Press release from Pipistrel:
Matevz Lenarcic successfully landed in the Antarctic
"The Slovene pilot Matevz Lenarcic, who is flying around the world in his modified Virus SW 914 Turbo with an Intercooler unit, made a successful landing in the Antarctic on February 16, 2012 at 6 PM (18:00) CET (Central European Time).
Matevz started his epic flight on January 7, 2012 from Ljubljana, Slovenia. On his route he is planning to cross the equator 6 times, cover over 49,710 mls (80,000 km) of distance, fly over 7 continents and over almost 60 countries, over 120 National Parks and 3 oceans and also fly over 5 tallest peaks of the continents, including Mt. Everest. So far, he has flown the distance of about 15,534 mls (25,000 km), covering approximately one third of the way.
This afternoon at 6 PM (18:00) CET Matevz landed on the Antarctic base of Base Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva. This historic moment means the first-ever landing of a Pipistrel aircraft of the 7th continent! Now we can truly say that our aircraft fly on all continents of the world!
To be able to accomplish this feat, Matevz needed a specially modified aircraft able to withstand the temperatures reaching -58°F (-50°C). He will have to brave similar temperatures once again when he attempts to fly over the world's tallest mountain, Mt. Everest later on his journey.
After he returns from the Antarctic, Matevz will be faced with the toughest, most challenging part of his flight: crossing the Pacific ocean. This leg of his flight will include several ocean crossing in excess of 2,485 mls (4,000 km) without a possibility of landing. Extreme distances and severe weather above the Pacific will be by far the toughest challenge for the pilot and his Pipistrel aircraft, only weighing a little over 661 lb (300 kg), but we have no doubt that Matevz's Virus will perform as well in the continuation of his flight as it did up to now.
The entire Pipistrel team congratulates and thanks Matevz and his ground support team for this amazing achievement."