BGSU alumni attempting to set world record for fastest journey across U.S. by plane

Barry Behnfeldt and his co-pilot Aaron Wilson will attempt to set the world record for the...
Barry Behnfeldt and his co-pilot Aaron Wilson will attempt to set the world record for the fastest journey by plane through all 48 contiguous United States.(Bowling Green State University)
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 1:41 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Two Bowling Green State University alumni are attempting to set a new world record this summer.

Barry Behnfeldt, Class of 1983, and his co-pilot Aaron Wilson, Class of 2004, will attempt to set the world record for the fastest journey by plane through all 48 contiguous United States.

BGSU says Behnfeldt and Wilson, who have more than 70 years of combined military and commercial flying experience, hope to accomplish the feat in fewer than 48 hours and are calling their journey 48N48. They hope their world-record attempt will help inspire the next generation of pilots as the U.S. continues to grappel with shortages in the aviation industry.

“Maybe someone out there will see what we’re doing and it’ll spark their interest in becoming a pilot,” said Behnfeldt, a captain with Delta Air Lines and retired U.S. Navy captain. “Even better, maybe it’ll encourage them to consider the aviation program at BGSU.”

According to BGSU, Behnfeldt and Wilson estimate their 5,008-mile journey will take roughly 39 hours and 57 minutes to complete, barring any unforseen mechanical issues or inclement weather conditions.

The calculation accounts for 10-minute stops at each airport, where they must get signatures to certify their presence as required by Guinness World Records, and five fuel stops they expect to take about 20 minutes each.

“I had never thought about setting a world record until a conversation with another pilot piqued my interest,” Behnfeldt said. “I immediately got on my flight planning application and started planning this thing out and connecting the dots across the country. Within a day, I knew it was possible.”

BSGU says Behnfeldt reached out to Wilson, a fellow veteran and Delta Air Lines pilot to see if he was interested in joining him on the record-setting journey.

“He had all the logistics and everything figured out,” Wilson said. “Flying across the country in a small airplane is something I’ve always wanted to do, so I was immediately sold on the idea. I didn’t have any hesitation about saying yes.”

Behnfeldt and Wilson will depart on their journey at 11:20 p.m. on June 4 from Andrews University Airpark in Berrien Springs, Michigan, in Behnfeldt’s 1980 Piper Saratoga six-seat airplane.

The entire flight will be viewable through FlightAware, the world’s largest flight-tracking platform.

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