International competition is about to change leadership: Victory flight on Saturday from Portoroz to Venice-Nicelli
The Salzburg rail transport and logistics entrepreneur Gunther Pitterka (54) is on the verge of becoming world champion in “collecting” from airports. The owner of SETG, a company with around 200 employees, is part of an international collecting community of aviation enthusiasts whose aim is to fly to as many different airports around the world as possible and document this in a competitive way. The documentation and verification platform is the website www.flugstatistics.de.
According to the statistics site www.flugstatistic.de, the current maximum number of airports served by a participant worldwide is 1581. Gunther Pitterka from Salzburg, currently number 2 in the collector ranking for airport collections, will make himself world number 1 by flying next Saturday and the current number 1 ousted from its top position. Pitterka thus becomes the world record holder after having flown to 1582 different airfields.
The world champion flight will take place next Saturday, November 19, 2022. The flight with a 14-seat LET410 aircraft departs from Portoroz Airport in Istria (departure 12:15) to Aeroporto Giovanni Nicelli in Venice-Lido, the historical airport of Venice (Via R. Morandini, 9. 30126 Venezia VE), the still has a grass runway. And from where even scheduled flights to Austria took off in the 1930s. There are numerous fans of the new world champion on board.
Pitterka has been involved in this curious but ambitious competition since 1995, linked to a passion for aviation and global travel in general. His original motive for taking part: to overcome a pronounced fear of flying.
In order to fly to as many airports as possible, Pitterka has flown 2,928,010 kilometers in recent years. He had airborne 5,409.10 hours, circumnavigated the world 73.06 times and flew to the moon 7.617 times. Pitterka has flown to Everest Base Camp, the Caribbean island of Saba (the shortest airport) and Bar Yehuda Airport (the world’s lowest airport/minus 386 meters).
Most of his flights to airports worldwide departed from Salzburg (1063), his home airport. In achieving his airport ranking, Pitterka has traveled on 566 different types of aircraft and flown with 743 different airlines. On his worldwide travels, Pitterka landed or took off in 189 countries.
There were also numerous curiosities on the many flights. For example, on an approach to Pyongyang, North Korea, the sun visors had to be lowered for secrecy reasons, whereas they have to be raised on landings anywhere in the world. Pitterka experienced a flight cancellation at Mount Kenya Airport because a warthog family crossed the airfield shortly before landing. Pitterka’s attempt to reach Foula, the westernmost Shetland island, required 10 outbound attempts. Eight had to be aborted due to the weather, one because of a seagull in the engine and only one outbound attempt was successful.