Czech pilot celebrates centenary of Czechoslovakia by undertaking round-the-world flight

Roman Kramařík, photo: Eva Turečková

Czech aerobatic pilot Roman Kramařík is celebrating the centenary of the birth of Czechoslovakia by fulfilling a lifelong dream –to fly around the world in a small Cessna plane. The journey should take him 46 days across three oceans and three continents.

Roman Kramařík,  photo: Eva Turečková
A crowd of people gathered at Točná airfield on the outskirts of Prague to see Roman Kramařík off on his journey. His pilot friends took up their planes up into the air with him to briefly accompany him on the first stretch of his 36 thousand kilometer journey. Kramařík should spend 150 hours up in the air and make approximately 20 stop-overs for rest and fuel. He told Radio Prague why he had chosen this particular year to fulfill his dream.

“I think it is good to remind the world and ourselves what we have achieved over those 100 years. We are a capable, proud and I think fine nation. And our aviation industry is something we can be proud of – we have great construction engineers, mechanics and pilots –there are not many countries that can say they have made a helicopter or fighter jet from scratch.”

The one-time Czech aerobatic pilot is flying over the Persian Gulf, India, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, the Pacific Ocean the US, the Azores and then Britain before heading home. Michal Pazourek, one of the dispatchers who planned the route, said there were various complications to be taken into account.

Pilot friends accompany Roman Kramařík  (second from left),  photo: ČTK/Vondrouš Roman
“It was problematic for several reasons. One is the size of the plane, meaning that you really need to take into account weather conditions. Another is that this small Cesna plane flies on a special fuel that is not available everywhere. So we had countries that would easily have granted us permission to transit and stop-over but the fuel was not available. That was Russia for instance, or China. I would say that Asia was the most difficult stretch of the journey to arrange.”

Doctors put together a “first aid” package for Kramařík, which he says even included pills against depression –which he eventually had to take out because in view of the size of the plane he had to cut down to the bare minimum on everything he was taking.

Kramařík, who planned the journey for months, said he was not aiming to break any speed records or compete with pilots such as the late Steve Fosset who flew around the world in 67 hours and 1 minute without stopping to refuel. He said he wanted to complete the journey and planned on stopping at places connected with Czech history. Even so, if he is successful it would be the first independent flight around the world by a Czech pilot.

Fans will be able to follow his journey on social media and welcome him back on his return to Prague’s Letnany Airport on September 8, if all goes according to plan.