Veteran attempting record flight
Jul 04, 2012 (Menafn - St. Joseph News-Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Workers at Express Flight, the company that supports civilian aircraft at Rosecrans Memorial Airport, worked Wednesday to help a veteran set a new world flight record.
Brian Kissinger made a flight from St. Louis on July 4 in a hand made, blue and white, Sonerai experimental aircraft. The plane is powered by a Volkswagen 75 horsepower car engine capable of speeds up to 120 knots.
"There were some strong headwinds coming up but I think the plane can go back faster," Mr. Kissinger said.
Brian Ziesel and Brad Douglas, two Express Flight employees, were ready and waiting with gas to refuel the experimental aircraft. The mission ended up requiring that they fill a five gallon plastic can that's sits in the plane's front seat with a sock monkey.
"You need a little humor and I've never forgotten that the first flight into space involved a monkey," Mr. Kissinger said. "So I'm teaching this guy to fly, but no solo's yet."
As a precaution, the Air Force veteran also taped the sock monkey's mouth.
The Federal Aviation Administration checked the plane out Tuesday in St. Louis and it passed all regulations for this class plane, which only weights 1,100 pounds.
Mr. Kissinger's world record attempt is not just for fun or to set a new personal best, but to raise awareness and funds to help homeless veterans.
Sadly, one of every four homeless is a veteran, yet they comprise only 11 percent of the nation's population, Mr. Kissinger said.
The pilot volunteers at the the Joseph Center in East St. Louis, Ill. The center is a 26-bed unit for homeless veterans. Some of those veterans were waiting for Mr. Kissinger's return to the downtown St. Louis airport.
Mr. Kissinger expressed confidence that he'd succeed and departed a half hour after he arrived Wednesday heading east. The Federation Aeronautique Internationale and National Aeronautic Association sanctioned the flight and will certify this new world and national aviation record for speed over a recognized course once all paperwork is submitted.
Marshall White can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPWhite.
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