One More Orbit: A Must-Watch For Aviation Geeks

One More Orbit: A Must-Watch For Aviation Geeks

13

Like many people, I’ve spent a lot of time this week checking for the latest updates regarding the Titanic submersible, which we (officially) learned yesterday had a sad ending, as it imploded. One of the most talked about people in the submersible was Hamish Harding, a British adventurer and billionaire.

Harding was the CEO of Action Aviation, a Dubai-based aircraft sales and acquisition company. As I was doing some research on him, I repeatedly saw mention of “One More Orbit,” which is a fascinating project he completed in 2019. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard about this until now, but I spent yesterday night watching a documentary about it, and I think it’s something many OMAAT readers will enjoy.

“One More Orbit” documentary about fastest round the world flight

On July 9-11, 2019, Hamish Harding partnered with Qatar Executive (Qatar Airways’ private jet division) to set a new world record. Specifically, they aimed to beat the world record for the fastest round the world flight, passing over both the North and South Poles (that’s where the name “One More Orbit” came from). This was flown on a Qatar Executive Gulfstream G650ER, and it was quite the effort.

This was intended to be a tribute to Apollo 11, as the journey started at Kennedy Space Center on the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. The plane even took off from Kennedy Space Center at 9:32AM, exactly when Apollo 11 rocketed off. Harding partnered with former International Space Station Commander Col. Terry Virts on this, who flew along for the journey.

In addition to Harding and Virts, the crew otherwise consisted of three other Qatar Executive pilots, an engineer, a payload specialist, and a flight attendant.

The Gulfstream G650ER flew from Kennedy Space Center to Nur-Sultan, Kazakstan, to Port Louis, Mauritius, to Punta Arenas, Chile, and back to Kennedy Space Center, in under 48 hours. What’s so cool is that the documentary really gives you an inside look at how this all happened, from onboard the plane, to the control room in Doha.

There are two things that are probably most interesting about this:

  • Of course to beat the record, nothing major has to go wrong; however, the much bigger challenge was making sure that the refueling stops on the ground were really fast, and that there was no need for deviations from the planned route
  • The segment from Mauritius to Chile was the most challenging, as it was pushing the range of the plane, was in full darkness, and flew over the South Pole, where there are virtually no diversion points

If you’re an aviation geek, I guarantee you’ll enjoy this. This is such a fascinating team effort. Below you can see the trailer for the documentary.

Then below you can see a behind the scenes look at the project, which even features Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UO0ldTdKtI

Then below you can watch the entire documentary. Alternatively, it’s available through Amazon, AppleTV, YouTube Premium, etc.

It’s kind of surreal to watch this after learning that Harding passed away from his latest adventure of trying to visit the Titanic. The quote “this mission is so important to me that I’m willing to risk my life” really gives you pause, given what all has happened.

His passion for aviation really comes through in this documentary. And of course it’s especially hard to watch in terms of seeing his son cheering him on, and seeing how proud he was of his dad.

Now, to be balanced, there are parts of the documentary that seem a bit self-indulgent. There are several mentions of how they are “expanding the limits of what humans can do,” and comparisons to what Magellan did 500+ years ago.

While there were some mildly risky aspects to this (not having diversion points over the South Pole), having access to a $60 million jet and the money to burn fuel to fly it nonstop for 48 hours doesn’t exactly seem comparable to going to outer space, or like one of the greatest achievements of humanity. But that’s just me.

This Titanic submersible situation is just wild

It seems that 80% of what the news has been covering the past week is the submersible that went “missing” earlier this week while trying to get to the wreckage of the Titanic. I don’t usually fall for these news crazes, but for whatever reason, this one got me really hooked.

Let me say that I feel horribly for the five people onboard who died, and especially for their families. Gosh, I can’t imagine the grief the families are going through for an entirely avoidable death (in the sense that these people just wanted an adventure).

I also understand a lot of frustration about how much media attention this story has been getting, and how extensive the rescue efforts have been, while hundreds of people are feared dead from a migrant ship that sank, and you hardly hear anything about that.

Yet I can’t help but watch the play-by-play of this whole situation. Of course hindsight is 20/20, but when people spend $250K to get into a submersible to the deepest depths of the ocean, all while it has no certification and there have been all kinds of concerns expressed about the safety of the submersible, well… it sure makes you scratch your head.

I guess some people just seek out bigger and bigger thrills in life, and sometimes it ends in catastrophe. There’s a certain irony to the Titanic claiming even more lives, over 100 years after it sank. Human curiosity really knows no bounds, and some people are willing to pay the ultimate price for that.

