James R. Greenwood, a vice president of Gates Learjet supported the idea of a
round-the-world flight as part of the US Bicentennial Celebrations. At the annual
meeting of the Aviation/Space Writers Association the idea of such a round-the-world
flight became a reality.
Arnold Palmer, golf celebrity and pilot together with two Learjet pilots, James
E. Bir and Lewis L. Purkey and aviation writer, Robert Serling would try to set a
business jet speed record circumnavigating round-the-world. Their jet supplied by
Gates Learjet was a Learjet 36 (N200Y) called "Freedom Way USA." 200 Yankee took
off from Denver, CO on May 17, 1976. Palmer and his crew found that the most
effective antidote for flight fatigue was humor, so they laughed and traded humorous
stories. They hoped for a change of underwear on reaching Manila and got it by
switching underwear with each other.
They arrived back at Stapleton Airport in Denver on May 19, 1976 having flown
round-the-world in 2D 9H 25M 42S. This was a notable accomplishment for the US, as
they said on arrival home, "We didn't wave the Stars and Stripes, we flew them."
Departed Denver, CO 05/17/76
Glamorgan, Wales UK
Colombo, Sir Lanka
Arrived Denver, CO 05/19/76