Flying a Plane Through Two Tunnels
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Race and stunt pilot Dario Costa of Italy sets a new world record with a 245kph tunnel pass flight outside Istanbul, Turkey on September 4, 2021.

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"I’d never flown in a tunnel in my life – nobody had ever done it."  Surrounded by the concrete arc of the walls, Costa took off in the dim light of the first tunnel at 6:43 am local time, with the early hour putting the sun at his back and offering optimal ambient conditions.  Limited overhead clearance meant that he had to keep the aircraft on a flight path just above the asphalt while also managing a claustrophobic margin of only about four metres between each wingtip and the unforgiving walls.  Changes to airflow, combined with the highly sensitive steering of the aircraft, required reaction times of less than 250 milliseconds as Costa executed fine hand movements of mere millimetres throughout the flight.  One of the most critical moments came when the plane flashed through the 360m gap between the tunnels, which exposed the lightweight aircraft to crosswinds as Costa prepared to thread it into the narrow opening of the second tunnel.  “Everything seemed to be happening so fast, but when I got out of the first tunnel, the plane started to move to the right because of the crosswinds and in my head, everything slowed down in that moment," explained Costa. "I reacted and just focused on getting the plane back on the right path to enter the other tunnel. Then in my mind, everything sped up all over again.” As Costa continued, he was averaging 245kph while also managing changes in the second tunnel’s incline and shape.  When the race plane shot out of the other side, the Italian pulled it into a celebratory loop before landing.
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