Circumnavigating the globe solo in a single-engine aircraft and attempting to smash the world records as you go, is a challenge that’s taken lives in the past. Now try doing all that in an aircraft you’ve built in a garden shed, weighing less than a family car. Club Chairman Mark ‘Manners’ Manwaring has set himself this exact challenge.
The scale of this undertaking presents many obstacles: engineering issues, extreme climates, mental challenges, sleep deprivation, flying alone over dangerous oceans and war-torn countries to name just a few.
It was during Mark’s 12-month operational deployment to Afghanistan in 2013 that he came up with the idea. Growing up in the East End of London, Mark had his first flying experience in the Air Cadets at just 14. Just a few years later he fulfilled his dream of joining the RAF and subsequently going on to fly in a number of theatres around the world in fast jets.
Driven by his aim to raise money for the RAF benevolent fund and championing science, technology, engineering and mathematics for the next generation, Mark will attempt to break 15 records in all. These will include the British and the world speed record for the circumnavigation of the earth, which he plans to do in 18-22 days, breaking the current record by over five days.
Mark is following in a long tradition of British adventurous aviators, like Captains John Alcock and Arthur Brown. Who, one hundred years earlier flew the first non-stop transatlantic crossing in an open cockpit modified Vickers Vimy Bomber.
Following on from the 100th anniversary celebrations of the formation of the RAF, the timing of Mark’s record attempt could not have been better. The date for the challenge, set for August 2019, will culminate with Mark being escorted on his final leg, across the capital by Spitfires, the RAF’s most iconic single-seat fighters.