Captain Gordillo is also the only pilot to ever fly
a single-engine aircraft across the continent of Antarctica.

Coppell, TX, (January 03, 2017)  — Representatives of Superior Air Parts, Inc., would like to congratulate Captain Michel Gordillo on being the first pilot recognized by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (F.A.I.) to not only circumnavigate both the North and South Poles in a homebuilt aircraft weighing under 1,750 kilograms (3,858 pounds), but to also be the first ever to fly a single-engine aircraft across Antarctica.

“This is an amazing and truly historic adventure. We are extremely proud that Mr. Gordillo put his trust in a Superior XP-360 Engine to power the Vans RV-8 ‘Sky Polaris’ aircraft he built for this challenging flight,” stated Scott Hayes, Superior Air Parts’ Vice President, Sales and Marketing.

“I chose the Superior XP-Engine because of the materials quality, closer tolerances, roller lifters and better oiling of the crankshaft,” Gordillo said. “Superior’s craftsmen built the engine for me and it delivered the performance and efficiency I needed during my flight.”

Gordillo said that engine fuel efficiency and reliability were key because of the long expanse of area he needed to cover flying east-to-west from Hobart Cambridge, Tasmania over the South Pole to Marambio Base, Antarctica and back up to Ushuaia, Argentina.

“That leg was over 4,700 kilometers and took me directly over the South Pole with only one stop,” he said. “During its 10-year construction, I made many modifications to my RV-8 to hold as much fuel as possible for this critical stage. Running out of fuel was not an option.”

Sky Polaris record-setting trip highlights:

  • Miles traveled: 47,475
  • Kilometers traveled: 76,400
  • Longest leg: 4,735 kilometers
  • Countries visited: 25
  • Hours flown: 305
  • Highest altitude: 15,500 feet
  • Fuel capacity: 192 U.S. gallons (730 liters).


Gordillo built the Vans RV-8 with the help of his three daughters, Lorena, Anaelle, and Marta, in his garage. “The main modifications I made during building were to the fuel system and wing fuel tanks,” Gordillo said. “I have a full leading-edge wet wing and that meant I had to move the landing light to the wing tip.”

Along with fulfilling the dreams of a true adventurer, Gordillo explained that the primary mission for Sky Polaris’ record-breaking flight was to gather critical data on the build up of black carbon in the Earth’s atmosphere in remote regions of the world.

“The study, ‘Absorbing aerosols monitoring over remote regions,’ is made by the University of Granada under the supervision of Dr. Lucas Alados and his team,” Gordillo said. “The data is gathered by special scientific equipment like LIDARS and Aethalometers. My aircraft was equipped by an Aerosols Aethalometer.”

“Because of its altitude and airspeed, the Sky Polaris has retrieved some very unique data from the atmospheres over big oceans, the Arctic, Antarctica, the Amazon region and desert areas I crossed during my flights,” he said. “The data is very good and will be distributed to scientists all over the world.”

To learn more about Captain Gordillo and his Sky Polaris project, visit:


About Captain Michel Gordillo

Michel Gordillo recently retired as an Airbus A320 captain for Spain’s Iberia Airlines. He also served in the Spanish Air Force and was an Advanced Navigator with the U.S. Air Force. He currently has over 15,000 hours of flight time. He lives in Madrid, Spain with his family.


About Superior Air Parts, Inc.

Superior Air Parts, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Superior Aviation Group. Founded in 1967, Superior Air Parts is the leading manufacturer of FAA approved aftermarket replacement parts for Lycoming and Continental aircraft engines. In addition, the company manufactures the FAA certified Vantage Engine and the XP-Series Engine family for experimental and sport aircraft builders. For more information, visit:

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