Director of Communications
Brain cancer survivor and pilot Brian “B.K.” Kissinger from O’Fallon, Illinois unofficially set a World Aviation Record for “speed over a recognized course” in his tiny experimental aircraft on Independence Day. The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale will officially certify the new World and National Aviation Record after final reviews which are expected to occur over the next several weeks.
Kissinger left St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia, Illinois at 6:35 a.m. CT and flew to St. Joseph, Missouri. He refueled at Rosecrans Memorial Airport in St. Joseph and officially began his quest for a world record when he took off from St. Joseph at 10:02 CT. He completed the world record flight by landing at the Bi-State Development Agency’s St. Louis Downtown Airport at 12:14 CT p.m. with a time of 2 hours 12 minutes.
The world record flight was “hot and fast and a lot of fun,” said Kissinger. “We met our goal to fly into the record books for a very good cause—The Joseph Center—as we celebrated our nation’s birthday and celebrated the service of all veterans on the 4th of July.”
The Joseph Center in East St. Louis, Illinois helps homeless veterans by giving them a place to live until they get back on their feet. There is a six month waiting list for housing assistance. The world record flight was a labor of love by Kissinger to raise funds and awareness for the organization.
Kissinger is a veteran himself. He retired from the Air Force after being diagnosed with brain cancer. After surviving the brain cancer, he was diagnosed a second time a few years ago. “I feel very blessed to have survived brain cancer twice and blessed that I can still fly and help others by doing something I love to do.”
Kissinger flew an experimental Sonerai II aircraft on the July 4th record-setting flight. The small, homebuilt, single-engine plane is powered by a VW engine and was designed by John Monnett. It is 18 feet 10 inches in length with a wingspan of 18 feet 8 inches and weighs approximately 520 pounds. It was fully inspected by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on July 3. The FAA also interviewed Kissinger and cleared him for the world record setting challenge. Kissinger said, “It’s safe. It’s safer than riding a motorcycle.”
Kissinger said the budget to build the plane was approximately $11,000 compared to some commercially produced aircraft which would sell for well over $100,000 and Kissinger said his plane went much faster than they can go. Kissinger said he flew at 3,500 feet right at the 120 knot limit (approximately 142 miles per hour) which is the maximum allowed for the Light Sport Pilot certification category.
This will not be the first World Aviation record for Kissinger. He established two records in 2007 while flying a 1942 Army Air Corps L4 Cub and raised more than $72,000 for brain tumor and cancer research during those world aviation accomplishments.
Kissinger’s plane is on display July 6 and July 7 at the Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. each night. The park is located at 185 W. Trendley Avenue in East St. Louis.
The record flight was sponsored by the Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum, Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 264, and Gateway Flight 26 Order of Daedalians, a fraternal organization of military pilots.
Kissinger is a commercial pilot, flight instructor, and the pastor, founder, and CEO at Pax et Amor (www.PaxetAmor.org).