March 6, 2018
Author, pilot and spiritual psychologist Robert DeLaurentis has taken on many projects promoting aviation, including a 2015 world circumnavigation, but his planned December 2018 flight over both the North and South Poles is by far his most ambitious.
Throughout his rigorous 26,000-mile journey in his Turbine Commander 900 aircraft “Citizen of the World” he will deliver a message of the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education around the world, with lectures and other events planned at stops in 20 countries. The value of STEM careers available in business aviation has long been a core message of the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, jointly sponsored by NBAA and GAMA.
“When you consider STEM education, it’s an important part of any aircraft flying, as technology, engineering, math and science are all involved in the design,” DeLaurentis said. “The aviation industry needs to stay competitive by reminding young people that these things are cool, and there are jobs available in aviation, even if you do not want to become a pilot.”
Delaurentis’s aircraft has been highly modified to complete the planned flight, with six long-range fuel tanks increasing range to 5,000 nautical miles. It is being equipped with new Garmin glass panel GPS units, but will also carry an “old school” high frequency radio for longer-range communications. New custom five-bladed MT propellers and RVSM equipment will allow it to operate up to FL350, to decrease fuel burn.
“I personally did not start flying until I was 46 years old, because I didn’t have either the time or the money,” DeLaurentis said. “With the Pole flight, we are trying to raise money so young people can learn to fly earlier in their lives. Giving someone the gift of flight is one of the best gifts we can give.”
The “Pole-to-Pole” flight is an ambitious journey, but one that DeLaurentis is excited to start.
“By overcoming the challenges we will inevitably meet, we will show the world that impossibly big dreams can be achieved, and that as one planet, we are all connected. We are supporting great causes – STEM education, aviation safety, technology and innovation – and the flight is intended to educate, encourage and inspire,” he said.