|Sunday June 11,
A trip across the globe from World Cup land
By Ranjana Narayan, Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) At a time when World Cup fever is gripping
Germany, a German father-son duo have chosen a different kind of thrill
- to fly around the world in a single engine turboprop aircraft.
Muhlbacher and his son Matthias, who stopped by this week in the Indian
capital - the fourth stop in their trip to 27 cities across the world -
the World Cup being held in Germany is a major event, but their
adventure is 'more important'.
Muhlbachers have clocked 5,500 km since they left Bremen May 31 on
their six-seater Piper PA46 Malibu, touching Istanbul, Tehran and Dubai
before they reached New Delhi June 7.
catch up on major matches on television on our stops,' said Ulf, 57, a
real estate developer and a Rotarian. Ulf, for whom flying is a
passion, has already clocked 1,600 flying hours.
who call themselves 'Earthrounders', plan to cover 36,000 km during
their journey which will also see them going to Japan, Russia, the US
and Iceland before they reach Bremen on Aug 5.
shall be in Tokyo on July 9 - the day the soccer final is held in
Berlin - and watch the match on television,' said 20-year-old Matthias,
who, like most German youths, plays soccer with friends.
who is a trained pilot but has no license, provides crucial help to his
father during the flight by keeping contact with the ground
flight plan was charted out meticulously well in advance, avoiding
flights across large expanse of seas. Landing permissions from the
various countries they touched down on had to be obtained, as well as
permits to fly over some countries. Hotels had to be booked well in
advance. To fly to New Delhi from Dubai, they had to first get
permission from Pakistan to fly over, said Ulf.
propeller-driven aircraft, fitted with a capacity to carry an
additional 250 litres of petrol, can now hold 800 litres which takes
their flying range to 2,700 km at a stretch, said Ulf. The aircraft can
fly at an altitude of 8,500 metres, he said.
their India halt, the Muhlbachers visited the Taj Mahal at Agra.
'It is a
place you have to go to when in India, isn't it so?' said Ulf, adding
he found the Indian summer a 'little hot'.
jarring note in India, said Ulf, was the 'bureaucratic red tape'.
is a difficult place to land. There is a lot of bureaucracy and it is
very expensive. There are too many official papers to fill up, which we
don't even understand. We kept a handling agent who did all the
paperwork and running around and a supervisor to see that he was doing
the job properly. It proved too expensive,' he said. Japan was another
country as 'complicated', he said.
their stops, Ulf, the president of his Rotary club, will meet with the
Muhlbachers, who left for Nepal Saturday, plan to visit a leprosy
hospital funded by the Rotary club in Bremen.
to see how far the hospital has progressed,' said Ulf, who has funded
the entire trip, estimated to cost $50,000.
the mighty Himalayas to reach Kathmandu would not be a problem for his
aircraft, said Ulf.
he completes the trip, his name would be among the select list of
'Earthrounders' - a few adventurous people like him who cross the world
for the 'challenge of it' and to see the world in an 'unusual way'.