Elgen was the first to fly round-the-world over both poles, and set 15 world records doing it.
In 1971 Elgen Long finally accomplished his life long dream of flying around the world in a Piper Navajo nicknamed "Crossroads". His flight flew over both poles of the earth setting fifteen world records and firsts. Elgen touched down on all seven continents, including Antarctica. He also made the effort of finding Howland Island using the same techniques Amelia Earhart would have used in the 1930's. The flight received extensive media coverage during and after the twenty-eight day event.
In 1971, Elgen was able to use his arctic experience to accomplish several other firsts in exploration. He made a solo flight in a twin-engine Piper Navajo around-the-world over both the north and south poles. Elgen became the first man to cross Antarctica alone via the South Pole. The flight not only flew over the geographic south pole, but while making the first solo flight from McMurdo Sound to Sydney, Australia, Elgen flew over the south magnetic pole located at that time near Dumont d'Urville on Antarctica's Adelle Coast.
The record-shattering odyssey not only flew over both poles, but also crossed the equator at the prime meridian in the Atlantic and at the opposite point on the earth in the Pacific at the international-date-line. Touching down on all seven continents, Elgen set 15 world records and firsts. In recognition, "The Federation Aeronautique Internationale" presented him with their highest-flying award, the "Gold Air Medal".
For the flight over both poles Elgen used an "inertial navigation system". This was the first time it had ever been done. An attempt to use an inertial system on a Boeing- 707 was made earlier, but the unit failed and was not used over the South Pole. After Long's successful flight, the Antarctic support forces soon equipped their aircraft with this new and extremely useful navigation device. For his pioneering effort in demonstrating the inertial navigation system, he received the "Institute of Navigation's Highest Award of Outstanding Performance by a Practicing Navigator." He was thus honored to have received the world's highest awards in two separate disciplines: first as a pilot, then as a navigator.