The Flight That Flew From Pole to Pole

You might think that circling the globe by airplane is no big deal anymore, but you would be wrong. Surprisingly, circumnavigating the world via the North Pole to South Pole in an airliner is a feat that’s only been accomplished three times in the history of flight. Why? Because it’s a very……very……very…..long ride. Even with stops for fuel, flying across several oceans, as well as the Arctic and Antarctic, requires long-range aircraft that first became available in the mid-1960s. In addition, passengers aren’t exactly clamoring to endure being trapped on a 4-leg journey that takes over two days. The first such flight took place in 1977, when Pan Am Flight 50 made a one-time-only trip that started in San Francisco, flew over the North Pole, and stopped in London. It refueled and headed to South Africa, and then flew over the South Pole, landed in New Zealand and went back to San Francisco. It was the first flight that was affordable to people who were not super-rich. Passengers were limited to a single carry-on bag to ensure that the plane met rigorous weight restrictions. The trip was made in 54 hours, 7 minutes and 12 seconds at an average speed of 487 mph.