Zoltán and Ágnes Keszy-Harmath – husband and wife – set out for an aerial adventure on the 1st of May: they are planning to fly around the globe with an Apollo Fox in four months, according to szeretlekmagyarorszag.hu.
This is not the first time Hungarian pilots have set out on such extraordinary trips: Árpád Lampich has broken records in the twenties with his 18 horsepower plane, and there is also Antal Bánhidi, who flew across the Mediterranean Sea in the thirties. However, the Hungarian couple planned on a much longer course than the previous two, though with 100 horsepower at their service.
Zoltán Keszy-Harmath and his wife, Ágnes, departed on Monday, heading eastward. They chose the ultralight Apollo Fox mainly because it is manufactured in the Halley Kft. In Eger. Even though this model is greatly popular during the aerial days in Hungary, no one has ever dared to fly around the world in it.
The couple made the announcement on the very last day of 2015, later on, they tested the plane and tried out the longer flights at higher altitudes, in the Alps. The final test was carried out barely a week before departure: the plane successfully flew over the longest distance that it is expected to make without a pause.
Getting permission to fly over Russian territories proved to be the most exciting yet complicated part of the journey: szeretlekmagyarorszag.hu reports that the couple has give or take 48 hours to finish particular courses, the Russian authorities were strict about the altitudes and distances they could take and that their visa is a very short term, it does not allow too much time for emergencies. Keszy-Harmath argues that it would be important if the Hungarian government could help them out if they would meet any administrational obstacles.
The trial flight was necessary because the Russian authorities gave permission to fly over the country if they are able to make a 1500 kilometre distance on two instances.
Zoltán flew towards north-west, and somewhere around Prague, he encountered some problems with the radio frequencies, but with the help of his wife on the phone, they solved the issues. Afterwards, he continued his journey all the way to Leipzig, meeting an especially strong upwind, then he returned to Hungary. The pilot reports that the engine worked well, but the heating needs perfecting. He argues that staying in minus 15 Celsius degrees is very trying on the human physique, but if they will be able to negotiate over the altitudes with Russia, then minus 5 degrees will be tolerable.
The stretches that they have to take over the open sea are actually shorter than those in Russia – even if they seem to be more terrifying. Luckily, the Canadian and American authorities were cooperative, they only asked for entrance- and exit points. The couple got their rescue equipment from London, and they have the Rotax’s support as well. They are setting off on Monday from Farkashegy, from where other Hungarian planes will depart with them, accompanying them to Poprad, Slovakia.
Next is Belarus, then Russia, where they will stop in Brest, Tambov, Ufa, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk. From here they continue to Alaska, then British Columbia. The US plan is as follows: Washington state, Oregon, California, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, New York. After this, they head northbound again: back to Canada, from Newfoundland to Greenland, through there to Iceland, Faroe Islands, then comes the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Austria, finally arriving back home, to Hungary, sometime in September.
The journey of the HA-ELB can be tracked on a map by Flightradar24, and if the couple has the means to do so, they will post about their adventures online. The husband plans to write a book about the journey.