London to Sydney Air Race 2001


Aerostar Wins London to Sydney Air Race
Sydney, Australia
April 07, 2001

The Ultimate Light Twin A factory restored 700CR Aerostar, "Spirit of Kai Tak," has won the 2001 London to Sydney Air Race. Flown by a crew of four, consisting of chief pilot Mike Miller and pilot crew members James D'Arcy, John D'Arcy, and Mark Graham, the Spirit of Kai Tak finished first and averaged the fastest ground speed in the race with a blistering 279 knots (321 mph). The next fastest finishers were a King Air C90B with an average speed of 253 knots, a Piper Malibu Mirage at 211 knots, and a Cessna 340A at 206 knots.
Click for the Competitors Speed Chart

The Story Behind the Spirit In October 2000, Aerostar Aircraft was approached by a British team from Hong Kong S.A.R. to prepare an aircraft for the London to Sydney Air Race. Requirements were for a mechanically sound, reliable high speed Aerostar, one capable of high power climb and cruise for extended periods of time. It was also decided the aircraft should be turbocharged, pressurized, and capable of carrying the full crew of four without excessive penalty in rate of climb or cruising speed. The finished airplane, named for the Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong S.A.R. (world famous for its between the sky scrapers approach) the Spirit of Kai Tak, is a fully restored, pressurized Aerostar, upgraded to a Super 700CR by fitting the aircraft with turbo supercharged and intercooled 350 HP counter rotating engines, and the latest factory new options and upgrades. All hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical, and electrical systems were overhauled or replaced with new in Aerostar Aircraft's facility at the Coeur d'Alene Airport. The restoration began in late November 2000 and the "like new" aircraft rolled out for delivery on March 3, 2001. The aircraft then received 25 hours of shake down and pilot familiarization flights, where it demonstrated a maximum speed of 285 knots and climb rates of 1800 ft/min at race like, 150 knot indicated speeds. The aircraft was then delivered to Sun Quest Air in Everett, WA for a special race paint job. The striking red paint and golden dragon design were finishing touches designed to capture maximum attention at every stop along the race route. After paint and graphics the airplane was flown to England via Gander New Foundland, Greenland, Iceland, and Scotland.

Sydney or Bust This race was a grueling test of both speed and endurance with a total distance of 12,040 nautical miles and a course that traveled through some of the most remote parts of the world. It began at Biggin Hill England, a World War II fighter base, just outside of London on March 11th then traveled through Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, India, Thailand, and the outback of Northern Australia to finish in Sydney on April 7th. The London to Sydney Race consisted of 16 officially timed legs, averaging 494 nautical miles in length. The Spirit of Kai Tak was the fastest on each and every leg. Jim Christy, Vice President of Aerostar Aircraft, commented, "Although it is true that the Aerostar was in excellent mechanical condition, it was not a stripped down "race only" aircraft. In fact, it was a typically equipped, fully optioned, FAA Certified airplane, just like the ones we do today."

About Aerostar Aircraft Located at the Coeur d'Alene Airport (COE) in Hayden Lake Idaho, Aerostar Aircraft is the Type Certificate holder for the family of Aerostars. The company currently provides engineering and spare parts support for the fleet, supplies factory option kits to enhance aircraft performance, performs factory restorations for customer owned aircraft and offers factory restored Aerostars to the general aviation and business market. New products under development at Aerostar include both turboprop and fan jet derivatives of the Aerostar. Scheduled for delivery in 2003 the turboprop Aerostar features a longer cabin, 6 to 8 place interior, 300 knot cruising speed and 1500 nm range. In 2004, the fan jet Aerostar will feature the same 6 to 8 place interior, 415 knot cruising speed and a 1750 nm range.

Spirit of Kai Tak and Crew

James S. Christy, Vice President
Aerostar Aircraft Corporation
10555 Airport Drive . Hayden Lake, Idaho 83835
208-762-0338 . 800-442-4242 . Fax: 208-762-8349 . .
Congratulations on a job well done.  Spirit of Kai Tak's Pilot Mike Miller
and Aerostar Vice President, Jim Christy

Airframe In Work
Interior In Work
After Paint

Decals and Detailing
Completed Project
Silver Falcon Spirit of Kai Tak won
for the
combined London to Bahrain leg.


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