AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, congratulates pilots Scott Kasprowicz and Steve Sheik, on being named the 2009 recipients of the De la Vaulx Medal, presented by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, during a ceremony in Korea on Thursday, October 8th.
In 2008, the crew set a new around the world speed record with their AgustaWestland Grand helicopter. The record-breaking flight was achieved in only 11 days 7 hours and 5 minutes, breaking the old record by almost 6 days. The FAI ratified the record in early 2009.
Departing New York at 3:14am on August 7, 2008, the crew traveled eastbound covering 20,888 nautical miles and maintaining an average speed of 137 km/hr, which includes time for refueling, rest and maintenance. The duo maintained an impressive average speed of 150 knots over the ground while covering 21 countries, 24 time zones and 49 states before arriving back in New York on August 18. During the historic flight, the crew set a New York to London speed record, flying that leg of the trip in just over 40 hours and breaking the old record by 35 hours. Unlike previous flights to break the world helicopter speed record, Kasprowicz and Sheik performed this mission in a factory-standard executive configured AgustaWestland Grand helicopter. No mission specific modifications or additional fuel tanks were added to improve the aircraft´s performance.
The De la Vaulx Medal was established in 1933 in the name of Comte de la Vaulx, who was the founder of the FAI. The Medal is given to aviators who have achieved an absolute world aviation record in the previous year. Past recipients include Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, and Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon.