Gannon A Vietnam Veteran Describes His World Flying Adventure


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Gannon A Vietnam Veteran Describes His World Flying Adventure

By Robert F. Gannon
January 20, 2011 - In 1992 I wanted to do an adventure. I had previously sold a small construction company and after taking some time off thought I should get back to work but before I did I wanted to do a good adventure.

One of my 6 brothers (there are 14 children in the Iowa farm family I grew up in) had sailed half way around the world and I had joined him several times but always got terribly sea sick.

I was a medic on a medivac helicopter in the Viet Nam war (Da Nang Dustoff) and I had always enjoyed flying (didn?t enjoy getting shot at) so I thought if I could learn to fly I could create a memorable adventure.

In 3 months time I had an instrument license and was the owner of a Cherokee 6 airplane (named her Lucky Lady) and departed San Diego for a Harvard Business Class reunion in Paris, France with 165 hours in my log book.

Four months later I crashed in Nairobi, Kenya totaling Lucky Lady but I walked away without a scratch. When I crashed I had 295 hours in my log book and was half way around the world. This time half way would have to do.

For the next 8 years I talked about finishing that trip. As I approached my 50th birthday in Sept. of 2000, I decided to quite talking about it and get at it. I decided to buy a high wing single engine airplane, a 1968 Cessna 182, and named her Lucky Lady Too out of respect for the first woman I wrecked.

Instead of going east I decided to go west. And instead of doing it all at one time I decided to do it over a 10 year period to allow me to see and experience as much of the world as I possibly could. I removed 3 of the 4 seats and put in large fuel tanks.

Taking off from Oakland, California in October, 2000 I was 40% over gross weight with fuel. It took me 18 hours of hand flying (I do not have an auto-pilot) to reach Kona, Hawaii. I parked LLT and went home to have back surgery (sciatica) caused by sitting in one position for so long.


I returned three months later to fly on to Christmas Island (part of the nation of Kiribati) and then down to the French Polynesian islands. Then across the south Pacific stopping in as many countries as I could and having a look around. I would fly a leg (usually one to two months in time length) then park Lucky Lady Too and return home commercially for a couple of months to take care of business and plan the next leg then return to LLT and continue with another leg.

Since I departed in October of 2000 I have flown around the world west in the southern hemisphere and east in the northern hemisphere. I have flown to 155 countries to date having now set a world aviation record. I have left LLT 40 times somewhere in the world over that time period and returned home on a commercial flight to take care of business and plan the next flying leg.

I have flown LLT to the Antarctica peninsula and have flown her over the North Pole. I was the oldest bachelor at the Emerald Bachelor and Spinster Ball in the outback of Australia and have flown into Nepal and climbed to the Everest Base Camp. I have scuba dived at many sites around the world and have done a motorcycle trip on the south island of New Zealand as well as up thru the Golden Triangle of SW Asia (first Viet Nam vet to fly into Viet Nam after the war). We have flown to all the Middle Eastern countries including Basra, Iraq on a medical mission to take in medical supplies and toys for the newly constructed Basra Children?s Hospital.

I am often asked how I am funded. I have always worked for myself. I have started and owned a construction company, a member of the Chicago Board of Trade (commodity exchange) and I am a Name at Lloyds of London (insurance exchange in London, England) as well as a partner in a small wood manufacturing business in San Diego, California. I have never been married and have no children.

Statistics of the decade of World Flying Adventure

1. Flew twice around the world, west in the Southern Hemisphere and east in the Northern Hemisphere.
2. Landed on all the continents of the world.
3. Flew over the North Pole and down to the Antarctica peninsula
4. Flew 2,200 hours over a period of 10 years and 3 months, equivalent to the distance from the earth to the moon and half way back.
5. Landed in 1,200 different places in 155 countries including Viet Nam, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.
6. Longest leg flown was 2,200 nm. (California to Hawaii - 18 hours)
7. Flew the entire route by hand. No auto-pilot.
8. The airplane, Lucky Lady Too, is a 1968 Cessna 182, now 43 years old.
9. Parked the airplane in 40 different places around the world and returned home commercially to take care of business and plan the next leg.

Landed in numerous places in all 50 USA states

Following is a list of the year and the countries Lucky Lady Too and I have flown into:

2000- California to Hawaii, Kiribati, French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Norfolk Island, New Zealand

2001 - New Zealand, Australia (landed in 125 different places in Australia)

2003 - Australia, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia, Federated States of the USA (Truk, Yap, Chuck, Pohnpei) Palau, Malaysia, Thailand

2004 - Thailand, Laos, Viet Nam (I flew back into where I was stationed at), Cambodia, Myanmar, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives (LLT flew 14 hours on car gas from the Maldives to the Seychelles), Seychelles, Kenya

2005 - Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Tanzania, Mayotte, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana

2006 - South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana, Angola, Gabon Sao Tome, Togo Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Cape Verde, Brazil

2007 - Brazil, Argentina, Antarctica, Chile, Falkland Islands, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru Ecuador, French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama

2008 - Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, Washington, western Canada, Alaska, northern Canada and over the North Pole to Svalbard, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain

2009 - United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Iran, Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan, Syrian Arab Republic, Cyprus, Israel, Greece, Malta, Tunisia, Morocco, Gibraltar, Spain, Italy, Austria, Turkey, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, Alaska, across the middle of Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Ireland, Isle of Man, England, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Canada and back into the USA with stops in the following US states: Maine, Mass., NH, VT, Conn., NJ, RI, DE, Wash. DC, Maryland, Virginia, NC, SC, Georgia, Florida before continuing to the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos.

2010 - Dominica Republic, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St. Maarten, St. Martin, Saint Bart?s, Saba, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Eustatius, Antigua, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Barbados, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Curacao, Bonaire, Aruba, Colombia, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, over Cuba and back into the Bahamas and back into the USA with stops in the states of Florida, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, South and North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Mexico.

World Flying Adventure Route Map (departed San Diego in Sept. 2000, returned in Jan. 2011) To email Robert Gannon and share your story or ask him some questions please click on link Email. Following are links to several write-ups or videos of his flying adventure:,0,2194114.story



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