Pilot lands in Hawaii near end of Amelia Earhart tribute flight

Pilot lands in Hawaii near end of Amelia Earhart tribute flight
Updated: Jul. 25, 2017 at 6:01 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nearly two months ago, aviator Brian Lloyd took off from an airfield in Fort Lauderdale inside a single engine aircraft.

The 63-year-old flight instructor from San Antonio, Texas, is following the flight path of Amelia Earhart's 1937 round-the-world attempt. He landed in Honolulu on Monday night.

"After having flown literally 28,000 miles in her shoes, my respect for her has risen a thousand fold," Lloyd says.

In his plane, which is named Spirit, Lloyd has already touched down in 20 different countries during what he calls 'a very difficult flight.' But it's also been memorable: over Brazil, for example, a military jet challenged why he was in that airspace.

In the skies near New Zealand, his engine suddenly quit over the ocean.

"Through using the electric fuel pump and manipulating controls, I was able to get the engine running well enough to get me back to New Zealand," Lloyd said.

Earhart was heading toward Howland Island when she disappeared. Lloyd dropped flowers over the site.

"To me, it was important to do that," he said.

His longest time in the cockpit was 17 hours, from Pago Pago to Honolulu. During his journey he has made many friends talking to some – mid-flight over a ham radio.

At every stop, well-wishers and people who have aided his journey autograph the exterior of his airplane.

"There is no such thing as a solo flight," he says. "This flight would not be possible without the assistance of literally hundreds of people on the ground everywhere."

Lloyd estimates that it cost around $60,000 to re-trace Earhart's route. Friends helped, but he put up most of the money himself. On Saturday he leaves Hawaii for the last leg to Oakland – and a final touch down.

"I don't plan to kiss the ground, but I may do a little dance when I get there," he said.

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