A Utah man broke two world records for fastest flight in the skies above Southern California over the weekend. Utah Valley pilot Mike Patey flew his kit-built plane in the 1,000- and 2,000-km courses and broke speed records in both.
Patey piloted his Lancair Legacy – a plane he built and modified himself, equipped with a 780-cubic-inch engine that propelled him to a top ground speed of 319 miles per hour.
The previous 1,000 km speed record was set in 1975. Patey shaved off about 36 miles per hour in his flight on Friday. He says he’s proud of that accomplishment, but even more excited about topping the 2,000 km record, which he beat by an amazing 100 km per hour.
“To beat any record at all is hard enough,” he said. “You only need to beat it by 1 percent to take the record. And to get it by 100 kilometers per hour is really exciting for me, so that’s the one I’m most proud of – to be able to hold a really high power for a long distance.”
Patey took off from the Mojave Air and Space Port and flew for several hours at a time when weather conditions almost prompted him to abort his attempt.
“Every now and then I got a bump that put my head against the ceiling,” he added. “I just found myself tightening the seat belt the entire flight more and more. It was an ongoing thought: do I keep going or am I going to slow down and attempt another day? Fortunately the conditions stayed good enough I was able to keep the power up. But that wind and turbulence was a heck of a ride for four hours straight."
Representatives from the National Aeronautic Association were at the event to officially record the results which are recognized around the globe. Patey was also presented with a top prize at the fly-in event. He took home the inventor/experimenter of the year award for his innovative design and engineering work on his plane. Patey says he hopes to attempt a third world record in a 500 km flight over Northern Utah sometime in the next few weeks.