September 06, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Flight for the Human Spirit Arrives in Canada
Prince George, BC, Canada - The Flight for the Human Spirit arrived safely onto Canadian soil Friday morning as it touched down at Vancouver International Airport. This created a new chapter on the logbooks of a flight that has now successfully reached 20,000 miles.
"I am humbled and amazed," said Michael Combs as he stepped out of his Remos Light Sport Aircraft named "Hope One." "This journey has truly taken on a new dimension in every way when you think about involving so many of our Canadian friends. Bob and I have been overwhelmed by how nice and friendly everyone has been here in Prince George."
Bob Warner has been accompanying Combs on the Canada/Alaska portion of the trip because Canada does not allow a US certified Sport Pilot to fly into their airspace unless that pilot also holds a medical certificate. This is not a requirement in the U.S. Bob is the acting Pilot in Command while they fly internationally. This trip has significant historical value because a Light Sport Aircraft has never been flown into all fifty states.
Upon landing in Prince George, they were greeted by Robin Smith of the Prince George airport authority along with other community members. The flight from Kamloops, BC marked the 136th leg of The Flight, and brought the total distance traveled to within 17 miles of 20,000 of its' historic journey that originally took off in Salina, KS, USA last April. Some of the aircraft's decals had been stripped off by the rain and winds that the two experienced while flying to Prince George.
"The storms and weather patterns are different from what I've experienced anywhere else throughout this incredible trip," commented Combs. "The conditions changed rapidly from sunny to stormy, and from high cloud bases to low. When we were just 90 miles out from Prince George, we were listening to a passenger jet attempting his third landing right here due to the shifting winds and weather. That prompted us to monitor the weather information on board in order to determine what other alternatives we had before us. It's not like the U.S. where you have many airports to choose from at any given moment. Here in Canada you may have to fly another 100 miles to your next optional landing site. By the time we were thirty miles out, the winds were down to just 3 knots. It was a relief to say the least!"
The Flight for the Human Spirit has been grounded since landing in Prince George due to low cloud ceilings and rain. The mission control and flight teams are analyzing the weather trends and determining whether the Alaska touch down point will be Juneau, or Ketchikan. The final decision will be based on whether the clouds clear to the west on Tuesday, or to the east.
The window for landing at either location will close once again beginning Thursday until early next week due to rain in the forecast along the Alaskan Coast. This would leave the two pilots in Prince George waiting for their next opportunity to fly at a time when the temperatures continue to fall and the leaves continue to change.
"We'll continue to be safe and patient," said Combs. "Our families want us back, and at this point we will be glad to touch down at either location in Alaska if even for a few hours. This experience has helped us to realize that no matter how it unfolds over the next few days, there are a lot of people watching, praying, and hoping for a safe flight all the way to the end."
To follow The Flight for the Human Spirit, log on to: www.FlightHS.com
Photo Caption - The tail of Hope One displays the U.S. and Canadian Flags to symbolize the encouragement of all citizens to follow their dreams, no matter what they are.