Qatar Airways’ Private Jet Breaks Polar Around The World Record

One More Orbit reports success in its joint bid with Qatar Executive to break the polar circumnavigation speed record.

One More Orbit Gulfstream G650ER on apron
Polar circumnavigation speed record broken using Qatar Executive Gulfstream. Photo: Chris Garrison

The One More Orbit team used a Qatar Executive Gulfstream G650ER to smash the world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the world. The venture was arranged to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The event was livestreamed to aviation fans around the world.

QE’s Jacob Obe Bech, Jeremy Ascough and Yevgen Vasylenko, and Action Aviation boss Hamish Harding piloted the Gulfstream. They made the polar point-to-point journey in 46 hours and 40 minutes. Also on board were NASA astronaut Terry Virts, QE engineer Benjamin Reuger and flight attendant Magdalena Starowicz.

Homage to Apollo 11

The crew departed Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday, July 9th at 09:32 am local time, 50 years to the minute since Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin lifted off in Saturn V. The OMO team landed back at KSC yesterday (11/07/19) at 12:12:23 UTC.

Flight director and one of the four pilots on board, Mr. Harding, said in an OMO announcement,

Our mission, titled One More Orbit, pays homage to the Apollo 11 moon landing achievement, by highlighting how humans push the boundaries of aeronautics. We did this during the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Apollo 11 moon landing and the 500th anniversary of man first circling the planet.

“It is our way of paying tribute to the past, the present, and the future of space exploration.”

One More Orbit Gulfstream taxiing
One More Orbit lands at Kennedy Space Center after 22,422 miles round trip. Photo: Chris Garrison

The Route

One More Orbit is the coming together of entrepreneurs and adventurers. All involved had the sole purpose to break the world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the earth via both poles. The team chose the Qatar Executive Gulfstream G650ER ultra long-range business jet for their purpose.

The previous record of the highest average speed of the journey was set in 2008 by Swiss Captain Aziz Ojjeh. For his attempt he flew a Bombardier Global XRS. The Guinness World Record for the shortest journey time was set by Capt. Walter Mullikin in a Pan Am B747SP from 1977.

Hamish Harding and his team have broken both records simultaneously.

Present at the landing was Mike Marcotte, the official adjudicator for Guinness World Records.

A spokesperson for One More Orbit told us that in addition, the team intends to claim the following world records for Speed Over a Recognized Course:

  • KTTS (airport code for NASA Shuttle Landing Facility) to North Pole
  • KTTS to UACC
  • North Pole to UACC
  • North Pole to FIMP
  • North Pole to South Pole
  • UACC to FIMP
  • UACC to South Pole
  • FIMP to South Pole
  • FIMP to SCCI
  • South Pole to SCCI
  • South Pole to KTTS
  • SCCI to KTTS

For mission details and statistics please visit One More Orbit’s website.

One More Orbit Gulfstream taxiing
One More Orbit team makes history, says Qatar Airways boss. Photo: Chris Garrison

Qatar Executive

The largest operator of the G650ER is Qatar Executive, a subsidiary of Qatar Airways. According to The Peninsula, QE operates a fleet of 18 aircraft including “six Gulfstream G650ERs, four Gulfstream G500s, three Bombardier Challenger 605s, four Global 5000s and one Global XRS.”

The fastest of the fleet (and the fastest long-haul business jet in the world) is the G650ER. The type can travel 7,500 nautical miles at speeds of over 0.90 Mach. The jet is powered by two Rolls-Royce BR725 engines which deliver 16,900 lbs of thrust. It is capable of an operating ceiling of 51,000 feet.

The landing

Landing at Kennedy Space Center on July 11th, the One More Orbit team successfully completed 22,422 miles travel, crossing the equator twice. The route was divided into four sectors with three refuel locations in Kazakhstan, Mauritius and Chile.

Qatar Airways boss Akbar Al Baker said of the mission,

Qatar Executive, together with the One More Orbit team, has made history. A mission like this takes a huge amount of planning as we need to factor in the flight paths, fuel stops, potential weather conditions and make plans for all possibilities.

Many people behind the scenes worked tirelessly to ensure this mission was a success and I am very proud that we broke the world record a first for Qatar Executive which will be certified by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) and Guinness World Records.”