Heartland pilot holds 15 world records, attempts 7 more

Heartland pilot holds 15 world records, attempts 7 more

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A Cape Girardeau pilot has attempted to add as many as seven world records to his list of achievements in the air.

Cape Copters chopper instructor Paul Salmon currently holds 15 world records, and attempted to make that number 22 between September 27 and 28.

The records are as follows: In the E-1b weight class: "Greatest mass carried to a height of 2,000 meters", "Time to climb to height of 3,000 meters without payload" and "Highest altitude achieved with 100kg payload".

In the E-1c weight class (so, heavier.) "Greatest mass carried to a height of 2,000 meters", "Time to climb to 3,000 meters (without payload)", "Highest altitude with 100kg payload", and highest altitude with 200 kg payload"

Salmon successfully "unofficially set" each of these records, pending a year-long confirmation process which includes a committee in Switzerland approving the data, according to two National Aerenautic Association observers who were on-site for the tests.

"This is not an easy undertaking," observer Kris Maynard said.

A record-holding aviator himself, Maynard said his own most notable observation was the Absolute Distance Without Landing record flight set by Steve Fossett in 2006.

"It requires a lot of skill a tremendous amount of planning, and you have to wait for the right day. The conditions aren't suitable every single day of the year."

At eight thousand feet, altitude sickness becomes a concern in unpressurized cabins like those of a typical chopper. Additionally, the crafts have to work much harder to ascend as the atmosphere thins out.

"Believe it or not, most helicopter pilots are kind of afraid of heights," Salmon said. "A lot of the piston choppers won't perform well at altitudes upwards of 10 thousand feet or so."

Oxygen masks are required in such crafts by the FAA once 15,000 ft is surpassed.

For one of the records set this week, Salmon achieved a height of 15,209 ft.

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