Cross this big country east to west in a day? …in a Light-Sport Aircraft? Yup! On June 8, pilots Matt Hansen and Jessica Scharle successfully completed a transcontinental flight in Peregrine FA-04, dashing 1,813.5 nautical miles from Florida to California. After making five stops along the way the duo touched down at Gillespie Field near San Diego at 10:22 PM, marking an elapsed time of 19 hours and 21 minutes, which includes time for fuel stops. Total flying time was just over 17 hours. *** They may have accomplished the feat to help nonprofit Able Flight in its mission to assist disabled folks learn to fly, but I think these twentysomething pilots showed they have the right stuff. That’s even more obvious when you hear Jessica Scharle courageously overcame a rare medical condition that fused almost every joint in her body. Nearly immobilized at one time, numerous surgeries, years of physical therapy, and personal determination helped Jessica become completely independent. *** After all that, a flight across America must have seemed a lighthearted jaunt. Indeed, when Jessica and instructor Matt Hansen arrived and were asked about the toughest part of their flight, they said in unison, “Texas.” Hansen, 23, is a flight instructor who trains people with disabilities to fly. Scharle is 24 and an Able Flight scholarship recipient who earned her Sport Pilot certificate last year at Hansen Air Group.
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