Around the World Flight to End Polio pilots prepare for the Pacific crossing – having raised well over $1m for End Polio Now!

Last month IFFR members John Ockenfels and Peter Teahan were preparing for their flight around the world to support Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign. 

A few weeks later, and despite a few challenges along the way, John and Peter are in Australia, around two thirds of the way through their 25,000 mile, 150+ flying hour challenge and preparing for their long over-water flights back across the Pacific to the United States of America and home. 

Its been an amazing voyage so far.  First technical problems with the alternator on their plane delayed their departure from the USA. Then unseasonally cold weather in Canada with snow storms and icing in May delayed their transatlantic crossing.  But when the weather cleared, they made good time, with flights straight from Canada to Iceland, then down to Scotland.

The transatlantic delays meant the intrepid duo missed out on some of their planned European stops, where they were due to be hosted by Flying Rotarians in Denmark, Belgium and Portugal.  But the fundraisers went ahead and John and Peter joined by Zoom to give their progress updates. And they did make it to a fundraiser organized by the Benelux section at Breda/Seppe which raised over €8,000 for their End Polio Now collection.

From Europe, John and Peter have headed south and east, through Jordan, UAE and Pakistan into India. Here health issues including dehydration led to a few days hospital stay for Peter.  Once recovered and in good health, they set course for Sri Lanka, then Thailand, and Malaysia, crossing south of the equator in the process, ultimately arriving in Darwin, Australia, on 27 June.  Since then, they have headed to Cairns, then south to Toowoomba, the home of IFFR Australia Section Leader Rob Hannemann. Soon they will be heading out across the Pacific and we will be watching their progress carefully.

John and Peter have been keeping a photo journal. Have a look at the pictures from their trip and the fantastic receptions they’ve been given by Rotarians all around the world.

The good news is that John and Peter have now raised well-over $1m for End Polio Now, and the total is continuing to rise with every stop they make.  Everywhere they have gone, Rotarians have hosted them, held receptions for them, and made significant donations to them. John and Peter have taken part in vaccination programmes and held countless media briefings to raise awareness of the End Polio Now campaign.

Its not too late for you so show your support and make your own donation – just CLICK HERE to help them on their way.

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