Speed record attempt to raise money for Classic Learjet Foundation

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – An attempt at a land speed record is raising money for a group working to restore one of the very first Learjet business jets built in Wichita.

A jet owned by air ambulance operator Global Jet Care will take off from Wichita on Thursday, heading west around the globe. Their goal is to return to Wichita in record time while raising money for the Classic Learjet Foundation.

The foundation is working to restore the Learjet 23-003, the first-ever business jet produced by Learjet in Wichita. It was in production for just two years, from 1964 to 1966.

“About a year ago, I read a book about the first guys that did the first aerial navigation with the Army Air Corp in 1924 and kind of got the idea from there to try to commemorate that,” said Bart Gray with the foundation’s board.

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Gray is also serving as captain of the flight.

“They left April 6, 1924, to leave to go around the world. That also is my birthday, so I hatched a plan to commemorate that by going around the world and arriving back here in Wichita on April 6,” said Gray.

The flight has multiple sponsors supporting each leg of the journey. They will have a total of 11 stops: California, Hawaii, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Singapore, India, Dubai, Egypt, Italy, Portugal and Canada before arriving back in Wichita.

Total flight time is expected to be 54 hours and 30 minutes. The original 1924 flight took 175 days with 75 stops.

You can track the flight across the globe by clicking here. For more about the flight, visit the Century Mission website.

To find out more about the restoration effort and how you can help, click here.

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