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Wick and Thurso Rotary Clubs to welcome global charity flight at Wick airport


By David G Scott

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Two aviators on a round the world flight to raise money for helping eradicate polio are due to arrive at Wick airport on May 13.

The Rotary Clubs of Wick, Thurso, East Sutherland, Tain and Easter Ross and Orkney are supporting pilot Peter Teahen and co-pilot John Ockenfels on their global charity flight from the United States that will touch down at the Caithness airport at the end of next week after setting off on Friday (May 5).

Richard Stanley, president of the Rotary Club of Wick, said the club is supporting this project in any way it can. "The aviators are arriving in Wick on the 13th of May and will be attending the Thurso Rotary Club's 60th charter dinner that evening," he added.

John Ockenfels (left) of Shueyville, Iowa, and Peter Teahen of Robins, Iowa, in the cockpit of the Cessna 210 Turbo Centurion aircraft.They are taking off on May 5 to fly around the world and raise money and awareness to help eradicate polio. The flight is aiming to raise $1M for Rotary International's campaign to end polio. Picture: Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette
John Ockenfels (left) of Shueyville, Iowa, and Peter Teahen of Robins, Iowa, in the cockpit of the Cessna 210 Turbo Centurion aircraft.They are taking off on May 5 to fly around the world and raise money and awareness to help eradicate polio. The flight is aiming to raise $1M for Rotary International's campaign to end polio. Picture: Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette

Peter and John are on diets to decrease their mass in order to add more fuel for the flight that will take them to Maine, Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland, Europe, the Middle East, India, Southeast Asia,

Australia, the South Pacific, Hawaii, California and Denver, before returning to Cedar Rapids in Iowa around mid-July.

“For every six pounds we lose, we get to take another gallon of gas — gas weighs six pounds a gallon,” Peter said. “I think between us, by the time we take off on May 5, we'll probably have lost 50 pounds or so combined. And we'll keep the diet going all the way through the flight.”

The aircraft in flight. Picture: John Ockenfels
The aircraft in flight. Picture: John Ockenfels

This twofold journey, leaving at 9am on May 5 from the Eastern Iowa Airport, intends to raise awareness and $1M for Rotary International’s three-decade quest to eradicate polio. The Gates Foundation is adding a 2-for-1 dollar match toward reaching that goal. The two pilots are paying for the flight out of their own pockets and have some equipment grants, so all money donated by the public will go to the Rotary’s international polio initiative.

More information on the Flight To End Polio and how to donate is available at www.flighttoendpolio.com

Rotary members have contributed more than $2.1 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect nearly three billion children in 122 countries from the paralysing disease. Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by governments to contribute more than $10 billion to the effort.


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