Teen’s Round-the-World Flight Ends in Tragedy

Haris Suleman and his father, Babar

A 17-year-old’s round-the-world record flight attempt has ended in tragedy. The Beechcraft Bonanza Haris Suleman and his father, Babar, were using in their attempt to circumnavigate the world in 30 days crashed today not far from Pago Pago, the capitol of American Samoa. While Haris' body has been found, search teams are still looking for Babar.

The father and son team left the United States on June 19 and were scheduled to arrive back on the west coast in just a couple of days. Had they completed the trip, Haris Suleman would have become the youngest person to fly as pilot-in-command around the globe. Besides being an extraordinary father-son adventure, the team was using the record-breaking flight attempt to raise money for the Citizen’s Foundation, which has built 1,000 schools to help Pakistani children out of poverty.

Before the tragic end of the journey, the Sulemans had landed in a long list of countries including Canada, Iceland, England, Italy, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Bali.

This is unfortunately not the first time a record attempt by a minor has resulted in tragedy. In 1996, seven-year-old Jessica Dubroff was attempting to fly across the United States when the Cessna C177 Cardinal she was flying with her flight instructor and her father crashed, killing all three people on board.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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