East Hampton, US–William Meyer Jr. of Amagansett and Florida and Margaret Waltz of Pennsylvania had arrived safely after flying through several time zones and over the North Atlantic, setting a record time of 15 hours, 23 minutes.
Margaret Waltz, left, and William Meyer next to the TBM 850 they flew
The team took off from Tarbes-Lourdes-Ossun International and landed at six airports in all: Glasgow, Keflavik in Iceland, Narsarsuaq in Greenland, Goose Bay in Canada, Bangor, Me., and East Hampton.
“It was a great flight,” said Ms. Waltz, who delivered the first TBM 850 to this country, serial number 3. Ms. Waltz, who learned to fly from a fighter pilot in Germany, when she was 17, said, “I am German by birth, American by choice and by heart.”
“I have never met anyone like this person in 40 years of flying,” said Mr. Meyer, whose father was also a private pilot and whose daughter Nicole works at Jet Blue headquarters in Forest Hills, Queens.
“This lady is the equal of Amelia Earhart, in my opinion. She piloted more than 700 trans-Atlantic flights and has flown multiple times around the world. She was so cool, calm, and collected; she never raised her voice, and her timing is impeccable. She was so beyond any person I have ever met where it comes to flying capabilities,” he said.
The TBM 850, an all-hand-built, single turbine-engine plane, was built by Socata for the French military as a training plane for its pilots. Mr. Meyer said, “It can fly almost 400 miles an hour at 31,000 feet. It’s the fastest single-turbine engine in the world. It has range. You can put 850 pounds in addition to fuel; it can fly 1,700 miles before it needs more fuel. At 1,825 shaft horsepower, you can get from the ground to 26,000 feet in 15 minutes.”