Then there’s so much drama beyond that, from an OceanGate advisor slamming the US government for their slow response and bureaucracy, to Harding’s stepson getting into an internet argument with Cardi B, and thinking he’s going to end her career. Anyway…

Bottom line

I don’t know how I hadn’t seen it until now, but “One More Orbit” is a captivating documentary about the world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the earth, using a Qatar Executive Gulfstream G650ER. The documentary features Hamish Harding, one of the people who tragically passed away on the submersible headed to the Titanic. If you have the time and like airplanes, I highly recommend watching this.

If you’ve seen “One More Orbit,” what did you make of it?

Conversations (13)
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  1. Fenspinbi Guest

    Ben, it's Kennedy Space Center. I work at KSC, and was a newly minted engineer when this was going on, but it was overshadowed by the 50th anniversary of A11 and all of the testing & preparation we were doing for Artemis 1. I hadn't even heard about One More Orbit until Harding had been killed in the Titan debacle. Given his previous adventures with going to space on Blue Origin, this flight, and others...

    Ben, it's Kennedy Space Center. I work at KSC, and was a newly minted engineer when this was going on, but it was overshadowed by the 50th anniversary of A11 and all of the testing & preparation we were doing for Artemis 1. I hadn't even heard about One More Orbit until Harding had been killed in the Titan debacle. Given his previous adventures with going to space on Blue Origin, this flight, and others that required meticulous preparation, it is ironic that he capped his legacy by being among the first people to get a specific Darwin award by dying in a dodgy submersible in spectacularly violent fashion in front of the whole world.

    Like David said, it's one thing for billionaires to spend their money as they wish, but it is particularly elitist to privatize the profits and SUBsidize the losses. Hundreds of military personnel placed in harm's way, thousands of man-hours of work, and millions of dollars were spent on rescue efforts, all for naught as they went to Davey Jones' Locker days prior. Not to mention this adventurism was mere "disaster tourism", and none of them were adding to the body of science or engineering knowledge (until they died). Now, of course they're going to be a case study in what not to do for marine engineering, materials science, and search and rescue plans. Contrast that with the 700 migrants who died at the same time and would've benefited from the money utterly wasted here with no benefit, and it's an obscene indictment of our times.

    I'm apathetic. We should never mock anyone who has died, but they should not be lionized as heroes or explorers either. This was selfishly reckless indulgence by bored wealthy people gone awry, nothing more. Next headline...

    1. Eskimo Guest

      You worked at KSC and overshadowed by Apollo 11.
      You of all people should know better.

      The entire Apollo program could in a way be described as "selfishly reckless indulgence by bored wealthy people gone awry, nothing more."
      I want to see the Titanic wreckage or I want to land on the moon. Same idea.

      You gave the deceased too little credit. Like all pioneers and early explorers, If they survived, then cutting...

      You worked at KSC and overshadowed by Apollo 11.
      You of all people should know better.

      The entire Apollo program could in a way be described as "selfishly reckless indulgence by bored wealthy people gone awry, nothing more."
      I want to see the Titanic wreckage or I want to land on the moon. Same idea.

      You gave the deceased too little credit. Like all pioneers and early explorers, If they survived, then cutting corners they way they did proved to work. They didn't so it's a case study of what not to do. How to better prepare for a rescue.

      While your at it to bash adventurism, tell me everyone who is scaling Mt Everest today how are they adding to the body of science or engineering knowledge?
      How did the lost MH370 worth Hundreds of military personnel placed in harm's way, thousands of man-hours of work, and millions of dollars were spent on rescue efforts, especially it's not even found yet?

      With all due respect, you don't belong in Kennedy Space Center. You are a disgrace to all the pioneers explorers or visionaries who set foot there.

  2. AlanT98 Guest

    In case you wanna watch how it was to travel in that submarine, a mexican actor (Alan Estrada, not me btw) travelled in it one year ago and he uploaded videos talking about his experience. Until now they became viral. The videos are in Spanish, altho in one of the videos he interviews the CEO. Also one of the crews in the trip that Alan took was PH Nargeolet (who also passed away with the...

    In case you wanna watch how it was to travel in that submarine, a mexican actor (Alan Estrada, not me btw) travelled in it one year ago and he uploaded videos talking about his experience. Until now they became viral. The videos are in Spanish, altho in one of the videos he interviews the CEO. Also one of the crews in the trip that Alan took was PH Nargeolet (who also passed away with the CEO and the other tourists). The youtube channel is alanxelmundo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VE9Y_3iikFg&list=PLcWg1WeHg9uhCKVDZbSe4fCcT9XFKIcWu&pp=iAQB

  3. Stan Ferris Guest

    Thanks for the link Ben,that documentary was terrific.

  4. David Diamond

    The OceanGate advisor is completely tone deaf and not doing OceanGate any favours by blaming the US government. They took shortcuts in safety and testing, then expects the taxpayer to foot the bill and treat them as the utmost priority when things go wrong? Yet another example of privatizing the profits and socializing the losses.

    These risky and experimental endeavours should be heavily taxed, rather than having the regular taxpayer subsidize the reckless behaviours of...

