Breaking the Glass Skies: World Record Setter Inspires Female Flyers

Caroline Lupini didn’t just break a world record, she smashed it out of the park.

In May 2021, Lupini became the first documented woman to fly a small, piston-engine aircraft to all 49 states, and with her flight instructor Chauncey Crail, also set a new record for the fastest time through the lower 48 states—a total of 11 days, 23 hours and 43 minutes, breaking the previous record by over four days (and that included a six-day mechanical stop in Colorado). The total trip time from Alaska was 13 days, 1 hour and 3 minutes.

As a full-time digital nomad (and credit cards and travel editor for Forbes Advisor) who spends most of her time location-hopping around the world, Lupini has spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours inside of all types of planes, but until recently never felt that actually flying a plane was that accessible to her.

“I’ve seen many of my male friends become pilots…..but never felt like the time was right to take the leap myself,” said Lupini.

Flight training typically involves completing a minimum of 40 in-flight hours, many under the tutelage of a certified flight instructor, a feat that’s difficult to achieve when you’re not in one place for very long. When the pandemic grounded Lupini’s ability to fly internationally as a passenger, she decided the time was right for her to try and complete the necessary training towards getting her pilot’s license, but she still didn’t want to stay in one place for all of it.

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