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Cathay Pacific captain sets Hong Kong aviation milestone
Hank Cheng returns home with his dream accomplished, three months after setting off on a round-the-world journey in his homebuilt plane

13 Nov 2016

Cathay Pacific and its staff have applauded the magnificent achievement of Captain Hank Cheng and the Inspiration team following the successful completion of his epic round-the-world journey onboard his homebuilt plane.

Hank made local aviation history by circumnavigating the globe in “Inspiration”, a single-engine RV-8 light aircraft, a flight that covered approximately 50,000 km and took in 20 countries, including Australia, the United States, France, Jordan, Oman,

Sri Lanka and Thailand, before landing at Hong Kong International Airport at around 10 am today.

Before his arrival in Hong Kong, Hank flew low over Victoria Harbour, providing members of the public with the opportunity to share in the spirit of the occasion. The city certainly gave “Inspiration” a warm welcome, with people turning out in force to capture the moment; their photos, videos and positive comments of the B-KOO-registered aircraft proving overwhelmingly popular across many social media platforms.

Hank’s historic, near three-month journey has been reliant on the professional support of the Inspiration team, a dedicated group of Cathay Pacific employees who have worked round-the-clock, monitoring the flight’s progress from the Inspiration Operation Centre, which is housed at Cathay Pacific City, the airline’s headquarters at Chek Lap Kok. In addition, inspired by Hank’s passion to reach out for his aviation dreams, numerous colleagues across the airline’s expansive global network, from airport staff, engineers, flight crew to back office staff, have provided him with invaluable support, underlining the teamwork and can-do spirit of Cathay Pacific.

Cathay Pacific Chief Operating Officer Rupert Hogg said: “We are extremely proud of what Hank and all our employees involved in the Inspiration project have achieved – this is an historic moment in Hong Kong aviation and we could not be happier that their dreams have been realised. They have proved to be wonderful ambassadors for Cathay Pacific and local aviation as a whole, showing fantastic spirit, true professionalism and tremendous enthusiasm throughout. This is a very special day for everyone at our airline and it is great to see what can be done when we all work together.”

The Inspiration project has garnered significant interest – both from the public and aviation aficionados – and Hank has been eager to educate people about aviation and promote Hong Kong at every stage of the journey – two of his key objectives. For example, soon after completing the most arduous leg of his trip – a 14+ hour transpacific flight from Hilo in Hawaii to San Carlos in California – Hank travelled to the Future of Flight Aviation Center at Boeing’s headquarters in Everett, Washington, where he shared the background and goals of Inspiration with enthusiasts at a well-attended learning session.

Another instance of Hank’s passion for espousing aviation and his home city came a few weeks later, when he made headlines in Karachi. Through arrangements made by Cathay Pacific staff, and after receiving a very special welcome and generous treatment upon landing in Pakistan’s most populous city, he gave a series of media interviews, sharing the experiences of his flight and promoting the pioneering spirit of Hong Kong.

The Inspiration project has won the respect and admiration of Cathay Pacific staff members the world over, with the team receiving a great many messages of support from across the airline’s network, highlighting the airline’s tight-knit international community. A colleague regarded the tour as, “A dream for you, and for many of us too … that becomes true,” while another emphasised the positive effect Inspiration has had on his family and the younger generation: “My boys are inspired by your achievement. They carry your aircraft registered red lanyard B-KOO on their school bags and share your inspiring story to all their classmates!”

Added Mr Hogg: “Hank and the Inspiration team represent the spirit of Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong. We congratulate them all on this major milestone and are thankful for being able to play a role in helping to fulfill their dreams.”

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