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.