May 30, 2013 - Eight United States and world aviation records were broken and set by Palm Beach resident Douglas Matthews on May 23, flying his P-51D Mustang The Rebel. Matthews broke several long-standing aviation records for time-to-climb and ultimate altitude.
In the effort that had been planned for several months, Matthews' support team watched as he launched at 10:30 a.m. from Indiantown Airport northwest of Palm Beach International. Prior to flight he breathed 100 percent oxygen for 90 minutes to avoid the effects of the "bends." During the entire flight Matthews required supplemental oxygen.
The records listed below will be unofficial until sanctioned by the U.S. National Aeronautics Association (NAA) and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) for world records. The unofficial records Matthews are:
• Time-to-climb to 9,000 meters (approximately 30,000 feet) - 18 minutes
• Time-to-climb to 12,000 meters (approximately 40,000 feet) - 31 minutes
• Maximum altitude in level flight - 40,100 feet
• Maximum altitude achieved - 42,500 feet
If approved, these records will vault Matthews into the "100 Club" for setting 100 U.S. and world aviation records during his flying career.
"I started in 1984 to go after any record I thought was achievable," he said. "This is for sure the pinnacle of my record attempts career. I am elated just to have been able to achieve these heights in an unpressurized, unheated propeller aircraft that's almost 70 years old."
For more information, see www.ClassicFighters.org.