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                   The first crossing of the Atlantic in an ultralight aircraft / Rotterdam – New York / 1989-1990


                        The Royal Dutch Aviation Society bestowed on Eppo their highest medal of honour

      Comprehensive story

      Facts & Technicalities

      Media Exposure 1987 t/m 2009

      Commemorative Flight Certificate

Short History :

As early as 1982/83 the Dutchman Eppo Harbrink Numan intended to set an unprecedented achievement by becoming the first pilot to circumnavigate the globe in a flexwing ultralight aircraft. Unfortunately, at the time obtaining a waiver from the former USSR and the Peoples Republic of China was still an absolute impossibility. So to prove his point Eppo was forced to limit his journey around the world by only flying the most hazardous part . . .

The Atlantic Ocean

His trendsetting Atlantic crossing delivered the irrefutable proof to sceptics and future pioneers that even as early as 1989 circumnavigating the world in an ultralight would have been possible.

He proudly displayed on his fuselage the text of his artikel-31. proposal concerning man’s universal right to a protected and restored balance and purity of his natural world. Upon arrival, this was to be handed in person to the Secretary General of the UN, with the intent that it be added to the existing 30 Articles of - "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights "

    Stornoway Schotland - 1989

An ultimate achievement, which took four and a half years of backbreaking work, spiced with horrendous setbacks and bureaucratic hassles. Don’t ask how, but in the end his craft did roll out of the hangar. Thanks to the sale of his valuable antique furniture and collections of bric-a-brac, he managed to finance the final work on his machine and the last minute preparations for departure. In the summer of 1989 with no more than $2000 stuffed in his breast pocket he decided to leave.

Departure from Zestienhoven. (Rotterdam Airfield) June 16th. 1989

He conquered bitter opposition, flew miles and miles over icy waters, endless snowfields and drift ice, severe turbulence, at times flying upside down in cloud. In Iceland he caught the interest of the entire world press once they found out he was being stopped by the Danish Aviation authorities who had forbidden him to fly over Greenland. After months and months of lobbying, thousands of long distance phone calls, hundreds of faxes, in the end, only thanks to the intervention of the Dutch Queen and the Minister of Defence Frits Bolkenstein did he receive permission to fly over Greenland.

But now summer was nearing its end and the odd chance that the weather Gods were to favour him in autumn got slimmer an slimmer. Stubbornly he waited one more month in vain for the weather to turn. So he shipped himself and his machine back to the Netherlands, and returned the following year to continue his flight. To finance part-II he now also sold his house and restaurant. In the end his self-developed machine brought this modern Charles Lindbergh safely across the Atlantic, alive and kicking, ready to tell the tale!

Eppo Numan does give the odd promotional speech about his adventure, to be booked through the

Speakers Academy in Rotterdam. Tel: +31(0)10- / Or you can e-mail your request to :

info@speakersacademy.nl  - www.speakersacademy.nl

Overwintering in Holland, coming to terms with reality and licking his wounds, he decided to write his
own environmental slogan and stick it to his wing, a blue globe crossed with a red, white and blue
ribbon with the following message . . .


  Departing from Stornoway Scotland - 1989  


Crossing Iceland 1989                                 Crossing the Greenland ice cap1990              Crossing the Greenland ice cap1990

Glacier West Greenland 1990

Unfortunately, his arrival in New York coincided with the invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, which put an end to the prearranged initiative to let Eppo hand over his Article 31 proposal to the Secretary General, at the time the honourable Mr. Pérez de Cuéllar, during an official gathering of the General Assembly. It remained for Eppo to hand over his Article to Dr. Noel Brown, head of UNEP (United Nations Environmental Program) at a lunch in the VIP room of the UN building. Later that day he sat in as a guest of honour during the inauguration of Liechtenstein as a new Member State of the United Nations on 18 September 1990.

  Manhattan The Twin Towers  - 1990

  Arrival in New York - 2 August 1990

After many months of waiting in New York, still hoping for a chance to hand his proposal to the Secretary General, he decided to move on and fly criss-cross through the US to the Hopi Nation in Arizona, where he landed one early morning on the road, got one heck of a warm welcome, and there to Vernon Masayesva Chairman of the 'Hopi Tribal-Councel' he handed over his Article 31 and was requested to make a speech as well. Rise and shine early next morning, planting corn seeds all day long.     



Please permit me to share with you a copy of a telefax from Eric Hazelhoff Roelfzema, a Dutch WW-II hero, addressed to his son Eric and daughter in law Patricia Steur A man renowned throughout the Netherlands as The soldier of orange. An epic film about his war-time adventures was made bearing the same moniker. Signed BP (Big Pa).

One heck of a feather in my bonnet .. !!

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