July 09, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Combs Sets New Aviation World Record in LSA
Branson, MO - Michael Combs touched down in Branson, MO at 11:41 CDT today setting a new World Record as he flew his REMOS Light Sport Aircraft from Ft Worth, TX. The record was sanctioned by the National Aeronautical Association, (NAA) and was for Time over Distance in this class of aircraft.
"I can't believe it" exclaimed Combs as he stepped out of his aircraft named "Hope One." "It feels fantastic, and quite an accomplishment. After all of the planning that went into this particular flight leg, I am very relieved to now have it behind us."
Few people know that Combs had actually been planning this flight since May of 2009. He had many hurdles to conquer in the process that ranged from obtaining the aircraft, getting permission to use the Traffic Controllers at Branson Airport, and even finishing his flight training.
"Yes, it's true," admitted Combs. "I was planning on World Record Flights and what the legs would be even before I had my pilot's license. That's kind of how I roll I guess. You've got to see it and believe it, no matter what ‘it' is. For me, setting World Records in Aviation was something that I could do in order to show everyone that it's possible to find that inner greatness that resides in each of us. My hope is that everyone will step up and pursue their own dreams, no matter what they are... with fervor, and strive to find their own records to break."
For several days prior to the take-off, Combs had let his fans know that his team was closely monitoring a weather front that was drifting south from Oklahoma and crossing his flight path. Winds were the primary concern that ended up nearly cancelling the flight after he had taken off.
"Due to the busy airspace around the DFW area, the controllers had me level out at 3,500 ft. Once north of Denton, they cleared me to climb and as I did, I noticed a head wind at about five thousand feet. The on-board computers were telling me that based on the current flight conditions, I wouldn't have enough fuel to complete the total distance. In fact, all calculations indicated that unless the winds changed, we would fall short by about eighty miles. I was prepared to turn back, but wanted to cross the front first and see what the conditions to the North were like before making that tough decision."
Fortunately the winds turned to a more northwesterly direction at 8,000 ft which allowed the flight to continue. The unofficial average speed was 106.32 miles per hour over a straight line flight distance of 349 miles. Once the official timing documents are received from both time keepers, then the event will become certified as an Aviation World Record.
Combs and his wife Michele were warmly greeted by dignitaries from the Branson Airport, the City of Branson, and the City of Hollister. This was a particularly noteworthy event as it was the first World Record for Aviation ever set in the Branson area. "What an exciting day for the Branson Airport and Branson JetCenter," stated Jeff Bourk, Executive Director of the Branson Airport. "We are thrilled to be the site of this world record setting moment in aviation history."
Branson was the 170th stop on The Flight for the Human Spirit which is a mission that began in April of 2010 in which Combs has endeavored to touch down in all fifty of the United States. So far he has flown into 49 states and Canada with only Hawaii remaining. His flight distance is now estimated to be nearly 28,000 miles on a journey that many originally thought would fail in its early stages.
"I had great flight training from US Aviation in Denton," remarked Michael. "They knew the scope of this mission and really were very professional in giving me the proper orientation for a flight of this magnitude. Here I was, a new pilot with limited experience setting out on a flight that would end up being further than around the world and with more stops than any other trip in aviation history. But I had great people behind me, and millions of loyal fans who have been a fantastic support base to offer encouragement along the way. I've never been alone during this trip...never."
When asked about how he was progressing toward Hawaii, Combs smiled and replied, "I'm knocking on doors every single day. We need to ship it, and we will find a way to ship it over there. We're raising funds through donations and soliciting sponsors. One thing for sure is that it will happen. No one can fly this far and give up...that's just not what I'm about."
For more information on The Flight for the Human Spirit including Live satellite tracking, Facebook and Twitter updates throughout The Flight, go to: www.FlightHS.com Sponsorship inquiries should be directed to media@FlightHS.com
Photo Caption - Michael Combs gives the "Thumbs Up just prior to taking off from Ft Worth, TX on a World Record Setting Flight that ended in Branson, MO