May 3, 2010

Flight Feeds the Human Spirit

flightforhumanspirit_explorer9_2.jpgI was blessed to be surrounded by people in my life who fostered the understanding that one should always follow their dreams and that one can do anything they put their minds to. It was with that support that I sought my dream of learning to fly back in 2004.

So when I heard the story of Michael Combs, a pilot who is flying a Light Sport Aircraft to all 50 States to spread the message "it's never too late to follow your dreams", I knew I had to meet him. This afternoon he arrived in Chicago at Chicago Executive Airport.

I worked with my flight club, Windy City Flyers, who were kind enough to offer Combs hangar space for his stay. They also invited Combs to share his message with the Aviation Explorer Post 9, a group of 14-21 year olds interested in aviation. It was great hearing Combs sharing his message with these kids and encouraging them to continue to foster their love for aviation or whatever other dreams they might have.

Combs admitted that he had two options when coming up with his Flight for the Human Spirit. He could wait until it was completely funded but then he might never have made it off the ground. Instead he built a plan and after gaining some momentum and support he took to flight. Each day as he spreads his message he is receiving more and more support and sure enough things are coming together for his Flight for the Human Spirit.

I invite you to visit the Flight for the Human Spirit to track his adventure. You can support the flight by making a donation on the site as well.

April 4, 2010

Two Aviation Adventures to Follow this April

One of my favorite things about being a private pilot is heading out for a cross-country flight. This month there are two exciting aviation adventures in which pilots will be flying aircraft literally across the country. One interesting thing is that in both cases the pilots are flying cross-country in Remos GX Light Sport Aircraft.

A year ago I would have been surprised at the prospects of flying far from home in a Light Sport Aircraft. However, while at AirVenture in Oshkosh this past summer, I had the opportunity to fly the Remos GX and was pleasantly surprised by its performance.


The Flight for the Human Spirit

flighthumanspirit.jpgMichael Combs was not satisfied with dreaming of flying. However, a history of heart problems had kept him grounded until the advent of the Sport Pilot License. The Sport Pilot License does not require an FAA Medical Certificate, with that hurdle out of the way, he jumped at the opportunity and earned his license to fly.

Now Michael is on a mission to spread the simple message that "It is never to late to follow your dreams." His goal is reach 20 million people with this message. What better way to do it than by continuing to follow his dream of flying. So Michael will depart on Tuesday from Salina, Kansas in a Remos GX Light Sport Aircraft on a journey to all fifty states, covering 19,400 miles enroute and visiting 135 cities.

One of the airports Combs will stop at is my home base, Chicago Executive Airport, just outside of Chicago. I was able to get support for his mission from my flight club, Windy City Flyers, who will be supplying a hangar for his aircraft during his visit. If you are in Chicago and would like to meet Combs, visit the Chicago Aviation Meetup Group as I am organizing a meet and greet for when he arrives.

You can follow the Combs's adventure and check-out his route on his website. If you use Twitter be sure to follow him (@combscoach) and the Flight for Human Spirit Mission Control (@fhsmissionctrl).

AOPA Road and Runway Rally
rally_homepage_banner2.jpgThe second adventure is AOPA's Road and Runway Rally. Two teams will depart from AOPA headquarters in Frederick, MD this Saturday, one in a Smart Car and the other in a Remos GX, enroute to Lakeland, FL home of the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In. As they make their way south they will compete in a variety of challenges, meeting in St. Augustine, FL to swap vehicles and continue to Lakeland.

Team Orville is made up by Alyssa J. Miller (@ajmalay), AOPA Director of eMedia & Wired.com Correspondent Jason Paur (@jasonpaur). Their competitors on Team Wilbur are Flight Training Deputy Editor Ian J. Twombly (@ijtwombly) and Motor Week Associate Producer Steven Chupnick (@motorweek).

You can follow this adventure on the Road and Runway Rally website, blog or twitter (#Fun2Fly)

As for my aviation adventures ... I hope to back in the sky before the end of the week, Mother Nature providing.