Bhagat checks out SoFiA Tim E. (Tim the Inspector) planted the idea on January 24 2006 and Bhagat Dhillon brought to life the concept of trying to fly a small balsa model around the world, relying solely on the cooperation and commitment of the SFA community.

Bhagat assembled the pilots, selected the design of SoFiA, built the first shipping container, constructed this website and launched the first flight on July 23 2006. The photo on the right shows Bhagat checking SoFiA before its very first flight. (Sadly, as fate would have it, Bhagat passed on before he could see this dream completed.)

Hats off to the 32 American pilots who signed up and flew SoFiA as she made her way across the United States (their details are listed in the chart below).

Finally in the US, Art H. and Dave A. flew her in Florida before shipping her off for what would be a very long time away. Her first international destination was Argentina, where she was flown by Ernesto C.

Garth A. was next to fly SoFiA, in Cape Town, South Africa and in October of 2007 sent her on her way to Madrid – where she went missing. (On April 14 2008, Garth would rescue SoFiA from the undeliverable bin at the South African Post Office, and send her to Steve B. in Scotland for safekeeping.)

In February 2008, SoFiA II was built by Bob Isaacks (Duco_Guru) and a renewed effort to complete the journey where SoFiA left off commenced. With the passing of Bhagat, responsibility for coordinating the tour was undertaken by Joe Sullivan (Super64).

Bob C. showed her what university life was like.

Mark S. flew her last in Massachusetts and sent her over the border to Canada.

Jim M. flew her in Ontario and gave her a good send off to Scotland

Steve B. (JetPlaneFlyer) became our pivot man in Aberdeen. He received and flew SoFiA II before sending her south to England. He would also hand carry SoFiA back to US soil and send her off to Texas.

Kevin M. escorted SoFiA II to The Netherlands

Wout M. flew her there and sent her off to Sweden

Andrea H., the only female pilot on the list, flew SoFiA II as far north as she would ever see before sending her south again.

Johan W. got SoFiA II safely to Poland and the waiting arms of Hubert K.

Peter B. and Willi S. made her route through Germany smooth and quick.

Ludo de J., who gets the credit for naming our little plane SoFiA, flew her in Belgium and sent her on to Paris, to Nicolas E., who flew her in front of the Eiffel Tower, and then disappeared – both he and SoFiA II. Joe sent a message for help via back channels and Ludo made several valiant – but unsuccessful – attempts to call, email and Facebook Nicolas, trying to locate SoFiA II.

So, SoFiA II was deemed missing in action in October 2008.

Once again, not to be abandoned, SoFiA rose again in the form of SoFiA III, once more built and first flown by Bob Isaacks, who then sent her directly to Dennis K (staubkorb). in Vienna. This would begin the longest single accumulated mileage for any of SoFiA’s incarnations.

George K. (Kandylakis) flew her in Greece and got her to Australia. (Ramon K., battling cancer, graciously warned us in time that he was not able to fly her in the Philippines and sadly was bypassed.)

Matthew T. (Lemuel) greeted her as she landed in Australia, Paul W. (Pijuvwy) flew her in Bundaberg and then she was off to New Zealand

Neville M. (Kiwi) flew her at the southernmost point to which any of the three SoFiAs would go.

John M. C.. (Velojet) had to wait for the winter storms to die down before getting his flight in. John took on the responsibility for keeping these World Tour page up to date with maps (drawn by Joe), pictures and flight logs (with distances meticulously calculated by Joe). We would be hopelessly lost without being able to look here to follow her progress.

Bob H. (Scaler) and Bob H. (Vegasvulture2) were the first Americans to touch her after she reentered the US, and to show the Thunderbirds what they’re up against.

Bob welcomes SoFiA back Bruce R. (Bruce-ter) took time away from running the SFA Forum to give SoFiA a flight in Washington.

Jeff P. (RMFF) showed her to Colorado before sending her to Michigan.

Dirk K. (Kitzmiller), who was a behind-the-scenes contact for Joe during the hunt for SoFiA gave her a well documented run in Baroda.

Will H. (Willsplanes) gave her flight using the ‘finger-point’ technique and provided one of the best in-flight shots of her freewheeling.

Dan B. (Ludditedan), the last-in-line pilot on all three attempts finally got to see SoFiA III and put the stamp of completion on this event.

Mike I. (Balsabug) designed and built two shipping containers that cradled both SoFiA II and SoFiA III throughout their journeys. The stout design was conveyor steady and, unlike the original container, could never be mistaken for a pipe bomb.

Arjun Dhillon continues to keep SFA running after the passing of his father, giving us all a place to come and to contribute and participate in this grand and historic adventure.

Finally, a special tribute to Bob Issacks (Duco_Guru) (right), whose persistence never wavered in the face of missing aircraft and failing determination, builder of both SoFiA II and SoFiA III, now custodian of SoFiA and the single biggest reason we have made it here.

