“Hopefully I can motivate kids to go out and try new things. Here I am at sixty-three, in a single engine aircraft, flying around the world. You can go out and do something amazing, too.”
Brian Lloyd is the first solo aviator to complete the historic Earhart equatorial route. Spirit has endured fierce winds, blasting sandstorms, and severe tropical weather along the equator. It has not been an easy flight, due to the long flight hours and complex logistics. On July 14th, Spirit’s engine failed momentarily at 21,000 feet over the Pacific ocean, forcing Brian Lloyd to land in New Zealand for repairs.
Everywhere he went, he invited ground crew and friends to sign the airplane with a marker pen. It became a mission of outreach and goodwill. The plane’s fuselage and wings are now covered in signatures that bear witness to the huge network of support that it takes to fly around the world. At the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison Kansas, Lloyd was awarded the medal from the Ninety-Nines, the famous international organization of women pilots founded in 1929, of which Amelia Earhart was its first president.
Several world records were set by Brian Lloyd and Spirit on this flight: First solo flight of the Historic Earhart Equatorial Route and first male pilot to fly the Historic Earhart Equatorial Route in a propeller aircraft.
Tonight on this special 50th episode of the Chasing Earhart podcast, Brian joins us via Zoom to break down and discuss his historic world flight, Project Amelia and why Amelia Earhart continues to have a lasting impact on aviation, and aviators all over the world.