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Earthrounders gather at EAA AirVenture 2000

by Wayne Collins, Mineola, Texas

The first meeting of Earthrounders was held at AirVenture 2000, the brainchild of Hans Gutmann who flew his Glasair around the world in 1996. Flying a light aircraft around the world, whether in a single or a twin engine, is quite a trick and Hans thought it would be great to have a gathering of those who had done it to talk about their adventures. Planes from Austria, Germany, Hawaii, Australia, Sweden, Mexico, Switzerland, Brazil, the United States and other distant lands were on hand, plus there were Earthrounders who arrived at Oshkosh via commercial airways.

Margi, Gérard and Claude    

Of all the different types of planes chosen by pilots to make the trip, by far the one most chosen was the Bonanza. From Germany, there were. Horst Ellenberger in his turbine A36, Juergen Timm in his V35B and Peter Woelfel in his A36TC. From Honolulu, there was Willie Tashima in his A36 and from Texas Frank Haile and I came, each flying our V35Bs. Gin and Bill Bancroft, Bonanza Earthrounders from Wisconsin, were present but their A36 was not.

Margi and Gerard Moss of Rio de Janeiro with Claude Meunier of Australia.
All the Bonanzas made their trips around with Dolly Parton tip tanks designed by Frank Haile. These tanks give lift and are more efficient than ferry tanks inside the cabin. Not only is it safer to have the extra fuel outside the cabin, participants in the long 15-hour legs of the flight are more comfortable with the extra room.
A special luncheon was held for the Earthrounders at the Nature Center on Thursday and an evening dinner Saturday where many experiences were exchanged. Discussion mostly centered on the differences in trips made prior to Loran and GPS when the only navigation tools over the oceans were the compass, clock and ADF.
Dick Rutan talked about the differences of a nonstop Voyager flight and a many-leg Long-EZ flight dealing with customs and controllers.
    Wayne's V35
Visitors at AirVenture 2000 look
at the "Earthrounders" routes displayed
on the side of Wayne Collins V35.

Horst told about his ditching in the Pacific. Steve Fosset related his experiences in balloon crossings and his record around-the-world trip in a Citation.

The longest time on a flight going around the world by anyone in the group was that made by Margi and Gerard Moss of Rio de Janeiro who spent more than two years traveling and visiting many countries. All agreed that if you had the time and the money, that would be the way to go.

Peter Woeffel    

There seemed to be a general consensus that a great deal more patience was required to deal with problems on the ground with customs and regulations than actually flying the trip.
At a program at the Theater in the Woods on Sunday evening, 12 of us Earthrounders were introduced and interviewed.
To get this group together, Hans first contacted EAA leader Tom Poberezny at Oshkosh. Then Margi and Gerard Moss handled all the communications involved in locating pilots around the world and coordinating with AirVenture 2000. Without e-mail, making all the necessary contacts in a timely manner would have been impossible.

Peter Woefel (right) rolls out a map,
on the wing of his A36TC, to show a visitor his route. .

Hans invited all the Earthrounders to a second gathering next year in Vienna. I feel sure that trip will generate a formation of Bonanzas from the USA to Vienna.

This article from the American Bonanza Society Magazine
is reproduced with the permission of American Bonanza Society.

Last update: December 17, 2006
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