A new record flight time was registered yesterday. Hi Fly Commander Carlos Mirpuri flew between the Portuguese destinations of Madeira and Lisbon with a wheels up time of 70 minutes. The pilot’s feat was observed by two members of the FAI on board the A330-900neo to confirm the record.
Navigating the challenges
Hi Fly continues to find itself in unique situations within the aviation scene. Just last month, one of its A340s landed in Antarctica following a journey that was also piloted by Commander Carlos Mirpuri.
This week’s record was completed during Hi Fly Flight 5K242P (HFY242P) and a distance of 565 NM (1,046 km) was covered. Mirpuri was supported by Captain Ruben Morais as the pair overcame significant hurdles on the route.
“Achieving a record flight time on this route requires a set of conditions that rarely come together. This means strong southwesterly tailwinds enroute and northeasterly winds in Lisbon. It is also convenient to depart from runway 05 in Madeira, not normally feasible with southwesterly winds, and land on runway 03 in Lisbon,” Commander Mirpuri shared in a company statement.
“Today we had a reasonable tailwind enroute, far from ideal, and were forced to use runway 23 in Madeira, and runway 21 in Lisbon, which means the worst combination possible. But against all odds and with good support from Air Traffic Control, we still managed to cover the 565 nautical miles of this route in a record time of 70 minutes, which becomes now an official figure in the presence of FAI judges. The choice of a cruise flight level offering the highest TAS (true airspeed), and proper point of descent initiation and deceleration played an important factor. Also, a positive ISA deviation helped us achieve a True Airspeed of 500 Kts. For much of the cruise we had tailwinds averaging 35 Kts.”
Previously, Mirpuri achieved 54 minutes on the same route with an A320. Moreover, he recorded 59 minutes with an A330. However, these times were not observed by FAI as the actions weren’t planned. Instead, the pilot made the most of the environmental conditions of the day.
The FAI, otherwise known as the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, was founded in 1905. It is a non-governmental and non-profit international group that has the goal of furthering aeronautical and astronautical activities, ratifying world and continental records, and coordinating the setting up of international competitions.
Nonetheless, to record 70 minutes of wheels up time with this runway combination is an excellent feat. Usually, the distance between the two destinations is covered by airliners in a flight time between 75 and 80 minutes for a 05/03 runway configuration, and between 85 and 90 minutes for a 23/21 runway configuration.
It’s also notable that Mirpuri also holds the record of carrying the maximum number of passengers out of Funchal to the capital of Portugal. He transported 410 people on an A330-300.
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2021 has seen other notable records be beaten. For instance, in November, Rolls-Royce shared that its all-electric aircraft set three new world records. One of the achievements was that the company’s Spirit of Innovation vehicle reached a top speed of 555.9 km/h (345.4 mph) over 3 km, surpassing the existing record by 213.04 km/h (132 mph) to affirm itself as the fastest all-electric plane in the world.
With modern aircraft at the disposable of the plethora of excellently trained pilots around the world, we could see additional records being smashed in the new year. The 2020s are undoubtedly offering plenty of opportunities for aeronautical feats.
What are your thoughts about this week’s record? Which other flight records have you been impressed with recently? Let us know what you think of these achievements in the comment section.