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Father, son plan trip around the world in single-engine plane

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HENDRICKS COUNTY – A Plainfield man and his son are training to fly their single-engine plane around the world for charity.

Babar Suleman and his 17-year-old son Haris plan to take off from the Greenwood Airport on June 21 and spend 30 days flying to multiple cities around the world including London and Istanbul. Their longest stretch will the 13-hour flight from Hawaii to California.

“All told it will be about 25,000 statute miles,” said Babar Suleman.

Haris Suleman, a Plainfield High School junior, will be piloting the plane and the family said that could break a world record for the youngest person to fly around the world.

“I am awestruck,” said Haris Suleman. “First of all I’m flying, then I’m traveling, and then I’m seeing all these places and meeting all these people at the same time. I can’t imagine something better to do with my summer.”

The adventure is all for charity. The father-son duo hopes to raise money and awareness about Seeds of Learning, a part of The Citizens Foundation which sends poor children to schools all over the world.

“(This flight is) to promote not only the education of the underprivileged, but also to celebrate the fact that in the last 19 years The Citizens Foundation has been able to form 1,000 schools with 146,000 children.’

Before they take off, they have to get ready. The pair took FOX59 out to Hendricks County Aviation on Sunday to show us the plane. They are logging as many flight hours as possible, getting maintenance work done on the plane and adding an extra fuel tank for the long hauls. They’ve even taken emergency training in case the plane loses power over water.

The elder Suleman has some experience with emergencies. In 2008, his plane lost power and he had to land on I-70 in Hancock County. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

“I just did not have any fear, any feeling or anything at all,” recalled Suleman. “It was all very mechanical and I just did exactly as I taught.”

While they both have been told it’s a crazy idea, they are committed to taking this journey together.

“If you have the passion for it and if you really want to do it then you should do it,” said Babar Suleman.

The Citizens Foundation is hosting an International Festival to celebrate the launch of Babar and Haris Suleman’s Guinness World Record flight around the world for education. The public is invited to attend on Saturday, June 7 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Greenwood Municipal Airport on 799 E. County Line Rd. You can get updates about the trip here.