Last Thoughts Before The Flight
As I sit in my office, my mind is filled with thoughts and images of the last few days. The e-mails, phone calls, charts reviews, and flight data all seem to melt into one constant blurred image, but yet they all point to one thing...this flight is really going to happen.
Few people know that I've been planning this particular flight leg for years. It has been as much of a calling to me as The Flight for the Human Spirit itself. I've thought of flying from Denton to Branson over and over and over again. Even when Michele and I landed in Branson last year, I told them that I would be back to set a world record there. If anyone doesn't believe me, just give me a little time...and I'll make it happen.
I flew Hope One to Ft Worth today. They were all fantastic which made me wonder why I hadn't flown in there sooner. The tower had cleared me to land on runway 16 but suddenly they had an emergency on their hands as another aircraft had lost all oil pressure. The controller quickly had me climb to 3,000 and divert to the west while he dealt with getting that aircraft on the ground. They routed me to the north for about five miles and had me turn right and head back in. The equipment was on the runway so they cleared me to land on runway 17 instead. After landing, the tower apologized to me for the delay to which I responded, "That's okay...it gave me an excuse to fly a little longer."
"I hear you," he replied.
Hope One is in the care of the fine people at Texas Jet tonight. They are very excited to be a part of Aviation History and showed great interest in the REMOS. What a professional group of people who have managed to move up into one of the top twenty FBO's out of over 150 that I've visited. They even donated fuel and hangar space for us which is always verrrry much appreciated.
The last time an aviation record was set in Ft Worth was by Steve Fossett back in February of 2003. I thought of that as I lined up to land on 16, and I'm sure that I'll take off from there tomorrow. Steve's path and mine cross once again in a strange way. I wish that I could have met him, for he has left a legacy on my heart. Breaking out of his mold, I fly onward to Branson, MO where no aviation record, (national or world) has ever been set. Wow.......... My heart feels funny thinking of what this flight tomorrow will bring for years to come.
For me, it is a very humbling experience...it's almost too much to digest. What does it all mean?
I'm not doing this for the glory or the fame, you haven't followed The Flight if you believe that I am. I'm doing this because I said I would. I'm doing this for the many others who need flights like this in order to celebrate aviation and the human spirit that resides in us all. I'm doing this for the great group of friends at Polytech High School in Delaware, or for the young people that I have met in Lake Havasu, Carson City, Long Beach, Tampa, Ocala, Minot, Ketchikan, Denton, Lewisville, Chicago, Dayton, Columbus, Indianapolis, Oshkosh, Syracuse, Kitty Hawk, Norfolk, Memphis, and many many other places. These young people have had a thought, an urging to follow a dream of their own planted in their minds and sitting here I can still see every one of their faces. I'm doing this for those fans who know The Flight for the Human Spirit better than I do. I'm doing this because we ALL need to dream again - ALL OF US! The world needs more flights, it needs more new restaurants, it needs to more mended relationships, and it needs to be told that it is okay to dream again...it's okay.
Lastly, I am dedicating this flight to the wonderful REMOS team. Until tomorrow, there are no aviation records that have been set in a REMOS, yet through this flight it has proven itself to be an amazing aircraft in every way. To every employee, dealer, owner, or pilot...I proudly strap in tomorrow for you. I hope to do you very proud.
I can't wait to see Branson but yet am amazed that it's possible to climb into an aircraft like Hope One and fly it over a distance that used to take weeks or more by horseback. I will enjoy every moment of this particular flight as I have all along. We'll document it, record it, and shoot plenty of photos. Rest assured that when I step onto the Missouri soil tomorrow, there will be a sigh of relief and a feeling of comfort knowing that we've done it, we've set a new world record. My hope is that it will spark others to do the same whether it is in aviation, running, swimming, painting, or yes...even eating. I want to see every person excel and find their own greatness!
The glory behind this particular flight lies in what others choose to do with it...For that... I cannot wait!!!
I know that you are watching all around the world tomorrow because you have told me so.
Thank-you my friends. It gives me incredible comfort to know that I have never flown alone during The Flight for the Human Spirit. It is a simple fact that warms my heart to its core even now as I am writing this. It is a simple fact that I have never taken for granted.
Take care, and I'll see you...in the sky.