SoCal Pilot Hopes to Set Nonstop Chopper Flight Record

A French Valley pilot hoping to raise $1 million for his charity will set out Monday to break his own world record for a "nonstop" helicopter flight by flying from San Diego to Georgia and back.

Johan Nurmi, 58, of Corona, plans to leave Brown Field in San Diego at 6 a.m. and fly without stopping -- save for bathroom breaks -- to Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport, arriving back at San Diego less than 70 hours later.

He will have three co-pilots in his Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter.

"We love long cross-country flights," said Nurmi, a U.S. citizen who was born in Sweden of Finnish parents.

Part of the reason for the trip is to garner publicity for his charity, the Christian Foundation for Starving Children. Nurmi has a goal of $1 million, the money to be given to 10,000 families.
The other pilots are Roy Sciortino, 52, of DeLuz; Tyler Kim, 28, of Murrieta; Bill Laggner, 26, of Fallbrook. They have only about six years experience between then, although Nurmi, who owns a helicopter school with his wife, Monica, at French Valley Airport, has been a pilot for 20 years.

Last year, Nurmi broke the record by accomplishing his feat in 70 hours and 19 minutes. He wants to shave off those extra minutes this year.

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