Dario Costa, a professional race and stunt pilot broke the Guinness Book of World Records on Saturday by flying a race plane through two enclosed car tunnels just outside Istanbul.
The Italian modified his Zivko Edge 540 race plane inside one of the twin Çatalca Tunnels on Turkey’s Northern Marmara Highway and then continued his 245kph flight through the second tunnel, flying less than 1m from the tarmac, rewriting aviation history.
The 41-year-old had spent over 5,000 hours in the air – more than half in high-performance aerobatics – with over two decades of flying expertise and several aviation exploits to his credit. He’d even won the Red Bull Air Race Challenger Class, making him the first Italian to do so.
From takeoff till entering the second tunnel, the plane travelled 2.26 kilometres. In less than 44 seconds, Dario Costa set a certified Guinness World Record plus four more.
During the Tunnel Pass journey, Costa was presented with a certificate for achieving a Guinness World Record for the Longest Tunnel Flown Through with an Aeroplane (1,610m). The other four major records were the first aeroplane flight through a tunnel, the longest flight beneath a solid barrier, the first aeroplane flight through two tunnels, and the first aeroplane exit from a tunnel.
“Everything seemed to be going so fast,” Costa recalled, “but as I came out of the first tunnel, the plane started to drift to the right due to the crosswinds, and everything slowed down in my brain at that moment.” I reacted quickly and concentrated only on putting the plane back on track to enter the opposite tunnel. According to Red Bull’s official website, “everything sped up all over again in my thoughts.”
“I’d never flown through a tunnel before – no one had ever done it before – so there was a big question mark in my brain about whether everything would work as planned,” Costa continued. “Of course, it was a huge relief, but the overwhelming sensation was a joy. It’s another dream come true for me.”