By ANN Correspondent Rob Milford
50 flags from 50
states, one from D.C. and one from Puerto Rico. When the EAA puts
their mind to something, it usually happens, and they were all
smiles when Exec. V.P. Bob Warner took the stage in Kitty Hawk to
thank all the members who flew to Kitty Hawk and First Flight field
with their state flags.
In honor of the Centennial of Flight, that mission has been
underway for the last year. The flags are flown here, it's raised
up the flag pole, pictures are taken, handshakes made.
The aircraft ranged from a Falcon 50 to some guys from Maine who
did it in powered parachutes, and took 4 or 5 days. There was the
Super Cub from Alaska.
There was Alabama's Ron David, who took 10 hours in his L-19
Birddog, appropriate for a retired Colonel who learned in that type
of aircraft. Wyoming's Tim Hu, who took 7 days flying the airmail
route from his home in Cheyenne, and, like the airmail days, got
grounded by weather for four days in Dayton, and managed to see all
the IMAX movies at Wright Pat's AF Museum.
Colorado sent Donna
Miller, a laid-off American Airlines 737 pilot, who wears a small
piece of the Wright Flyer around her neck. A gift from a friend who
had his pilot's license signed by Orville Wright, that little scrap
of fabric has flown at least once with Eileen Collins on her space
shuttle flights, and on a sunny Monday afternoon, it was literally
in the shadow of Kill Devil Hill, 100 years later.
Illinois Charles Taylor. The grandson of the man who made the
engines for the Wright Brothers. He came down in his 172 with his
flight instructor, at the time, a laid-off airline pilot, who's
cell phone rang at Kitty Hawk, with a job offer.
There are stories that go with every pilot who made the trip,
like Gina Montgomery from Pennsylvania, Johnny Smith from
Mississippi, California's Martha King (pictured right), and Utah's
Mark Reynolds. They're all listed at the EAA's website.
The EAA sums it all up by saying, "This allowed individual
pilots to participate in the Centennial of Flight in a way that
celebrates the freedom of flight." There were proclamations from
Legislatures and Governors to go along with the flags, all of which
had flown over the State Capitol buildings.