Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii - When Michael Combs landed his aircraft at the Kaneohe Bay Airshow yesterday it marked the completion of an ambitious mission to touch down in all fifty states in a Light Sport Aircraft. The event was celebrated by a record attendance crowd while Michael performed in the airshow. "You are witnessing history today folks" stated the announcer as the wheels of the REMOS aircraft gently touched down in front of the main grandstand area. Afterward, Michael jubilantly stepped out and was greeted by a crowd of well-wishers who posed for photos and received autographed collector cards.
"This has been an incredible experience," said Michael as he stood by his aircraft named, ‘Hope One.' "I feel excited beyond belief that we have successfully completed this mission, but also am looking forward to more of the adventures that we are already planning. This is a huge accomplishment in the world of aviation and really proves beyond a doubt just what a Light Sport Aircraft can do. It also has demonstrated that there are truly no limits to the potential of the Sport Pilot's License."
Michael took off from Salina, KS on April 8, 2010 and flew into 49 states including Alaska and British Columbia, Canada in just five and a half months. The elusive 50th state of Hawaii has been the challenge that offered the most difficulty to achieve. "We really thought that Hawaii would be simpler than this," explained Combs, "but the costs of shipping were crazy and as time went on, all of the doors just kept opening up to our participation in this military air show. We've known about it for a year and a half and I'm very thankful for how it has come about. It was a tremendously perfect way to end this historic aviation endeavor."
Throughout his journey, Michael has flown over 40,000 miles and landed at over 200 airports. His primary goal was to reach over 20 million people with the message that it is never, EVER too late to follow your dreams. The Flight for the Human Spirit has also inspired others to fly as well as endeavor to fulfill their own dreams and aspirations outside of aviation. Fans of The Flight have reported that they have been successful in opening restaurants, mending relationships, and even beginning new careers. "It's incredible to think of what one person can do when they just never give up," stated Combs.
The historical significance of this flight in aviation is that the REMOS is the first Light Sport Aircraft to fly in all fifty states; it also makes Michael the first Sport Pilot to fly the same aircraft in all of the fifty states. He currently holds five world records in aviation and is already planning other record setting flights in the Caribbean, Australia, and another attempt to fly Hope One on a Transcontinental Flight next spring setting a world record under FAI and NAA rules.
The Hawaii flights were tracked by over 100,000 website visitors and fans from around the world followed Hope One's performances and test flights with live satellite tracking and were updated on each progressive step via Facebook and Twitter. "Originally, I thought that flying in all fifty states would mark the end of The Flight for the Human Spirit, but due to the influence of our fans, they have made it very clear that they want me to continue flying onward...I guess they just want to see how far we can go, and how many lives we can ultimately touch. From a social media viewpoint, this has been an incredible success. Our original goal was to reach over 20 million people with a message of encouragement and hope...now our current numbers show a total of more than 28 million around the world with no end in sight as our fan base continues to grow."
Since Hope One actually performed in the airshow, it was transported onboard an Air Force C-5 aircraft along with other show aircraft flown by Kirby Chambliss, Jacquie B, and the Flash Fire Jet truck driven by Neal Darnell. Other performers in the show included The Blue Angels, Clint Churchill, and the Navy Seal Leap Frogs. "Seeing Hope One in that huge aircraft was really quite a sight to behold," exclaimed Combs. "It was an honor to be included among such a prestigious list of performers, and the Hope One flight really was inspirational to the attendees who were full of hugs and even shared some tears of gratitude for what we are doing out here in the world."
Over five years ago, The Flight for the Human Spirit began with no funding, no aircraft, and Michael didn't know how to fly. He has proven that even the loftiest goals can be accomplished through faith, belief, and sheer determination. "People really raise their eyebrows when they hear that this incredible project began literally with nothing but a dream," smiled Combs. "They get even more expressive when they learn that we took off from Salina on that first day we only had two weeks of funding in our pockets for fuel, lodging, rental cars and food. It has been an experience far beyond aviation that truly shows the power of the human spirit that endures in all of us.
Combs is currently writing a book about his adventure which will be released in 2013. He has two other books ready for publishing and will release his next music album entitled "Through the Veil" late this fall.
To learn more of The Flight for the Human Spirit and for the latest updates go to www.FlightHS.com
Photo Caption - Michael Combs shares an emotional moment with his REMOS aircraft named Hope One as he quietly reflects on the completion of his epic 40,000 mile, 50 state journey.