““[Bill Gates] has been historically one of my best supporters…One of my favorite e-mails he ever sent me…I proposed this crazy project. And he sent back this two-line response: ‘This has got to be the craziest thing you’ve ever suggested. Please proceed.’” ”
Around the World in 70 Days
In 1873, when Jules Verne wrote his famous novel about a race around the world, completing the journey in 80 days seemed impossible to many. Now, of course, you can make the trip a whole lot faster. Or, if you happen to be a pilot with your own airplane-or know someone who does and is willing-you can fly around the world at a leisurely pace, enjoy first-class accommodations and still get home 10 days quicker than Phileas Fogg. Florida-based Air Journey, in celebration of its 10th anniversary of organizing "fly-it-yourself" tours, plans to offer its first global excursion from May 18 to July 27, 2008.
Covering 24 countries, the journey will begin with a flight from the eastern U.S. to Europe by way of Greenland and Iceland. After stopping in Scotland, Paris and Gibraltar, the group will move on to Morocco, Malta, Libya, Egypt, Dubai and Turkey. It will then turn toward Asian destinations such as India, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. An extensive China stay will be followed by stops in Japan and Russia. Finally, the fliers will cross the Bering Strait; stop in Nome, Alaska; and visit Seattle and Jackson Hole, Wyo., before landing at Oshkosh, Wis., in time to attend AirVenture '08, a major annual event for recreational fliers.
Besides providing their own transportation, travelers will have to pay a $12,000 registration fee for each aircraft, plus $55,000 per passenger. Air Journey president Thierry Pouille-a third-generation pilot whose grandfather flew in France during World War I-said that covers luxury accommodations, fine dining and sightseeing excursions. With 12 aircraft, ranging from Socata TBM turboprops to Cessna Citation Mustang VLJs, already confirmed, Pouille said he's about to close the book on the 2008 World Tour, and begin accepting reservations for 2009. The organizers require participating aircraft to have a range of at least 1,000 nautical miles.