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Brian Lloyd on Earhart 80th Anniversary Flight


Brian Lloyd Solo Flight Followed Historic Amelia Earhart Route
In June-July 2017, pilot Brian Lloyd propelled his single-engine plane named “Spirit” into the sky on a solo round-the-world adventure. He commemorated Amelia Earhart’s famous flight eighty years ago on the same date in 1937. The two month flight followed Earhart’s historic equatorial route to circumnavigate the world at the equator, which started in Oakland, then Miami, skirting South America, crosses… read more

“Hopefully I can motivate kids to go out and try new things. Here I am at sixty-three, in a single engine aircraft, flying around the world. You can go out and do something amazing, too.” -Brian Lloyd, 4 August 2017, Texas, USA.

Brian Llloyd prepares for takeoff in his airplane Spirit on 02JUN2017 at Canefield airport in Dominica

Brian Llloyd prepares for takeoff in his airplane, Spirit, in early June 2017

Brian Lloyd with Spirit on the apron at Oakland California airport 31JULY2017 photo ©2017 Bonnie Crystal

Brian Lloyd with Spirit on the apron of Oakland airport in California, USA, on 31 July 2017 after completing the Historic Earhart Equatorial Route – photo ©2017 Bonnie Crystal

Historic Flight Background

Eighty years ago Amelia Earhart undertook an ambitious and historic flight around the world at the equator, something not previously attempted. That flight stretched the technical limits of aviation and navigation technology of the time. Project Amelia Earhart recreated and commemorated that flight on its 80th anniversary with Brian Lloyd flying his airplane, Spirit on the same route. We chronicled this historic flight and published live information during the flight.

Amelia Earhart fueling her Lockheed Electra in June 1937 at the Caripito Venezuela airport

Amelia Earhart fueling her Lockheed Electra in June 1937 at the Caripito Venezuela airport

Brian Lloyd with Spirit in Brazil during early June 2017. ©2017 TMA Fortaleza Planespotting Team CC-BY 2.0

Brian Lloyd with Spirit in Brazil during early June 2017. ©2017 TMA Fortaleza Planespotting Team CC-BY 2.0

Round The World Flight Itinerary : June-July-August 2017

Location : Date : Days : Airport ID
 Kestrel Airpark, TX, USA : 31-May : origin : 1T7
 San Marcos, TX, USA : 31-May : 0 : KHYI
 Ft. Lauderdale Executive, FL, USA : 31-May : 1 : KFXE
 St Thomas, VI, USA : 1-Jun : 0 : TIST
 Canefield Airport, Dominica : 1-Jun : 1 : TDCF
 Port of Spain, Trinidad : 2-Jun : 1 : TTPP
 Paramaribo, Suriname : 3-Jun : 1 : SMJP
 Fortaleza, Brazil : 4-Jun : 3 : SBFZ
 Natal, Brazil : 7-Jun : 1 : SBNT
 Dakar, Senegal : 9-Jun : 2 : GOOY
 N'Djamena, Chad : 11-Jun : 1 : FTTJ
 Khartoum, Sudan : 12-Jun : 1 : HSSS
 Muscat, Oman : 13-Jun : 1 : OOMS
 Karachi, Pakistan : 14-Jun : 2 : OPKC
 Kolkata, India : 16-Jun : 1 : VECC
 Chittagong, Bangladesh : 17-Jun : 1 : VGEG
 Rangoon, Myanmar : 18-Jun : 1: VYYY
 Bangkok, Thailand : 19-Jun : 2 : VTBD
 Singapore, Singapore : 21-Jun :7 : WSSL
 Bandung, Java, Indonesia : 29-Jun : 1 : WICC
 Darwin, Australia : 30-Jun : 2 : YPDN
 Ayers Rock, Australia : 2-Jul : 1 : YAYE
 Birdsville, Australia : 3-July : 0 : YBDV
 Bundaberg, Australia : 3-Jul : 1 : YBUD
 Warnervale, Australia : 4-Jul : 2 : YWVA
 Sydney, Australia : 6-Jul : 0 : YSBK
 Hamilton, NZ : 6-Jul : 17 : NZHN
 Pago Pago, American Samoa : 23-July : 1 : NSTU
 Howland Island overflight : 24-Jul : 0
 Honolulu, HI, USA : 24-Jul : 1 : PHNL
 Lihue, HI, USA : 25-Jul : 2 : PHLI
 Waimea, Big Island, HI, USA : 27-Jul : 1 : PHMU
 Kona, Big Island, HI, USA : 29-Jul : PHKO
 Oakland, CA, USA : ETA 11pm 30-Jul : 1 : KOAK
 Cameron Park, CA, USA : 31-Jul : 2 : O61
 Prescott, AZ, USA : 2-Aug : 0 : KPRC
 Grand Canyon NP, AZ, USA : 2-Aug : KGCN
 Dalhart, TX, USA : 3-Aug : KDHT
 Atchison, KS, USA : 3-Aug : KK59
 San Marcos, TX, USA : 4-Aug : KHYI
 Kestrel Airpark, TX, USA : 4-Aug : 1T7 : final destination
Brian Lloyd prepares for flight of airplane Spirit 21 MAY 2017 in Spring Branch Texas USA - Photo Credit: Josh Flowers CC-BY 2.0

Brian Lloyd prepares for the test flight of the airplane Spirit, on 21 MAY 2017 in Texas USA. Click for higher resolution.

