Ten years, 155 countries and 1,200 landings later…

In case you are having trouble finding the time to fly, then you should read the lengthy profile of San Diego pilot Robert Gannon on the AOPA website. On January 8, Robert returned to Gillespie Field in his 42-year-old Cessna 182 after flying 2,200 hours in 10 years and making 1,200 landings in 155 different countries. He even circumnavigated the world twice, once in each direction, plus he has landed on every continent and he has even flown over the North Pole.  Even more amazingly, he did all of this in an aircraft whose most sophisticated piece of avionics was an “ancient GPS for which you can’t even get batteries anymore.”

However and for the AOPA article, Robert mostly talked about his experiences with the weather and he noted that West Africa to Brazil and Cape Verde to Natal was:

“A very scary flight with one storm after another,” he said. “I took off with 18 hours of fuel, thinking I’d need 14 hours to get there. It took 17 and a half.”

Homebound from the Falkland Islands into 50-knot headwinds was another nail-biter.

Nevertheless, Robert also added that he is not afraid of flying over water and he and the AOPA article then provided the following tips to any would-be pilot globetrotters:

Gannon says that the key to making international flying a smooth operation is to read up on countries’ entry requirements, assemble your paperwork well in advance, and e-mail copies of key documents to yourself—pilot certificate and medical certificates and insurance—so that you can access them from almost anywhere. Have contact information for your destination nation readily available. He even suggests bringing some carbon paper along—in India, officials needed nine copies of a document.

Be patient with the process. It could take hours after you arrive at the airport before you are processed and granted permission to depart.

However and if you are still hesitant to repeat Robert’s feat, the end of the article quoted him as saying that:

Life is a short flight. If you can do it, do it now!

If you want to read more about Robert’s adventures, check out the Earthrounders website where many of his letters can be found as well as a recent article in the San Diego Union-Tribune about his homecoming.

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