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Art Greenfield with the Spirit of Freedom capsule in which Steve Fossett circled the globe alone in 2002. (Eric Long)

The Witness

Want to set a record-breaking flight? You’ll need an observer from the National Aeronautic Association.

Greenfield: It varies considerably depending on the attempt. That particular one was a half-day commitment because it was so close, just down the road. Other ones can be several days, maybe even a week. Just depending on the type of record attempt. When the University of Maryland was trying for the human-powered helicopter flights, they made attempts over several days. 

A&S: Did they make the record?

Greenfield: The first claim we approved was set back in May. It was approved, and that’s now being approved by [parent organization] Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Then they made, in July, a second attempt, and made a claim, and we have not yet approved it. We’re still reviewing it, so it’s in process. 

A&S: What goes into the reviewing process?

Greenfield: This particular one is a bit different, simply because we don’t have much activity in that area. This was recorded with video cameras. 

A&S: So it takes as long to review it as it did to set the record?

Greenfield: In this case, yeah, it will take a bit longer, going through those records. This one is a little unusual in that regard. Luckily I didn’t have to watch 18 hour and 25 minute flight for Mr. Ebneter.

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