Young pilot completes solo flight around the world
July 1, 2013
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  • FRESNO, Calif. — On June 29, Jack Wiegand completed his mission to break the current Guinness World Records title and became the youngest person to fly solo around the world.
    The Fresno, Calif. native, 21 years 7 days, broke the current record held by James Anthony Tan of Malaysia who was 21 years 344 days when he took the title in May 2013.

    Wiegand departed on his voyage from the Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) and headed east, making 22 stops, flying approximately 21,000 nautical miles, crossing three oceans and visiting 12 different counties.

    Amidst the excitement and nerves to begin the record-breaking journey, Wiegand forgot one of his most important documents — his passport. A fact, he only realized once when he arrived at his first international destination in Iqaluit, Canada, a remote town northeast of Hudson Bay. After searching his plane, the passport was discovered in the copy machine in his parent’s home where Wiegand had made photocopies of his visas, identification and passport. The passport was sent via UPS and Wiegand was able to continue on his international route.

    Wiegand’s flight included stops in Boulder, Colo.; St. Louis; New York NY; Iqaluit Baffin Region, Canada; Reykjavik, Iceland; London, England; Rome, Italy; Crete, Greece; Cairo, Egypt; Dubai, UAE; Mumbai, India; Kolkata, India; Bangkok, Thailand; Manila, Philippines; Kobe, Japan; Sapporo, Japan; Kushiro, Japan; Dutch Harbor, USA; Anchorage Alaska; Ketchikan, Alaska; Seattle; and Fresno.

    Weather delays kept Wiegand from flying from Japan across the Pacific Ocean to Alaska for more than three weeks. After receiving clearance for takeoff, Wiegand was able to ride a 70-knot tailwind and reached up to 280 mph during the almost 12-hour flight across the International Dateline. By the end of the mission, Wiegand circumnavigated the world in 58 days in a high-performance Mooney Ovation2 GX.

    The title of the mission, SOLO 20/13, holds personal significance to Wiegand as it highlights some key elements of his journey as a pilot: He began flying at the age of 13, he took off on his SOLO flight in the year 2013, and was 20 years old when departed from Fresno for his mission to break the Guinness World Records title.

    The SOLO 20/13 mission raised awareness and support for two charitable causes. These organizations are Big Brothers Big Sisters, invested in building relationships with children facing adversity, and the Ag Warriors project of the International Agri-Center, preparing returning veterans for careers in the agriculture industry.