Two Mass. Pilots Honor First Flight

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Two Massachusetts pilots celebrated the centennial of flight on Tuesday by spending nine hours in a Skyhawk, flying in and out of each one of their state's paved, public-use airports. Bill Herp, 41, and Doug Barth, 47, a former flight instructor, landed at 36 of the 40 airports on Tuesday, missing out on four remote fields that still had too much snow from the weekend's storm. In the process, the two raised thousands of dollars for a Boston homeless shelter. "It was a great flight," Herp told AVweb, just minutes after landing the plane at its Hanscom Field home base. "It went just like we planned. The FAA gave us expedited service, and the weather was perfect. It was a beautiful day." Herp said the highlight for him was their very first stop, a touch-and-go at Logan International Airport. "We took off at 5:30 a.m., and the moon was out, and all the lights of Boston spread out below us, it was just fantastic," he said. From there, the pair flew to Cape Cod and the islands, where it was windy, then back inland to a fuel stop at Worcester. After a quick lunch they continued around the western part of the state, and returned to their base at Hanscom Field's Executive Flyers Aviation before sunset. The pair had planned to fly on Wednesday, but opted to make the most of Tuesday's fine weather and avoid the forecast rains on the 17th. Asked if he would head to North Carolina to join the celebration, Herp declined. "I'm going to rest my weary bones tomorrow," he said. "Nine hours in a Skyhawk is a long day. I have a newfound respect for flight instructors who do this on a daily basis." Ironically, Hanscom's Executive Flyers has been at the target of recent noise complaints, and even a lawsuit, from neighbors ... maybe this pair's adventure will help to convince the populace that aviation deserves a place in their community.