Able Flight's Same Day Coast-To-Coast LSA Flight
Earlier this month, Matt Hansen (23) and Jessica Scharle (24) flew From Jacksonville, Fla., to El Cajon, Calif., in an LSA within a single day and believe they set a record in the process, with a couple of twists. The June 8, transcontinental flight in a Light Sport Plane logged five stops along the way. It departed Cecil Field at 6:01 a.m., and arrived at Gillespie Field at 10:22 p.m., totaling 19 hours and 21 minutes en route with a little more than 17 in the air. The Peregrine FA-04 LSA they flew was equipped for night flight (legal when flown by a properly rated pilot) and managed just under 4.9 gallons per hour when the two were able to fly at 8,500 feet. As for the twists, one is that Hansen, a commercial pilot and flight instructor, participates with the nonprofit Able Flight Scholarship program that earned private pilot Scharle her spot on the trip. Able flight helps facilitate flight instruction for physically disabled pilots. Scharle was born with a condition that essentially works to fuse her body's joints, but her battle with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita did not stop her from becoming the first female Able Flight Scholarship recipient from earning her private pilot certificate. The second twist is that the National Aeronautical Association isn't yet equipped to deal with the LSA category ... but then there's the Guiness Book.
The pilots equally split responsibilities through the 1813.5-nm flight with the exception of the last leg, which Hansen flew in the dark. The southern route from Florida to California in June is fairly light-aircraft friendly when the weather cooperates and the team's biggest complaint was Texas where the two were abused by turbulence. They have applied to the Guinness Book of World Records for an official record.