49 states, 57 airports, 12,000 miles in just two weeks
After a career spanning 35,000 flight hours, teaching a Nobel laureate to fly, setting a speed record across the Atlantic Ocean in a Cessna® 210, being inducted into the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame and regularly taking off for Alaska, Hawaii, the Caribbean and places in between, it seemed Field Morey's flights couldn’t get any more exciting–until now.
Cessna TTx owner Field Morey stands wearing apparel that matches his aircraft he nicknamed the Green Hornet.
Morey and his friend and client, Conrad Teitell, spent two weeks flying Morey's Cessna® TTx™ more than 12,000 miles. The long-time pilots visited 49 states and landed at 57 airports.
"It was one of the greatest adventures of my life, right up there with the Atlantic crossing in 1980," Morey said.
Morey owns West Coast Adventures in Medford, Oregon, which offers IFR training and flying adventures. When Teitell suggested a Capital Air Tour of the continental United States, Morey quickly agreed.
"It's a great way to promote general aviation and general aviation airports. They are vital to business, our economy, our way of life. We wanted to show this is what you can do with a GA airplane. It's just not possible on commercial airlines," he said.
General aviation has been a part of the pilot's life from the very beginning–even his name pays tribute to flying. On the day Morey was born, his father Howard, an aviation pioneer in the 1920s, signed a contract with Madison, Wisconsin, to manage the city’s airport. When the U.S. Army assumed control of the airport during World War II, forcing civilian operations to relocate, Howard purchased 160 acres west of the town and established a new airport. Today, it's known as Morey Field.
According to Morey, during his childhood his father owned and operated one of Cessna's first distributorships, instilling general aviation as an integral part of everyday life.
"I soloed when I was 14 in a Cessna 195 in Mexico where they didn't have age restrictions. I traveled with my parents in aircraft like a family SUV. Following school, I went to work for my father at the airport he started. I took over the operation in 1965 and operated it for about 30 years," Morey said.
Capital Air Tour pilots Field Morey and Conrad Teitell pose next to the Cessna TTx that took them to 49 states in just two weeks.
That depth of experience gave Morey the insight he needed to plan the intricate tour. The pilots planned for 77 hours of flying. It took 76.
"It all went like clockwork, thanks to the weather and Cessna. As I wrote in my logbook, we only spent three percent of the time in clouds, 97 percent of the time we had sunny skies," he said.
The Capital Air Tour is a meaningful milestone for the veteran aviator, because, while he and his wife were in Honolulu a few months prior, he rented a Cessna Skyhawk® so he could say he flew into all of the U.S. capitals in one year.
When the pilots arrived back in Medford at the end of the tour, fire trucks greeted the pilots on the taxiway with an arc of water.
"The way the sunlight hit it, it formed a rainbow. What a wonderful welcome home," Morey said
For more about Field Morey and West Coast Adventures, visit www.ifrwest.com.