    The OceanGate advisor is completely tone deaf and not doing OceanGate any favours by blaming the US government. They took shortcuts in safety and testing, then expects the taxpayer to foot the bill and treat them as the utmost priority when things go wrong? Yet another example of privatizing the profits and socializing the losses.

    These risky and experimental endeavours should be heavily taxed, rather than having the regular taxpayer subsidize the reckless behaviours of billionaires.

  5. Todd Guest

    Full YT Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5RKVrqNbT4

    Download it for offline viewing with this tool: https://ssyoutube.com/en655bo/

  6. Not Lucky Guest

    Meanwhile, 350+ people drowned on a boat in Greece, and nobody noticed. Millions of dollars spent on billionaires having fun and then attempting a rescue.

    I feel for the families of the 5 who perished. It's unbelievably sad and tragic. But it's also not a great look for the world that we're here in the first place.

    On topic - the documentary is a good one. Agree with your recommendation that folks watch it.

  7. Ethan Guest

    I don't understand all the hatred towards the Titan passengers, yes they're rich, but they aren't rich assholes, but adventurers that accomplished other things push the boundary (Pakistan businessman is SETI trustee)
    Their death dont warrant all the hysteria.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Everyone including rich people are assholes in a certain way, you might just seen or be in the receiving end of it.

      The hatred is probably how out of touch the situation is. Especially if you compare to how many are still missing from the Greece migrant boat capsize.
      News agencies are going to sell. Today they compete with TikTok and bloggers, need to fill your attention with trash or echo propagandas otherwise no...

      Everyone including rich people are assholes in a certain way, you might just seen or be in the receiving end of it.

      The hatred is probably how out of touch the situation is. Especially if you compare to how many are still missing from the Greece migrant boat capsize.
      News agencies are going to sell. Today they compete with TikTok and bloggers, need to fill your attention with trash or echo propagandas otherwise no one would watch. They'd rather cover large scale 'rich or famous people problems' like this sub or Apollo 13 or Duchess of Montecito.

      But accidental loss of life is always tragic. These group of people are pioneers and explorers no different than people trying to scale Everest or colonize Mars. And you need lots of money to do it.

  8. david Guest

    Thanks for writing about the documentary and I fully agree with your perspective on the Titan, and also on the comparative media coverage of the Titan versus the refugee ship.

  9. TommyD Guest

    Can watch for free on freevee, Pluto Tv and kanopy (not familiar with that last one).

  10. R B Guest

    Just like you, I was following the news, hoping for a miracle.
    RIP to those 5 souls.

  11. Steve Diamond

    Agreed watched it a couple of days ago, great doc and fun watch.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Not Lucky Guest

Meanwhile, 350+ people drowned on a boat in Greece, and nobody noticed. Millions of dollars spent on billionaires having fun and then attempting a rescue. I feel for the families of the 5 who perished. It's unbelievably sad and tragic. But it's also not a great look for the world that we're here in the first place. On topic - the documentary is a good one. Agree with your recommendation that folks watch it.

3
Fenspinbi Guest

Ben, it's Kennedy Space Center. I work at KSC, and was a newly minted engineer when this was going on, but it was overshadowed by the 50th anniversary of A11 and all of the testing & preparation we were doing for Artemis 1. I hadn't even heard about One More Orbit until Harding had been killed in the Titan debacle. Given his previous adventures with going to space on Blue Origin, this flight, and others that required meticulous preparation, it is ironic that he capped his legacy by being among the first people to get a specific Darwin award by dying in a dodgy submersible in spectacularly violent fashion in front of the whole world. Like David said, it's one thing for billionaires to spend their money as they wish, but it is particularly elitist to privatize the profits and SUBsidize the losses. Hundreds of military personnel placed in harm's way, thousands of man-hours of work, and millions of dollars were spent on rescue efforts, all for naught as they went to Davey Jones' Locker days prior. Not to mention this adventurism was mere "disaster tourism", and none of them were adding to the body of science or engineering knowledge (until they died). Now, of course they're going to be a case study in what not to do for marine engineering, materials science, and search and rescue plans. Contrast that with the 700 migrants who died at the same time and would've benefited from the money utterly wasted here with no benefit, and it's an obscene indictment of our times. I'm apathetic. We should never mock anyone who has died, but they should not be lionized as heroes or explorers either. This was selfishly reckless indulgence by bored wealthy people gone awry, nothing more. Next headline...

2
David Diamond

The OceanGate advisor is completely tone deaf and not doing OceanGate any favours by blaming the US government. They took shortcuts in safety and testing, then expects the taxpayer to foot the bill and treat them as the utmost priority when things go wrong? Yet another example of privatizing the profits and socializing the losses. These risky and experimental endeavours should be heavily taxed, rather than having the regular taxpayer subsidize the reckless behaviours of billionaires.

1
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