By Steve Schapiro
There aren’t many aviation records left to accomplish. But on a picture-perfect Saturday in March, a new one may have been set.
This is the story of a flight that began on Dec. 17, 1983, and was completed 13,594 days later on March 6, 2021. Surely this must be a record.
The beginning of the flight was documented in a letter to Orville and Wilbur Wright written by my Dad, Jack Elliott, that was published as his Wings Over Jersey column on Dec. 25, 1983. It’s only fitting that the completion of the flight be addressed to the Wright brothers as well.
Dear Orville and Wilbur:
I finally made it. My journey only took 37 years, 3 months, and 89 days (including Leap Years) to get to Kill Devil Hills and First Flight Airport. If you remember, my Dad wrote to you on Christmas Day 1983 about the start of our trip.
Steve and his plane at KFFA.
He began by saying, “Nobody said it would be easy.” He could have added, “And nobody said it would be quick.”
In case you’ve forgotten — after all, it was a long time ago — here are the highlights to refresh your memory.
It was a surprisingly nice Saturday for December. Our family climbed into our Piper Cherokee Arrow — my Dad at the controls in the left seat, my Mom next to him, and my sister and I in the back. We departed Somerset Airport (KSMQ) in New Jersey for a flight of a little more than two hours. There was a celebration of the 80th anniversary of your first flight on those same sand dunes in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. We were going to fly in so my Dad could write about the event.
We never made it. As far as I can remember,
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