Flt #
Total Distance
14  23-Mar-09  Bob I. Jacinto City, Texas, USA 380 29,203
13  3-Oct-09 Dan B. Benton, AR, USA 608 28,823
12  17-Sep-09 Will H. Baroda, MI, USA 73 28,215
11  5-Sep-09 Dirk K. Lake Forest, IL, USA 899 28,142
10  29-Aug-09 Jeff P. Aurora, CO, USA 1,069 27,243
9   15-Aug-09 Bruce R. Everson, WA, USA 962 26,174
8   7-Aug-09  Bob H. & Bob H. Las Vegas, NV, USA 6,756 25,201
7   21-Jul-09  John M. C. Auckland, New Zealand 425 18,445
6   3-Jul-09  Neville M. Waitohi, New Zealand 1,727 18,020
5   14-Jun-09  Paul W. Bundaberg, Australia 1,085 16,293
4   6-Jun-09  Matthew T. Brisbane, Australia 8,988 15,208
3   26-Apr-09  George K. Thessaloniki, Greece 615 6,220
2   10-Apr-09  Dennis K. Vienna, Austria 5,605 5,605
1   23-Mar-09  Bob I. Jacinto City, Texas, USA 0 0
The World Tour was prematurely terminated for the second time when SoFiA II went MIA in France in October 2008. The Tour once more restarted, in March 2009 (exactly a year after the first restart), with SoFiA III, again built by Bob Isaacks as another exact replica of SoFiA I.
20 12-Oct-08 Nicolas E. Paris, France 170 9,208
19 28-Sep-08 Ludo de J. Nevele, Belgium 111 9,038
18 17-Aug-08 Willi S. Heinsberg, Germany 146 8,927
17 10-Aug-08 Peter B. Roedermark, Germany 508 8,781
16 26-Jul-08 Hubert K. Krakow, Poland 644 8,273
15 13-Jul-08 Johan W. Upplans Vasby, Sweden 706 7,614
14 13-Jul-08 Andrea H. Enskede, Sweden 15 7,629
13 29-Jun-08 Wout M. Nijmegen, Netherlands 338 6,908
12 31-May-08 Kevin M. Kippax, Leeds, England 82 6,570
11 11-May-08 Russ L. Leicester Forest East, Leicester, England 314 6488
10 10-May-08 Steve B. Aberdeen, Scotland 3311 6,174
9 15-Apr-08 Jim M. Ajax, Ontario, Canada 386 2,863
7 5-Apr-08 Mark S. Northborough, MA, USA, USA 914 2,477
8 1-Apr-08 Bob C. Ithaca, NY, USA 700 1,563
6 23-Mar-08 Tom B. Nashville, NC, USA 617 863
5 11-Mar-08 Mike M. Dallas, Texas, USA 246 266
4 1-Mar-08 Tom B. Friendswood, Texas, USA 20 20
3 1-Mar-08 Grant I. Friendswood, Texas, USA 20 20
2 1-Mar-08 Mike I. Friendswood, Texas, USA 20 20
1 1-Mar-08 Bob I. Jacinto City, Texas, USA 0 0
The World Tour was prematurely terminated following the prolonged disappearance of the original World Tour Flyer (SoFiA I). The Tour restarted in March 2008 with SoFiA II, built by Bob Isaacks as an exact replica of SoFiA I.
Garth ?.
Cape Town, South Africa
Our informal club of three all had go. We only hand wound her for she has the potential to want to fly to the next country!
Ernesto C.
?, Argentina
Art H.
Boynton Beach, FL, USA
480 turns.
Cesar P.
Daytona Beach, FL, USA
I did two flights, one lasted 10.31 secs and the second lasted 20.35 secs. On the first flight I wound the smallest rubber band with 215 hand turns and second flight went up to 250. It is an incredible flyer and a plesure to fly.
Bill C.
Kennedy Space Center, FL, USA
Flown outside the Astronaut Hall of Fame. It was a bit breezy so flights were done very cautiously with only a hundred winds or so.
Hollis F.
Barnwell, SC, USA
275 winds on the 1/8" motor: SoFiA climbed out straight on the initial burst then setteled into a nice right hand climb with a beautiful glide to the right. Flown at airport built to train Jimmie Doolittle's Raiders.
Tom B.
Raleigh, NC, USA
I went with the bigger rubber motor that was supplied with the plane, cranked some turns in and let it loose. Flight time was about 20 seconds in windy conditions. I did a second flight an hour later that resulted in another 20 second flight.
Sandy M.
Kittyhawk, NC, USA
Three flights made where the Wright Bros. made their first flight. On the third flight, Sofia climbed like a homesick angel to an altitude of about 30 feet and glided to a smooth landing. Wind: WSW 5-10 mph with occasional gusts to 15. 150 turns on 1/8th inch tan supplied with the model.
Ondrej M. and Alinda
State College, PA, USA
We really couldn't find an appropriate place to fly, so Alinda and I flew SoFiA (meaning 'wisdom' in Alinda's native Greek) in the HUB student union bldg on Penn State's campus. The poor airplane kept flying into things, so we didn't get any flights longer than a few seconds, but had fun anyway.
Fred R. and Hank N.
Johnson City, TN, USA
University Mini-Dome
The Mini-Dome has been used for 20 years of USIC/AMA Indoor Nats and Indoor World Championships in 1988 and 1990. The plane flew easily, but turned left under higher torque, but right as the torque declined. I think that this was due to a wing warp...Hank removed some but not all of it.
Wayne N.
St. Louis, MO, USA
Clydesdale Park
Found that SoFiA needed a repair to the wing mount. Got a flight in around 10 AM this morning, in strong wind conditions. Sunny day but chilly. Put in about 150 winds on the motor, and SoFiA did one circle for about 15 seconds.
Jack R.
Mentor, OH, USA
Flown indoors. First flight went ok, maybe 20 sec. Second flight... got stuck on a ledge. We managed to retrieve the plane with no damage ...whew! After a few more trim flights we went for time. First record time... 1:08 sec. Second record time... 94.1 seconds. Not bad for a gym flight. Ihave to give all the credit to Don S. Without his help, these times would have never been this high.
Tom G.
Mt. Pleasant, Ohio, USA
Temp was 20 degree's with light wind. Flight time was about 20 seconds as I didn't put many winds in her.
Reese O.
Charleston, WV, USA
Got 2 flights in between breeze lulls - still around 5 knots... looped 3 times nicely first crosswind launch... good glide... short wind as wind was uncertain... still had about 10 seconds... 200 turns on next flight... same nice looping climb to left - good glide downwind but only 12 seconds..
Rob W.
Wilmington, DE, USA
Got 2 flights off each about 20 sec. Launched into wind, climbed quite high, did a roll at the top then weathervaned directly into the wind a bit before getting blown downwind.
Ed T. and Alan C.
Naval Air Station Lakehurst, Hangar #1, New Jersey, USA
We flew her off the carrier deck inside the famous Hangar #1. Got in about 6 successful flights from Sofia, with at least 30 seconds each, I would estimate. (Who want's to look at stop-watches when you're having so much fun?).
Bob C.
Cornell University, NY
Flew indoors in the atrium of an engineering building on the Cornell University campus where I work. +/-250 turns on the 1/16" motor managed a climb to maybe 15 feet and about 3/4 of a circle to the left where it hit a wall.
Robert S.
Canton, MA, USA
Two flights early this morning 26ºf/-3ºc, light winds.
Steve K.
Beverly, MA, USA
I used the 1/16" square motor and about 250 (hand) winds. The flight was only about 10.6 seconds. She stalls, which I did not try to trim out. I did try several more flights, but did no better. A later flight in a breeze was much shorter; she does not handle wind well!
Ron G.
Montreal, PQ, Canada
Flown by FAC Squadron Escadrille Harfang at night-time.
Steve P.
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Flown in military gym, with 300 hand-winds on a 1/16" motor.
Jim M.
Ajax, Ontario, Canada, near the memorial to HMS Ajax
In a light breeze (towards the lake!) a careful, safe lowturns flight of about 15 seconds; Sofia has a pronounced right turn - warps look OK so a slight reduction in right thrust might be advisable.
Sam B.

