Saturday is a big day for The Flight for the Human Spirit.
Before I took off from Salina, KS I stated that I would set six new world records in Hope One. Originally, it was our plan to incorporate several of these legs into The Flight route itself; but my philosophy in life is to aim as high as you possibly can, and we just ran out of the time that it takes to research and make the proper arrangements for such attempts. As it has ended up, the timing has worked out better for the fans of The Flight as we have more people following now than ever.
By simply flying this incredible mission, we've already set two new records:
- The most stops ever flown on a trip: Branson, MO will be stop number 170, (that's a bunch of airports).
- The furthest distance flown by an unmodified Light Sport Aircraft on a trip, (currently over 27,300 miles).
As amazing as these accomplishments are, in order to truly make sure that this incredible REMOS is museum worthy when it touches down in Honolulu we've got to set some NAA/FAI sanctioned world records. This is rare for a small aircraft like this as most people think that in order to set a record you've got to have an aircraft that will fly over 500 miles per hour. Yet there is a classification that Hope One fits into by world standards, and the world is full of possibilities of every kind if you are daring enough to take a look.
Originally the plan was to set the record by flying from Denton, TX (our home base) and flying to Branson, MO. I actually chose Branson many years ago long before I had my pilot's certificate because it is a town that I fell in love with before it emerged on the music scene. Nestled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains it is picturesque and full of amazingly nice people. Unfortunately Denton was not going to work as a point of departure due to an FAI rule that required us to take off no more than 2% of the total distance from the center of a recognized city. In this case, the recognized city is Fort Worth, TX. Two percent for this particular flight equated to flying a distance of 1,250 miles, (further than what I had planned, and much further than necessary for this purpose). So we scrambled and moved the take-off airport to Meacham Field in Fort Worth which involved establishing new contacts and making the necessary arrangements. My hat is off to the great team at Meacham who have rallied behind this endeavor and opened their arms wide to The Flight for the Human Spirit!
In researching the records, the last World Record set in Fort Worth was established by Steve Fossett in February of 2003 as he flew from El Paso, TX to Fort Worth with Joseph Ritchie in a Piaggio...so we are indeed in very good company with this endeavor. Their speed was over 567 miles per hour, which is a little bit faster than Hope One will experience on Saturday even with a good strong tail wind.
There are not currently any aviation world records set in Branson, MO so this will be a particularly great day as we will be bringing aviation history to Branson in several ways. Mayor Raeanne Presley will be attending to witness the event and will also help to affix the "World Record" decal onto Hope One. It sounds like we'll have great support in Branson as we give them a new world record and publicity to the world of aviation for years to come. We'll also be surpassing the overall distance flown by any Light Sport Aircraft on a trip while we are on this leg which will provide another record so when we land that will be two new records set. This flight will provide great acknowledgement of their beautiful new airport as well. If you haven't seen it, make it a point to fly into Branson.
So...why am I doing this?
It's simple...my goal in The Flight for the Human Spirit is to encourage others to follow their dreams by demonstrating just what a person can do if they set their mind to it. While planning the route through the U.S, so many people had told me that a Light Sport Aircraft isn't fast enough to set any world records so that became a challenge to myself to turn that myth into a reality. I want to show others the process of setting a sanctioned aviation world record in hopes that it will encourage others to go out and set records in their respective fields of interest. With the amazing reach that we now have around the globe, I know that this flight will inspire others to go for the gold wherever they are, and strive for greatness in whatever they desire. As you know, I firmly believe that there is greatness in every man, woman, and child around the world, and if we can plant more of those seeds in the minds and hearts of others...then it is well worth the effort!
This will also officially put REMOS in the history books. They have built an amazing aircraft that has been tested beyond measure. Hope One has been shaken more than any way that you can imagine. She has endured winds, dust, rain, snow, been bounced by wind shears and landed at a large variety of airports throughout the US and Canada...yet if you looked at her today, you would agree that she still looks brand new. I am amazed at how tight the controls are, and how this aircraft handles so flawlessly even after flying further than around the world. This flight is dedicated to the entire REMOS team who build them, sell them, and fly them. They deserve this first sanctioned flight more than anyone I know.
If you are close to Ft Worth on Saturday morning the 9th of July...then come on over and wish us well. Michele and I will be making the flight and as anyone can tell you, I'm very enthusiastic not only about flying...but about life itself. If you are in the Branson, MO area, we'll be touching down there sometime in the late morning and celebrating with you on this significant accomplishment. And, if you can't make it to be there in person...go to www.FlightHS.com and you'll find everything that you need to follow all of the excitement of The Flight. You'll be able to track Hope One live via satellite that is updated every two minutes, and there will be photos, Tweets, and Facebook updates throughout the morning as conditions allow. You'll even be able to post your own comments and questions.
All in all, this is a great time for The Flight for the Human Spirit. We are accomplishing our goals and nearing the final touchdown in Honolulu and bringing millions to a new awareness that dreams are possible, as long as we never....EVER give up.
I'll see you...in the sky.