Becomes the first pilot to fly from pole to pole by helicopter
101 years after the Wright Brothers took to the air, a British team has finally cracked one of the few remaining aviation challenges on the planet. After two years, using two helicopters, and travelling 20,000 miles across 20 countries, three pilots have flown from the North to the South Poles to create a new world record.
Stave Brooks shared legs of this epic journey with Quentin Smith and Joanna Vestey. In 2002 Steve and Quentin flew the Robinson 44 helicopter to the North Pole. From there they made their way south, down the Northwest Passage and into Anchorage, Alaska. Here there was a crew change and Joanna Vestey joined Steve for what was to be their honeymoon trip – flying the R44 south to Chile across the length of the Americas, North, Central and South, crossing 18 countries en route.
Once in Chile Jo swapped places with Q once more for the journey south.
The story made headlines when, in 2002, Steve and Quentin were forced to ditch into the sea off Antarctica and the two pilots almost froze to death. At Christmas 2004 Steve and Quentin retuned to complete their successful journey across the Drake Passage and into the Antarctic peninsula to Patriot Hills, and finally up to 10,500 ft onto the South Pole itself.
This epic journey, long considered impossible by many, has raised the bar for helicopter expeditions to a new high.