Beijing: A 57-year-old Chinese man completed his second around-the-world flight and has landed in Chicago after flying 68 days and making 50 stops, the media reported on Monday.
Before landing on Sunday morning, Bo Zhang circled around a small airport, an hour’s drive southwest of Chicago, four times at low altitude to express his excitement, reports the Global Times.
On April 2, Zhang kicked off the flight in the same airport in Chicago. In 68 days, he flied through 21 countries in three continents and over three oceans, with total mileage reaching 41,000 km.
As the airplane he flied is piston propelled and has no pressure cabin with limited endurance and flying altitude, “the challenges I encountered this time are much more than when I did the first around-the-world flight”, Zhang told Xinhua news agency. “I have experienced all hardships, expected and unexpected.”
The most difficult part of the flight was over the Arctic area, he said. “After taking off from Chicago, I directly flied northward into the Arctic Circle. Weather there was still cold in early April, when the ground temperature was 20 degrees Celsius below zero… I was flying at an altitude of 15,000 feet, and temperature there was minus 50 Celsius.”
When flying across the northern Atlantic Ocean from the Greenland to Iceland, Zhang encountered strong headwind, and the flight speed dropped to 110 to 120 km per hour.
High oil pressure was another difficulty Zhang experienced. After taking off from the Urumqi Airport in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, he found the oil pressure of the left engine was in the red area, and immediately turned off the engine according to flight manual.
During the whole trip, Zhang was battling with other problems such as fuel supply, mechanical failure, and emergency maintenance and repair almost every day.
Zhang has already started to plan for his third around-the-world flight.
He made history in 2016 when he performed his first flight around the world in a propeller-driven aircraft.
On August 7, 2016, Zhang took off from Beijing in a TBM700 single-engine turboprop aircraft, flew past 23 countries, measured 40,818 km and landed safely in Beijing on September 24, 2016, after 44 landing points in 49 days.