With his only mainland U.S. fuel stop in Las Vegas, 62-year-old Swiss aviator Cpt. Riccardo Mortara went on to successfully claim a new around-the-world record of 57 hours and 54 minutes. But the stop in Sin City was the start of major drama and a battle with Mother Nature that nearly prevented the bid from being achieved.
Everything was plain sailing and crystal smooth after take off from Geneva, with stops in Abu Dhabi, Sri Lanka, Macau, Osaka, Russia, Anchorage and into Las Vegas. But a hint of air traffic delays and McCarran runway congestion should have been a red flag for the three-man crew of the 30-year-old Rockwell Sabreliner plane. Riccardo’s 28-year-old son was co-captain, and Flavien Guderzo, 26, was co-pilot.
What should have been a 12-minute refuel and oil change here turned into a 30-minute stop. Earlier in the secret submarine city of Petropavlovsk, Russian authorities wouldn’t allow the crew off the plane even for a bathroom break during refueling. In Anchorage, U.S. Customs confiscated all their food supplies onboard, including proscuitto and 4 pounds of caviar given to them by the Russians, but at least they replenished the plane with U.S. produce, and “Tina Turner” was waiting for them in Las Vegas!
Female impersonator Larry Edwards was on hand as our official representative. He also doubles as Beyonce in Frank Marino’s Divas Las Vegas at Imperial Palace and was on the runway for Mayor Oscar Goodman to present a key to the city for the 360 World Record crew sponsored by Swiss energy company Selectro.
Riccardo Mortara sets new speed record on round the world private jet trip