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Chinese explorer couple plan round-the-world flight

By Tian Xuefei in Harbin and Liang Shuang in Beijing | | Updated: 2017-01-18 17:30

A Chinese couple with a penchant for adventure are planning a 80,000-kilometer round-the-world flight that will visit five continents, including Antarctica.

Zhang Xinyu and his wife Liang Hong plan to begin their journey by flying in a Chinese-made plane from Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, to North America.

Their itinerary will take them over the Amazon rain forests of Brazil and Chile’s Atacama Desert on to the South Pole.

After Antarctica they plan to fly to Africa, visiting Ethiopia and Kenya, before eventually returning to China via Southeast Asia.

To prepare for the undertaking, the couple completed a six-month-long training session that taught them skills such as flying at night or in complex weather conditions, as well as plane maintenance.

According to the couple, only about 200 people are thought to have completed such an expedition and it is the first time that a Chinese-made plane will be used.

The plane, called the Y-12, is a twin-engine utility aircraft built by Harbin Aircraft Industry Group, with a range at about 1,300 kilometers.

Zhang and Liang are no strangers to adventure. They have driven through war-torn Somalia and the radiation-racked Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in the past, as well as sailing the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. There are even three seasons of a reality television show called "On the Way" documenting their adventures.

"We simply want to realize the dreams of common people, to challenge ourselves more," said Liang. "We hope our stories will inspire people, and let them see the warmth and light of life."

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