Michael Combs' 50-State Odyssey Continues
Michael Combs in Hope One
April 29, 2010 — Novice sport pilot Michael Combs is on his way to complete his dream of flying in all 50 states in his Remos GX light sport aircraft. Seldom has a new pilot still fresh out of training had the chance to test and practice all of his skills so thoroughly. He is discovering every day all the little problems that veteran pilots know can occur when flying cross-country.
Unexpected weather changes, a deserted airport, closed restrooms, hotel reservations made for the wrong date, and a controller who sequenced his light-sport aircraft to land behind a Southwest 737 are just a few examples. The reception Michael has received at most airports, at media events, and speaking engagements, however, tell him he is achieving his goal to inspire millions to realize, “It’s never too late to follow your dreams.”
The scheduled departure of his “Flight for the Human Spirit” from Salina, Kansas, on April 5 was delayed a few days because of weather, but as of May 1 he had completed nine of the 40 flying days on his itinerary. Upon reaching Dayton, Ohio, this week, he has flown 38 of the 136 intended legs of his journey. The 19,400 mile flight plan on his list of stops shows he is typically flying 4 legs per day. The trip from Kansas to New York was blessed with good weather and there were fans waiting for him at most airports due to the updates posted on his Facebook page. While in Washington D.C., he and his wife, Michele, took time to visit the Smithsonian. On day four, pilot fatigue and the pressure of flying around highly controlled airspace caused him to draw a blank when controllers cleared him to land on runway 33. He made the right move and asked for help to identify the correct runway.
After leaving New York, it was on to Bangor, Maine and then westward past Niagara Falls to Pennsylvania and Ohio, where storms halted his progress for a time. He's currently in Indianapolis waiting out the weather, and will proceed to Illinois and Wisconsin. Combs is expected to arrive at Oshkosh on Wednesday, May 5.