Written by travel  |  21. August 2005

A restored vintage seaplane flew over the Statue of Liberty and landed near Battery Park in Manhattan August 27, re-creating part of a 1929-31 around-the-world flight by an aviation pioneer. Legendary German aviator Claudius Dornier caused a sensation in New York when he stopped here on his world tour 74 years ago. His grandson, Capt. Iren Dornier, duplicated the feat on Saturday August 27 in the rebuilt "flying boat" his father used on the historic journey, while raising money for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)in the process. Iren, who is chairman and co-founder of the Philippine domestic airline company, South East Asian Airlines, found his father's original plane, the 12-engine Dornier Do-X, at the Deutsches Mesuem in Munich in 1993. In 2002, with the dream of re-creating his grandfather's accomplishment solidified in his mind, he disassembled the plane, which was the largest, heaviest, and most powerful seaplane of its time, and had it shipped to the Philippines, where it was rebuilt by his company's mechanics. The reassembled plane took its maiden voyage above Manila Bay on April 15, 2004, and then started on its journey to circumnavigate the globe, covering 33 destinations in 19 countries. After its U.S. tour, the silver gray all-metal craft will travel to countries in South America, before flying to Cape Verde on the African coast, and then returning to the Philippines. Dornier's adventure, though, is not just about copying the itinerary of his grandfather. He is using the journey, dubbed "Mission: Dream," to generate support for UNICEF projects in the Philippines, centering on child education, protection, and awareness. The event also focuses attention on tourism in the 7,000-plus islands of the Philippines, and on the country's growing aviation industry. For additional information on the Dornier World Tour Project, go to the website www.do-24.com, or contact the Philippine Department of Tourism's office in New York at (212) 575-7915, or by e-mail to Pdotny@aol.com.

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