Bill Harrelson

During Oshkosh 2019, Bill expressed his desire to challenge Max Conrad’s “Unbeatable Record” set more than 58 years ago.

Bill learned to fly at age 15, mowing lawns to pay for his flights. Eventually, he worked his way up to Airline Captain with a Major US Carrier. His love of aviation fills his spare time, whether it's building and flying planes or volunteering with the EAA and Young Eagles,

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In Bill's words

On March 8, 1961, Max Conrad landed his PA23 Piper Aztec in Miami, Florida. That landing completed his around the world flight which resulted in a Class C1d record for Speed Around the World Westbound that still stands today. Max's record has stood unbroken for 58 years. It is often referred to as the 'unbeatable record'. Max flew 14 legs and had an almost super-human ability to carry on for many days without sleep.

After a great deal of research and planning, I believe that I have a chance to beat Max's record. Our airplane, N6ZQ, is a Lancair IV that has proven itself on many ultra long distance flights. It has flown to Hawaii (4 times), New Zealand (2 times), Australia, Guam, Rarotonga, Samoa and has made many other long oceanic flights. In this airplane I hold the official FAI World record in Class C1-d for Speed Around the World over Both the Earth's Poles, as well as the C1-d World record for Distance: 7,051 nm, Guam to Jacksonville, Florida non-stop, 38 hours 39 minutes.

Our strategy for the westbound record is to fly only extremely long legs, This routing keeps me over open ocean for the vast majority of the flying and involves landing at only two foreign countries, both general aviation friendly.  This minimizes many of the problems involved with overflight of and landing at foreign countries and the potential routing and scheduling difficulties that can result.

Bill Harrelson