It took him more than six months to do what he'd planned would take eight weeks, but a seaplane pilot circled the globe landing only on water.
Pilot Tom Casey overcame bureaucratic delays, surgery in Saudi Arabia and a crash landing in Alaska during his record-setting trip."Sorry I'm late, but I'm here," Casey told the crowd of admirers that gathered to watch him land Tuesday on Lake Washington.
Casey claimed the title of first person to fly around the globe landing only on water, when his single-engine Cessna 206 equipped with pontoons dropped out of a cloudy sky onto the lake where he had started his trip six months earlier.
Casey, 53, said he persevered because of a desire to finish what he'd started, and "basically, having to get the airplane back home. There was no other way to get it back."
He took off and landed more than 75 times on oceans, lakes and rivers in 20 countries.
The original plan was for Casey to fly westward beginning May 20, arriving back in Seattle in time for the Goodwill Games that began in late July.
Last spring he arrived in Anchorage intending to fly west to the Soviet Union. But after failing to win timely permission to enter that country he returned to the continental United States, flew to the East Coast and across the North Atlantic, Europe and Asia.
In Pakistan and Greece, he encountered delays, and in Saudi Arabia he was hospitalized for nearly a month for back surgery.
Casey had said his most difficult bureaucratic snafu, gaining clearance to enter India from Pakistan, took 21 days to resolve.
Casey challenged other Americans to go out and test themselves. "People should go out and try to break records," he said.