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Slovenia sponsors around the world flight in an ultra-light aircraft

From Slovenia, a Central European country at the juncture of the Alps and the Mediterranean, on January 3, 2012, the Virus SW ultra-light plane will set out on a two-month journey around the world.

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From Slovenia, a Central European country at the juncture of the Alps and the Mediterranean, on January 3, 2012, the Virus SW ultra-light plane will set out on a two-month journey around the world. Weighing merely 290 kilos, this plane, which uses a minimum amount of fuel, was constructed by the Slovenian manufacturer, Pipistrel, a recurrent winner of the NASA award for top energy-efficient planes.

This grand and environmentally-friendly project is also supported by the Slovenian Tourist Board, which invites you to accompany Slovenian pilot Matevž Lenarčič on his journey around the world. The pilot will regularly post his impressions about the journey at .

NEW STORY: On the way around the world
In the early days of 2012, Matevž Lenarcic, a biologist, environmentalist, and photographer-pilot will again set course in his small aircraft for a lonely flight around the world, this time in a westerly direction. The tiny ultra light Virus-SW914, made by the worldwide renowned company, Pipistrel, weighs only 290 kg (640 lbs.) and is the fastest aircraft in the world in its category, using less fuel per distance flown. Its abilities have been proven in two NASA-sponsored competitions in the USA, where for 2 consecutive years the aircraft received prestigious awards for its exceptional flight characteristics. The aircraft is produced under the Pipistrel brand Ecolution, meaning 100 percent autonomous energy production with optimized, computer-controlled acquisition of green energy (solar, air, and geothermal).

NEW MISSION: Look at the images – feel the planet
Flying around the world in a small airplane has a profound meaning. Low and slow over the surface, with a notion of the planet revolving beneath the wings, but fast enough to discover its secrets. These secrets will be stored in digital memory cards and then communicated to the people of our planet, so they will also get a feel for their world. Only people with a sense of the world are able to protect it. More than 70 percent of Earth’s surface is covered with water. Due to different physical states, different quality and distribution, almost a third of the human population has limited or even blocked access to safe drinking sources. We can all change that. Images will show places with plenty of clean drinking water and places without a single drop. We are going to show very different faces of water and warn the world that lack of water brings even more tension to the society than oil trade.

NEW CHALLENGE: In the eco-friendly light aircraft
GreenLight WorldFlight faces Pipistrel and the pilot with a number of challenges. The aircraft must safely operate when flying at very high or low polar temperatures and extreme altitudes. In addition, the fuel consumption must remain at very low levels, as some stages are over 4000 km long, and the amount of fuel on board of such a small aircraft is very limited. Only by an ideal combination of weight, drag, and lift, the required results can be achieved. The aim is to fly over 80,000 km (twice the length of Earth’s circumference) around the world in with a minimal use of 95 octane unleaded fuel. Besides high speeds close to 300 km/h (160 kts), the aircraft must remain stable at very low speeds below 80 km/h (43 kts). So far, this is the only aircraft with such capabilities, so Pipistrel sets new standards in environmentally-friendly and utility flying.

We will demonstrate that a lightweight aircraft can provide valuable information on the black carbon – BC – and light absorbing carbonaceous aerosols – LACA – concentrations, their regional heterogeneity, and vertical profiles, with a minor payload and for a fraction of the cost associated with large airborne platforms. We will modify the aircraft to include an aerosol inlet and use an Aethalometer to measure aerosol optical properties at different wavelengths. The wavelength dependence of absorption will enable us to attempt to apportion the BC concentrations to two major sources: biomass and fossil fuel combustion. Measurements will be performed throughout the flight and will include regions, where no or very little measurements have taken place, such as Antarctica, Africa, and over the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

– Fly the lightest 3-axis aircraft (290 kg/640 lb.) around the World
– Burn the smallest amount of fuel per distance flown
– Fly world speed records
– Make the nicest book about World Waters

ROUTE: Over more than 50 countries
Italy, France, Spain, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Brazil, French Guiana, Surinam, Guiana, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Caribbean, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Mexico, Guatemala, Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Antarctic, French Polynesia, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Seychelles, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Congo, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, Libya, Tunisia

Matevž Lenarcic (1959, Slovenia) has graduated in biology. An alpinist, paraglider, environmentalist, photographer, and a pilot, he has climbed all over the world and, among others, reached the top of 8,051m Broad Peak in the Himalayas and climbed extreme routes in Patagonia. He is the author of 11 books (nature, photography, climbing and flying), some of them awarded and translated in several languages. He is also founder and director of Aerovizija d.o.o., company for aerial photography. Matevž Lenarcic is experienced long distance flier. Besides “normal” flying in Europe, mostly for aerial business purposes (vertical and oblique photography), he has also some extreme flights under his belt:

– Worldtrannsiberia 2002: 28,000 km over 8 countries including Russia
– Around The Only World 2004: 38,000 km crossing 23 countries
– Africa – Valley of Life 2005: 17,000 km over 13 countries
– The Alps – A Bird’s Eye View 2006 – 2009: 60,000 km all over the Alps

He has flown for more than 3,000 hours all over the world, mostly with his ultra-light motor glider and other single engine aircrafts. He holds a PPL – private pilot license – with IFR – instrumental flight rules – rating, night qualification, and an ULPL – ultralight pilot license.

He holds the following records: Official national speed record Around the World Eastbound – C1a, An official world speed record Around the World Eastbound – C1a, 2nd place national competition RAL2 2005, and has won aviation awards and prizes from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) in; Bronze colibry, Silver colibry, Diamond colibry, and Circumnavigator East Diamond.

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