Alumni Outlook Magazine


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His Goal was to Set a Record and He Did

Gary Schettl’s dream of setting a world record began in his garage with the purchase of an airplane rudder kit. Five thousand hours of labor and five years later, the 1988 graduate set a record that remains unchallenged.

Schettl set national and world speed records for a city-to-city nonstop flight between Minneapolis and Martha’s Vineyard. He flew 1,250 miles in six hours, six minutes and 40 seconds in a hand-built Glasair II kit airplane. 

Building the airplane cost Schettl $105,000, half the cost of a factory-built plane. He built it piece by piece as he could afford it, starting with the rudder. He rented out rooms in his house for extra income.

Setting a record was on his mind the whole time.

When the airplane was fully assembled, Schettl looked for a record to break or set in the book of records compiled by the Federation Aeronautique Inte

rnationale, the official organization responsible for aviation record-keeping. He discovered there were no record flights initiating from Minneapolis, his closest airport. He determined a flight from Minneapolis to Martha’s Vineyard Airport was as far east as he could go and still be in the United States.

His calculation resulted in a history-making moment on May 25, 2006. Schettl landed in Martha’s Vineyard at 3:30 p.m. and his name has been in the record books ever since.

TOP LEFT: Gary Schettl and his record-holding plane.

TOP RIGHT:  A map of Schettl’s record-setting flight path.

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