Flying Across America To Tout Benefits of G.A.

by Kimberly on June 30, 2009

Flying Across America

Article done by Written by Benet Wilson on June 30, 2009

I’m sure that everyone in business/general aviation can agree that the industry has been taking a beating in the past seven months.  Several efforts – including No Plane, No Gain and GA Serves America – have been created to counteract some of the negative images created by the media.

I learned about another effort via my followers on Twitter (@avweekbenet).  Two GA pilots – and active aviation bloggers – have come up with Flying Across America.  The mission of pilots Jason Schappert and Vincent Lambercy is to fly a Cessna 150 from Daytona Beach, Fla., to Catalina Island, Calif., with plans to hold rallies on behalf of General Aviation.

Schappert is a 1,500-hour Certified Flight Instructor and was awarded AOPA’s Top Flight Instructor Award at NIFA 2008. He currently works as a flight instructor in the central Florida area and operates Schapp Aviation. He also blogs at and is on Twitter at @mzeroa.

Lambercy is a Swiss private pilot living near Frankfurt, Germany with an IFR rating and more than 360 hours total flight time.  He blogs at and is on Twitter as @plasticpilot.

Lambercy “met” Schappert after they traded comments on each others’ blogs and started doing cross posting.  “One good series was about what a student pilot and an instructor expect from each other at different stages of training,” he said.

The pair came up with the idea for Flying Across America via Twitter, said Lambercy.  “We were exchanging tweets about the price of flying. Jason chose to own and operate a Cessna 150 because it makes possible for his students to earn their certificates for less than $5.000,” he said.  “I stupidly asked him what it would cost to fly across America in his plane. A few tweets later, the project was born.”

The number of pilots are decreasing each year, and some thinks aviation is only a luxury, or even worse, a threat, said Lambercy.  “What is the last positive GA event that you can recall without searching for too long?” he asked.  “The recent cross-border flight of a stolen Cessna, for example, got a lot of media attention. Do you really think it was such a threat ?”

Although the flight isn’t schedule to happen for about a year, the pair thought it was important to start creating positive buzz before, during and after the flight.  “We also need time to build a community of supporters, find partners and raise funds,” he said.
“The example of (who designed our logo) and (the FBO hosting our first stop) are perfect examples of that.”

The partners plan on 70 hours of flight June 18-July 10, 2010.  “The goal is not to set a speed record but make friendly, fun and positive trip,” said Lambercy.  “For performance and safety reasons, we plan to stay south of the Rockies in both the Florida-California and California-Florida directions. The exact route will depend on where we’ll find supporters.”

“For the time being, the two first stops will be Destin, Fla., on the invitation of and Baton Rouge, La., where an early fan of us invited us,” said Lambercy.  “By having us sleeping at home, we’ll save on the hotel costs on this stop.”

The trip has been budgeted at $15,000, said Lambercy.  It is being financed partly with the partners’ own funds and partly with donations and sponsorship, he said.  “Obviously Jason will not charge for his time. We are selling miles on our web site, with patronage starting at $3.75,” he added.  “An important secondary goal of ours is to make a donation to an aviation charity in the end, so each mile helps, but they are primarily funding the flying and accommodations.”

The effort already has almost 300 Twitter followers, almost 50 members in its Facebook group and a handful of sponsors, said Lambercy.  “We’re examining any offera and are happy to work with anyone having an aviation product or service to promote. We also help our partners where possible,” he said.  “For example, both (non-profit trying to make all aviation fans talk together) and (social network for pilots) help us spreading the word about our project and we’re happy to return the favor.”

The most important at this time is to help spread the word, said Lambercy.  “The more people will receive our message the better,” he added.

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