This Father-Son Pilot Duo Celebrated Canada 150 With a Trip Around The World

Father and son, Steven and Bob Dengler pose in front of their helicopter with their arms crossed, wearing black pilot uniforms.

A father and son circled the globe for Canada 150, making history of their own.

In December 2015, Steven Dengler, 48, and his father, Bob, 77, posed the question: how can we celebrate 150 years of Canadiana for our home and native land’s big birthday in 2017? Then inspiration struck: they were both trained helicopter pilots, so why not fly?

The C150 Global Odyssey, the first Canadian circumnavigation of the world by helicopter, was born. After 18 months of planning, the father-son duo achieved liftoff on July 1, 2017.

Over the next 48 days, the team flew a Canadian-made Bell 429 helicopter 37,000 kilometres, spanning 14 countries – and right into the history record books as the first-ever father-son circumnavigation by any type of aircraft. “As an official Canada 150 event, our trip visited many sites significant to Canadian history,” says Steven, “including the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, Baddeck Bay in Nova Scotia, Signal Hill in Newfoundland, Canada House in London and Vimy Ridge in France.”

Once back home, the pilots hit another personal history high. In December, they met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and presented him with the Canada 150 flag, which had flown with them. Trudeau had followed their journey. “One of the proudest moments in my life,” Steven posted on Twitter. “I’m proud to say we carried the banner and spirit of Canada around the world.”

A version of this story appeared as “Pilot Project” in the March 2018 issue of Zoomer Magazine, pg. 46.