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First Chinese man to fly around the world passes through Harbin
2019- 06- 05

A 57-year-old Chinese man flying a Diamond DA42 aircraft left for Siberia from the Harbin Taiping International Airport in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province on June 1.

Zhang Bo, a pilot and entrepreneur in the US, is now on his second round the world trip, and Harbin is the last stop in the China leg of his journey.

On April 2 of this year, Zhang departed for Canada, flew through the Arctic Circle, and crossed the Davis Strait into Greenland before arriving in Iceland. He then flew through Europe, Turkey, Kazakhstan, and Russia before entering China.

Next, Zhang will fly to Russia and the Bering Strait before returning to Chicago, where his journey began.

The round the world flight will take Zhang through 23 countries and regions and is expected to take two months.

"Taking a round the world flight has been my life’s dream. It's time to do something meaningful," Zhang said.

A round the world trip is a huge challenge. More than 5,000 people have climbed to the top of Mount Everest and more than 500 people have been to space, but only around 300 people have flown around the world in the last 100 years.

In 2014, 53-year-old Zhang had reached retirement age. It was at this time that he enrolled in a 58-day course for a pilot’s license at the University of Illinois’ School of Aeronautics. He was later nicknamed Dr. Wind.

In 2016, Zhang finished his first round the world trip, leaving Beijing on August 7 in a TBM700 single-engine turboprop aircraft and flying over 23 countries and racking up a distance of 40,818 kilometers before landing safely in Beijing on Sept 24, 2016. He landed 44 times in 49 days.

“I hope my experience brings more attention to China’s general aviation industry,” Zhang said. “It’s not impossible for an ordinary person to fly around the world.”

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