Burlington, Ontario,

Flew indoors in the gymnasium used by my FAC squadron. Replaced motor with a loop of 1/16" X 7". Launched with 550 turns. It circled to the right as widely as the room would allow and landed at 32 seconds.
Tim E.
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
What a floater! About 500 un-stretched hand winds on a cold, tired motor gave a beautiful climb and floaty glide back down. I'm glad I flew in the evening or she would be gone!
Don B.
Saranac Lake, NY
Flew at the "High Peaks Fun-Fly" at Marcy Field in Keene, NY, located 20 miles east of Saranac Lake, NY. On 50 turns she flew straight ahead up to about 10 feet and then made a 180 degree turn to the right and began her descent.
Dirk K.
Lake Forest, IL
5:46pm-calm: 250 turns: Flys great, fast climb, turns left, affected by wind puffs. Jack S. timed flight & took photos-many thanks for the help.
Will H.
Baroda, Michigan
250 winds and let her go. I got two flights each 25 seconds. Must of got some good air. She flew like an angel. What a great experience.
Del O.
Deerfield, Illinois
Had to wait for bad weather to end. Sorry for the delay. 300 turns was all I
could put in, else it would have flown away.
Lyman H.
Merrill, WI
Launched with 200 winds: spiral dive to the right. Found bad warp in right wing. A bit of hot breath on her and tried again. 150 winds - launch - and success. Nice right climb to about 30 feet. Perfect!
Lee D.
Experimental Aircraft Association Museum (EAA), Oshkosh, WI
Only 50 hand-winds and she flew about 30 ft. high. Please be careful. She wants to go around the world in one launch!
LeRoy B.
Prairie Chicken Preserve, Wisconsin Rapids, W
(1st official flight - flown in MIMLOCT Cloud Tramp Launch) Good flyer from the git-go. Stays close. 500 winds, stretched X 2. Overcast day with light wind.
Bhagat D.
Oshkosh, WI (USA)
Initial trim flights required slight downthrust adjustment. Very stable & consistent flyer!