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Wings Across America


—– Original Message —–
From: Frank G <

Sent: Sunday, November 18, 2012 11:32 PM
Subject: Wings Across America 2008 (WAA-08) Update

WAA-08 Pilots,

As you know, I normally send out my email updates in January and June, but this news is too wonderful and cannot wait.  It is with great pleasure that I can finally send you this email. 

We have just completed a flight in our 48th state!  Pilot #365, Don Sims of Dyer, TN has made the SQuiRT’s historic flight, today 18 Nov ’12 at his local flying field.  When Don received the SQuiRT on Saturday, it had already traveled 23, 824 miles and had been flown by 623 pilots before him. 

The dedication and efforts shown by all of our pilots to make this happen to get the SQuiRT through all 48 CONUS is without a doubt beyond remarkable.  As you know this really was history in the making and you my friends have accomplished something that has never, ever been done before.  Please take a moment to reflect on that because without your participation, selflessness, and dedication to the sport of model aviation this adventure could have not have been possible.

During the 4.5 years the SQuiRT has been “on the road,” we have helped promote model aviation every single day.  Your efforts by piloting the SQuiRT, delivering her to the next pilot, replacing broken props, or by donating some cash to the prop fund may not have seemed at the time like you really were promoting model aviation, but those acts, big or small, has helped get us to this fact;  we have made history and accomplished our main goal of promoting the sport of model aviation in those 4.5 years.  And as a side note, we have also done a great job in promoting the AMA and its membership.  Remember the card sent to Steve M from the Senator in MN?  Below is some examples of the publicity that I have seen happen so far:

News Coverage:

33 Online news stories
28 Local papers
6 nationally publicized magazines have run articles on the WAA-08 adventure
5 Local television news broadcasts
1 Local radio show
1 Parade Logan County Fair Parade
1 Weekly RC Podcast that provides WAA-08 updates

That does not take in account the thousands of posts on numerous internet forums, or dozens and dozens of videos posted on sites like YouTube or Vimeo.  Nor does it take in account the dozens of new folks joining the sport due to the fact they witnessed the SQuiRT fly in a local park or seen an article about the WAA-08 adventure in their local paper.  Again, I hope that you all take a moment to reflect on our accomplishments in the last 4.5 years and look at the extraordinary thing you helped accomplish.  It truly is an amazing accomplishment and I thank each and every one of you that helped make it happen. 

I would be remiss in this update if I did not mention and give thanks to Walter G who has tirelessly performed his duties as our WAA-08 webmaster during these last 4.5 years without complaining about the hundreds of emails I have sent him with new updates or new photos to publish.  He has done an outstanding job donating his time to keep our website alive and has used his own money to host the WAA-08 domain.  And I need to thank Don W who generates our pilot certificates for the adventure and has been doing such a wonderful job at that.  The certificates are a great way to say “Thank You” to our pilots and Don sure does a great job on them.  Some more good news is that Jerry B has offered to make the 2012 WAA-08 Collage for us this year.  The collages, started by Don J back in 2008, is a great way to capture the smiling faces of all the WAA-08 pilots and their club mates throughout the year, as well as showing the historical places the SQuiRT has visited.  I also want to thank our sponsors who donated ESCs, servos, a LiPo Sack, and other necessities, and especially Bill Stevens who provided us with a wonderful and robust airplane to use on our adventure.  What a superb choice that turned out to be.  And thanks to John Redman from Horizon Hobby for the DX6i transmitter.

These last 4.5 years have seen a lot of changes in all our lives.  Back when this began, I was living and working in Virginia and now I am all the way on the other side of the country in a new job and home.  Who would have thought that when this all began?  I know I never saw that coming.  And I have heard similar stories from other pilots as our adventure marched on.  Sadly, these last 4.5 years has also had some sad times.  We lost some good friends along the way; Greg S, and Don J, our two treasurers, and pilot #192 Bill H, who passed away in a tragic accident at his work shortly after flying the SQuiRT.  We certainly miss their friendship and their contributions to the WAA-08 adventure and model aviation.

Now you may be asking yourself, “So what now.  Are we done?”  My answer to that is “No way!”  We still have the last leg of our journey to finish.  We still have 30 more registered pilots to fly the SQuiRT and most likely another 70 pilots/flights to go.  We have SEFF coming up next year and we are hoping to get a pilot in the local area to showcase the SQuiRT and fly her during one of the noon time demos and have someone share the tale of the SQuiRT’s journey as she flies for the crowd.  We want to SQuiRT to be on display while she is there so the pilots at SEFF can stop by and see the “remarkable parkflyer that could.”  The next big event after SEFF is a trip to Kitty Hawk, NC to fly the hallowed grounds of aviation and I am hoping to get a good showing of local pilots to join Scott S there at Kitty Hawk.  After that, she makes her way on to Gloucester, VA to make a final flight at her home field, completing her journey around the USA in approximately 5 years.

I have often been asked, “What happens to the SQuiRT when the journey is finished?”  I personally would like to see the SQuiRT reside in Muncie, IN.  I have sent in the application for the SQuiRT, its travel box that was beautifully crafted by Steve G, 3 pilot’s log books, my personal log of over 200 pages recording events both good and bad from the very inception of the adventure until the end, and all the mementos collected through the years to be inducted into the AMA’s National Model Aviation Museum.  (I should be hearing the results of the application in mid-December.)  I think that would be a fitting “retirement home” for a parkflyer who has traveled over 25,000 miles around the US and flown by over 700 pilots promoting model aviation.  I am really hoping this happens.  I think it would be wonderful for Moms and Dads when they visit the museum to see the SQuiRT on display and tell their kids, grandkids or even great grandkids that they took part in the WAA-08 adventure helping to make model aviation history.  I’d love to take my son there someday and show him the SQuiRT on display and what a thrill it would mean to me for him to take his children to the museum someday and have him explain to his kids about WAA-08 adventure and the role their granddad played in it.

With that said, I am tentatively planning on meeting with all the WAA-08 pilots that can attend NEFI in 2013.  Jay S said he is going to let me know when that will be happening and I will send out emails to let everyone know my plans.  I hope to see as many of the WAA-08 pilots as possible there and thank them in person for their efforts in making this happen.  It would be wonderful for all of us there to pass the transmitter around and give the SQuiRT one final flight.  That would be awesome.

I hope this email finds you well and thank you all again for your wonderful contributions to this adventure.  I’ve said this a number of times and it still holds true to this day.  Without your efforts, all I would have had is a brand new plane in a beautiful wooden box sitting in my garage. 

Thank you all and a virtual fist bump to everyone! (even though my 15 year old son says people don’t fist bump anymore J)

Frank <>

PS For those pilots that were the point of contact in your club for the WAA-08 adventure, can you please forward this to your club mates or include this in your club newsletter? ˆThanks!

(C) 804 296-5686