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- SEPTEMBER 4, 2021 -

Dario Costa writes a new chapter in aviation history in daring flight through Turkey’s Çatalca tunnels

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On Sept. 4, 2021, Italian aerobatic and racing pilot Dario Costa once again proved his precision and skill with a world-record-breaking flight through two auto tunnels near Istanbul, with Hamilton as Official Timing Partner.

After a year of planning and practice, Dario took off in the cockpit of a specially modified Zivko Edge 540 race plane just after dawn. Limited overhead clearance required him to maintain a steady flight path around 70 cm from the asphalt, and 4.0 meters from each wingtip to the tunnel’s concrete sides.

Completely enclosed and in near-darkness, Hamilton ambassador and Red Bull athlete executed a tricky takeoff in the first tunnel, continued through an open-air gap and then into the second tunnel – all at 245 km/h, flying less than one meter from the ground.

Forty-three seconds later, Dario had flown 1,730m, reaching an average speed of 245 km/h and set a new World Record for the Longest Tunnel Flight.

Originally launched in 2014, the Khaki Aviation Takeoff Automatic Chronograph features a unique function created to meet the needs of pilots: a removable case and mount. Wearers can ‘takeoff’ the case without removing the full watch and attach it to its fixed mount on a cockpit dash.

In celebration of Dario’s record-breaking flight, we worked with him to produce a new Khaki Aviation Takeoff Automatic Chronograph – a special edition limited to 100 pieces, the number a reference to the maximum possible flying height of 100cm inside both tunnels.

“The moment I put power in, I knew I had to do it properly. I just followed what I’d been rehearsing in my brain and it was kind of an automatic flow. I had to do it without thinking.” Dario Costa


Khaki Navy Scuba AutoKhaki Navy Scuba Auto

With a focus on counting every second up to 43 – the length of Dario’s tunnel flight – we added extra layers of Super-LumiNova® on the central seconds hand and seconds indicators up to 43. To ensure Dario’s focus even in the tunnel’s darkness, there is no Super-LumiNova® on the remaining indicators or the hour and minute hands.

Powered by our H-31 automatic chronograph movement, the 46mm Takeoff features two sub dials and a bi-directional turning flange for easy countdowns. As a nod to the dangerous tunnel flight, the limited edition piece features yellow-ringed counters: The 12 o’clock sub dial has been adapted to a 15-minute countdown to correspond with the maximum stunt duration, and at 6 o’clock is a 60-second counter.

“The seconds hand is the only visible moving element on the dial of the watch, which allows me to focus on the one thing I need to know: precise timing.” Dario Costa