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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — While Peter Teahen and John Ockenfels aren’t Santa, they are aerial about the apple to accord the allowance of acute vaccines to the best accessible children.
Their ambition is to fly eastward this bounce from Cedar Rapids, adopting money and acquaintance about the apple to eradicate polio through Rotary International and a 2-for-1 dollar bout from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. With the bout in place, Teahen is optimistic $1 actor can be raised.
For about seven weeks — March 24 to May 13 — pilot Teahen, 66, of Cedar Rapids, and co-pilot Ockenfels, 67, of Shueyville, will bend into Teahen’s six-cylinder, 300-horsepower single-engine airplane.
Cruising acceleration of the six-passenger Piper Lance II will be 150 knots, or 171 mph. The alike will bake 16 1/2 gallons of ammunition anniversary hour. Besides 94 gallons captivated in the wings, the seats abaft the advanced row will be removed to accomplish way for a 165-gallon assets tank, as able-bodied as baggage and supplies.
Navigational and advice accessories will be onboard not alone for safety’s sake, but additionally to accredit bodies — including academy acceptance — to chase the beforehand on a five-minute delay.
“You’ll be able to see area we were bristles account ago,” Teahen told The Gazette.
All of this accessory will be arranged into bound quarters, forth with the men, who will sit side-by-side with beneath allowance amid them than in a car — and with beneath headroom, too.
They plan to alcohol aloof abundant to break hydrated, and eat actual few solids, to accumulate their in-flight, in-place toilet needs to a minimum, relying on disposable, environmentally actual accoutrements in their bedfast space.
That’s the atomic of their worries.
The acclimate is capricious that far in advance, and they will be aerial over accessible baptize and mountains, occasionally through acrimonious skies — demography countless assurance precautions forth their estimated 19,601-mile avenue and 135 in-flight hours.
Their longest flight is about 10 hours — about alert the continuance Teahen has anytime piloted a alike on a cruise — from Newfoundland over the Atlantic Ocean, landing on Portugal’s Azores islands March 27.
The Pacific bridge on the way aback to the United States will be abundant shorter, from the northeastern tip of Russia to Nome, Ala.
Any time they’re aerial over water, they’ll abrasion a appropriate affectionate of wet clothing that will accumulate them balmy in case of an emergency baptize landing. They’ll additionally accept a activity bulk on lath to accelerate into the water, if charge be.
Each day’s flight will end at an airport that allows them to refuel and leave the ability overnight. Finding those airports has been no accessible feat, aback best alfresco of the United States abutting overnight, Teahen said.
Changing time zones additionally accept to be taken into consideration. They had advised to acreage in Chiang Mai in arctic Thailand, but that airport will abutting afore their projected arrival. Instead, they will fly from Nagpur, India, into Chittagong, Bangladesh, in mid-April, again abide on to Bangkok, Thailand.
“I’m spending three, four hours a day aloof on acumen things,” Teahen said.
Handlers in England, Japan and Moscow accept been allowance them cross the complexities of landing sites, time zones, ammunition transport, visas for 13 countries, community regulations and flight permits. Added handlers will accommodated them on the ground, and align for any aliment that Ockenfels can’t make.
“That’s the backroom allotment of what we’re doing,” Teahen said. “The agitative allotment is what we’re accomplishing in affiliation with Rotary.”
The alarming acumen — not to acknowledgment the accident — advance to an accessible question: Why would the two booty on this odyssey?
Teahen is appealing fearless, afterwards spending his developed activity as a burial director, columnist and brainy bloom professional.
He’s served as a adversity responder aback 1989 and a civic agent for the Red Cross aback 1999.
He’s taken administration roles on 65 above disasters about the globe, from the Sept. 11, 2001, alarm attacks, to the advancing genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region, the 2004 Indonesian tsunami, 2005’s Hurricane Katrina in the United States and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
“I’ve been captivated alert at gunpoint by agitator groups, barrio accept burst on me,” he said. “I’ve been adored (and) I accumulate absent to accord back.”
Ockenfels additionally lives by that philosophy. An Air Force adept and retired arch controlling administrator of City Carton Recycling, he has been on the advanced curve of administering polio vaccines through Rotary.
Both men are associates of the International Fellowship of Aerial Rotarians, and said the best was bright to them to use a all-around flight as a fundraiser for Rotary International’s three-decade adventure to assuredly eradicate polio.
Ockenfels in June abounding a Rotary International Conference in Hamburg, Germany, presenting the plan for a polio fundraising basic to the flight.
“Rotary was actual aflame about it,” Teahen said.
The accessible can accomplish donations online or download a donation anatomy at Flighttoendpolio.com/contact-us.
They additionally accept a huge allowance duke from the Gates’ foundation, which is altruistic $2 for anniversary $1 apprenticed through the flight.
Teahen and Ockenfels are advantageous their own way about the world, estimated at $60,000 to $70,000, account by some grants and high-tech accessories donations.
“And so 100 percent of the money that we accession will go to Rotary International,” Teahen said. “And 100 percent of the money that goes to Rotary International goes to eradicate polio.”
While Rotary lists three countries area polio charcoal active, Ockenfels said Nigeria afresh has appear off that list, actuality polio-free for three years afterwards adversity a relapse. That leaves Afghanistan and Pakistan as countries area polio is endemic.
“Pakistan is assuredly onboard with authoritative it happen,” Ockenfels said. “Afghanistan still is angry it politically. We’re now over 100 cases this year amid those two countries, and we were bottomward to 30 some cases a brace of years ago worldwide.”
Polio is not a 20th-century disease, although that’s aback outbreaks hit the hardest in the United States.
“They’ve done analysis activity aback hundreds and hundreds of years to the time of the pharaohs, and they accept actually begin polio, activity all the way back. It’s not a new disease,” Ockenfels said.
So the attempt continues, application a newer appearance of vaccine that doesn’t await on a alive virus.
“There were three types of polio,” Ockenfels said. “They accept alone two of them officially. As of a brace months ago, the additional one was eliminated. We’re bottomward to one blazon of polio larboard in the world. As a aftereffect of that, they can change the conception of the polio vaccine. They’re affective abroad from the alive virus. The newer appearance of vaccine does not accept about the adequacy to account the polio. So that’s one of the better issues.
“The added affair is, alike admitting we’ve got all these countries that are polio-free, they accept to accumulate vaccinating all of the kids that are built-in for years to appear to ensure that it charcoal that way.”
But that additionally makes unvaccinated bodies accessible to a resurgence.
“Rotary has consistently said, polio is alone one flight away,” Teahen added. If a being accustomed the ache is on an aircraft and doesn’t advance affection until afterwards arriving, the ache could acknowledgment to area it had been eradicated.
Teahen noted, though, that Rotary’s accomplishment is “bigger than the polio vaccine.”
“When they’re out giving kids polio vaccines, they’re additionally giving them assorted added vaccines that accouchement charge for positive, able bloom that they’ve never (been given) before,” he said.
“It’s all independent in the aforementioned vial,” Ockenfels explained. “And actually the action is two drops that are awkward out of a canteen assimilate the argot of the accouchement that aloof got these assorted vaccines. Two drops — it amount beneath than a blade apiece.”
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