powered with two 245-hp. engines. I was very familiar with the aircraft, as we had used the first ones at the Houston Standardization Center for the training of our inspectors.”

Louise, Tip’s wife, wrote:  “My husband, Cloyce Tippett, a special representative of the Civil Aeronautics Administration in Brazil, met his son, Mike, and me in Washington on his return from his foreign assignment. One day he came in from the CAA office bursting with news and asked me if I’d like to go with him to Brazil. I said sure I would. But Tip had been sent the year before to Argentina for “six weeks” and he had stayed more than a year. All that time, I had one bag packed while I perched precariously on the assurance I was to join him, but I never did. So now I put a strong dash of salt on the Brazil talk.

He assured me patiently that this time it was different and did I, or did I not, want to go to Brazil? I played another card. He had flown down there in a two-seat Fairchild single-engine plane and I wanted very little of that. Tip was a patient guy; tall, good-looking, with smile wrinkles mixed in with the lines that usually frame a pilot’s eyes. He described the Cessna that the CAA was turning over to him. Cozy, he said, as a small apartment. Long back seat where you and Mike could curl up and sleep. Now being converted from its military purposes at the factory. Make the trip in ten days. Magnificent scenery. New places. Rio’s wonderful.

It took more than ten days, but they did it – and their account of the flight is one of the best chapters of Tip’s aviation pioneering story “When No One Else Would Fly”, which is VERY close to being released on Amazon.com. Contact Us to be added to the book release list, or search the title on Amazon.com in the next month. The book is part memoir, part background story, and totally riveting.


Col. C. J. Tippett and the Beechcraft C45

The Beechcraft C-45, similar to the model pictured here, was Tip’s favorite twin-engine aircraft. He flew some amazing flights in it, and one of them is the inspiration for the book’s title.

The current leader for the idea of a title for my grandfather’s aviation biography is “When No-One Else Would Fly.”

It comes from a letter written to Col. C. J. Tippett by Dr. Gene B. Starkloff about a life-saving flight that Tip made in 1945.

Tip was living and working in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with his wife (my grandmother) and children. He had recently returned from flying a new Beechcraft C-45 from Washington DC to Rio on behalf of the US Government – the flight itself an amazing feat in that time in aviation history.

The Beechcraft was a gift, expanding the civil aviation mission in Brazil to twin-engine capability.

Dr. Starkloff was the Army Navy doctor assigned to the South Atlantic Command Headquarters in Rio, and on a dark and stormy night in June, he had received a desperate message from the American embassy in Paraguay. American personnel had been stricken with a wicked illness. They feared that it was polio, and several of the victims were children.

Dr. Starkloff needed both a pilot and a plane to fly him and his heavy load of equipment to Asuncion. There was hope if treatment could be applied soon, and Dr. Starkloff was the only doctor within reach who could deal with polio. But weather had grounded all flights; commercial, military, or private. The conditions were impossible, and the doctor could find no pilot willing to try.

The full story of Tip’s “flight of mercy” is beautifully detailed, in Tip’s own words, in the soon-to-be-released book. It is only one of the many record-setting flights that Tip made in the Beechcraft C-45 between 1945 and the 1950s.

Dr. Starkloff was able to help the children, and he credits Tip with extraordinary courage. He wrote: “We were the only airplane in or out of Rio de Janeiro that week… I will never forget that trip that you volunteered to fly – when no-one else would…”

“When No-One Else Would Fly” will soon join our cultural library of aviation history, and describe Tip’s life as an aviation pioneer.

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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