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Almost time for Community Fly Day, the man who flew around the world

Mark your calendars; it is that time of year for the fall Community Fly Day.

The date is Saturday Oct. 5 at the Lawrence County Airport, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. But if there is a waiting line at 4 p.m., our pilots will make sure you will have the opportunity to fly. The cost is $30 for adults and if you bring a kid along who is 7 years and under, the cost is only $5 for him or her.

It will be a golden opportunity for you to go flying in a small plane and see the world from a different perspective. I recently flew commercially in large planes where almost 100 percent of the passengers kept their window blinds closed. It reminded me of the time I rode the train through the tunnel from England to France — same view.

With the small plane, you can look out from any one of the seats available and there will be no blinds to close.

This will the first time that the planes at a Community Fly Day will use the newly-surfaced runway. The runway is absolutely beautiful, if a runway can be beautiful. Also, there are new lights and a drainage system to keep it dry. If you will remember, there were tall trees at both ends of the runway and now they are gone.

Most of the planes, and perhaps all of them, will be four place Cessna 172s, a very reliable plane that has been around since 1956. A total of over 44,000 of them have been built.

The event is under the auspices of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and organized by the Tri-State Pilots Association. Altitude Aviation has always been a big part of the event with their planes and pilots. So, come out and make the day a memorable event in your life or that of your kid or grandkid.

Now let’s learn a little bit about an amazing guy, Steve Fossett.

He was a pilot, a sailor, a balloonist and a swimmer who set over 100 records in piloting, sailing and long distances in a balloon.

He was a persistent guy. For example, he tried six times before he was successful in flying solo all the way around the world in the balloon, flying 20,627 miles from Western Australia back to Queensland, Australia. On his record flight, he was able to catch a high wind that allowed him to fly over the Indian Ocean at 186 miles per hour. He bought a contingency insurance policy for $500,000 that would pay him $3 million, if he succeeded. In the end, he made money flying around the world.

Another one of his records, he sailed around the world in the record time of 58 days, nine hours. He had a crew of 13 to help him with that record.

To finance most of these record attempts, he used the fortune he accumulated from his dealing in Chicago Board Options Exchange and other ventures on the New York Stock Exchange.

Don Lee, a pilot flying out of Lawrence County Airport since 1970, has been in charge of equipment and grounds maintenance for the last several years. He can be reached at eelnod22@gmail.com