Brian Lloyd Flew Round the World Tracing the Earhart Route

Spring Branch Texas, USA. August 4, 2017 – Brian Lloyd, solo-flying his single-engine aircraft Spirit, landed at Kestrel Air Park today, completing his circumnavigation of the globe. He was accompanied over the last few miles by an escort of pilots in eight planes flying in formation with him. On the ground, a reception and hangar party welcomed him home.

At the celebration, Brian Lloyd said, “How do I say, ‘thank you’ to everyone here and abroad who has helped me along the way on this epic journey? I couldn’t have done this solo flight without the time, effort, and good will of hundreds of people out there around the world.”

He began the round-the-world flight at that same spot on 31 May 2017, then flew to Miami on 1 June to commemorate exactly eighty years since the famous Amelia Earhart flight began. For two months, he followed the historic Earhart equatorial route, stopping at dozens of airports that were once grass and dirt airstrips where Earhart had landed. Some of those airstrips have grown up to become sprawling international airports, while others simply don’t exist anymore, or are in the midst of conflict zones.

Brian Lloyd completed the historic route on 30 July, by landing at Oakland, California, which was Earhart’s unfulfilled final destination. He retraced the steps of Amelia by visiting the historic building at Oakland airport where she had stayed during her original flights.

Brian Lloyd said, “I am driven by the spirit of historic flights. It is important to remember the aviation pioneers like Amelia Earhart, and their contributions to aviation. Their bold actions made today’s air travel possible for all of us.”

Lloyd’s route included an homage overflight of Howland Island, that tiny atoll in Pacific Ocean where the famous flight was mysteriously lost in 1937. He dropped two large pink tropical flowers over the site in memoriam for Earhart and Noonan.

When he reached Hawaii, Brian Lloyd said, “My respect for Amelia Earhart has risen a thousand times now that I have flown 28,000 miles in her shoes. Speeds are comparable, and I have had to deal with the same sort of weather that she did.”

Brian Lloyd is the first solo aviator to complete the historic Earhart equatorial route. Spirit has endured fierce winds, blasting sandstorms, and severe tropical weather along the equator. It has not been an easy flight, due to the long flight hours and complex logistics. On July 14th, Spirit’s engine failed momentarily at 21,000 feet over the Pacific ocean, forcing Brian Lloyd to land in New Zealand for repairs.

Everywhere he went, he invited ground crew and friends to sign the airplane with a marker pen. It became a mission of outreach and goodwill. The plane’s fuselage and wings are now covered in signatures that bear witness to the huge network of support that it takes to fly around the world. At the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison Kansas, Lloyd was awarded the medal from the Ninety-Nines, the famous international organization of women pilots founded in 1929, of which Amelia Earhart was its first president.

Several world records were set by Brian Lloyd and Spirit on this flight: First solo flight of the Historic Earhart Equatorial Route and first male pilot to fly the Historic Earhart Equatorial Route in a propeller aircraft.

Upon landing in Texas, Brian Lloyd commented, “Hopefully I can motivate kids to go out and try new things. Here I am at sixty-three, in a single engine aircraft, flying around the world. You can go out and do something amazing, too.”

Brian Lloyd’s aircraft, a Mooney M20K 231 with tail number N916BL, is outfitted with 200 gallons of fuel capacity and modern satellite avionics gear, giving it a 3000 mile range. But, like the Earhart’s famous Lockheed Electra plane, there is a High Frequency (HF) radio in Spirit. Brian Lloyd used the HF radio to communicate with hundreds of ham radio operators all over the world while he was in flight, using the callsign “WB6RQN Aeronautical Mobile”.

About: Brian Lloyd, 63, is a pilot, flight instructor, engineer, educator, and radio operator. He lives near San Antonio, Texas, USA. The commemorative flights like Project Amelia Earhart, are co-sponsored by The Classic Aircraft Aviation Museum, a non-profit in Texas, and many other individuals who contribute to support the flights through donations.

Amelia Earhart’s Historic Route

See https://www.goo.gl/6qYxqF for a description of the numbers (1 through 31) on Amelia’s route – that are shown on the map. Hovering over the numbers on the tripline.net website, yields pop-up annotations that describe each location. (Scrolling down the page will reveal the full descriptions for those that are too long to fit in the pop-up boxes, as well as for smartphone and tablet users who cannot “hover”.)

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