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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 December, 2003, 13:47 GMT
Pilots on a high after 'marathon'
Pilots
John Douglas, Hamish Mitchell and Alastair Mackinnon
Three pilots are celebrating after completing a record number of take-offs and landings to coincide with the 100th anniversary of flight.

The team set off at 0730 GMT from Prestwick Airport and recorded 100 take-offs and landings in continous circuit flying to Islay.

By 1530 GMT on Wednesday, the three Glasgow Flying Club members had completed the 100 circuits required.

They only stopped once at Campbeltown to refuel their Piper PA28 Warrior.

We were hoping to get stuck on Islay and stay at the Ardbeg Distillery
Hamish Mitchell
The flight coincided with the 100th anniversary of the first flight, which is being commerated across the world.

Pilots John Douglas, Hamish Mitchell, Alastair Mackinnon said they wanted to mark the event.

They also said the occasion was a chance to pay tribute to all those who fly and especially the "little guy" who takes to the skies through love of aviaton.

Hamish Mitchell said: "General aviation is the bedrock of commercial aviation."

The team added that they wanted to "raise awareness of aviation and its importance to remote communities".

Speaking during the marathon effort, Mr Mitchell joked: "Sadly it looks like we'll make it back to Prestwick. We were hoping to get stuck on Islay tonight and stay at the Ardbeg Distillery."

The trio landed safely after a "dream" day late on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr Mitchell added after landing: "Everything went like clockwork and even the weather gods behaved for once, we are all still high with excitement."

Islay and Campbeltown Airports, Glasgow Prestwick Airport, Glasgow Flying Club, Prestwick Flight Centre and the West of Scotland Popular Flying Association sponsored the event.

Air museum

The original Wright Flyer first flew on 17 December, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Orville and Wilbur Wrights' first flight went to 120ft in 12 seconds.

The brothers' original aircraft is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

However, a group of historians from New Zealand claim that farmer Richard Pearse, from Cornwall, made the first manned flight.

They said he made the successful attempt after emigrating to New Zealand.

Pearse spent years constructing a plane out of bamboo, wire and canvas in a workshop on his remote farm, but historians have been unable to substantiate the claim.


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