The Inspiration Behind the Project
The Original Mission: To fan the flames of 20 million people's dreams and to encourage them to do the same with others.
What keeps us from our dreams? Why do some succeed while other earnest and well meaning people fail? We've all heard of famous singers who struggle to hold a note, yet there they are soaking in the glory of a successful career while other more talented people give up and change course in their life.
We've all known people who are clearly unhappy in their careers yet they never pursue their dream of owning their own business. There are still others with dreams of having someone to love, while there are so many waiting to be noticed.
Here's Michael's Story:
Michael Combs an average guy (kind of). He's ambitious and creative, but his dream to fly was hampered by a physical limitation: an irregular heartbeat that nearly took his life.
Doctors didn't offer much hope that he would ever fully recover, but after surviving a harrowing near death experience in which he was declared clinically dead twice in three days, Michael was determined to beat the odds -- and he has!
He's a medical miracle and is better health today than he's been in years!
As inredible as his story is, it is that same history that had disqualified him from his greatest life dream -- to become a pilot. But, as a determined individual, he triumphantly found a way through the obstacle.
What he recently discovered is that in 2004 the Sport Pilot Association helped create a new class of license designed for recreational pilots. And, the best part, his medial history (which is long since resolved) is no longer an obstacle. Sure there are some limitations with the license, such as not being able to fly commercially or to fly at night, but his dream was to fly, not to be a commercial pilot.
It was a great day when he first made his discovery of the sport pilot's license and as his enthusiasm has been contagious. Now to share his jubilation (and perhaps defiance), he'll be sharing triumphant journey with the nation to inspire others to never, ever give up on their dreams.
After visiting the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association he learned that there is more support than he ever imagined. Not only did they personally take the time to explain the nuances, they offered to help every step of the way from preparation to mechanical repairs and more. The outpouring of support was incredible.
When he began explaining his story and ambition to fly to every state in the U.S. everyone he told was instantly inspired to re-visit their own ambitions and dreams. In fact, most who have learned about the mission are quick to provide their own stories and those of people they know who have triumphed in the face of adversity.
Perhaps it's the strained economy that attracts people to something positive, something proactive, but whatever it is, people are finding the courage to think and dream bigger.
With that said, Michael has spend the last few years sharing his entire experience of learning to fly from planning the route and gathering the proper equipment, to encounters he has along the way. In this way people of all backgrounds and interests can share in this entire journey, and hopefully find the inspiration to break out of their box and pursue their dreams and ambitions too.
The Project Highlights:
Michael set out to fly to every state in the U.S. in a sport light plane traveling over 19,400 miles, stopping 136 times, and accomplishing this expedition in just 40 flight days, all while observing the restrictions of this limited pilot's license. (Update: It became MUCH more as he experienced delays and surprises of all kinds.)
He planned to educate people about the process of getting a sport pilot's license and share his experiences via video and his blog. (Update: He is still doing that - look for him on YouTube and as a speaker at conventions.)
Corporate, church, group and school speaking engagements will be scheduled along the way and throughout the months leading up to the trip. (Update: This proved more challenging than originally thought as most people thought he would never start the project, much less accomplish it...now the opportunities to speak are flowing.)
School programs and cirriculum will track the flight and encourage children to dream bigger (don't think the children don't feel the pinch of the economy right now -- they need to feel empowered more than ever and we aim to provide that.) (Update: did come to fruition, but Michael would like to do more once the flight is complete.)
The plane will be wired capture audio, video and photos to be regularly. (Update: Yes, we now have more than 10,000 photos from the plane and th stops, and over 260 hours of HD video.)
Michael's passengers will post live updaes and photos as connectivity is available (Update: Oh boy, did we...and still are today.)
Fans can follow the flight on the LIVE tracker, which updates every two minutes. (Update: Still active today...it's one of the most popular features.)
Listen, regardless of what holds you back, declare victory right now and get out there and pursue your dream! Further, if you feel compelled, share your dream with someone else and let them help you fan that flame. In so doing you you also help them with theirs. People want to help, but they need to know what you need so they know how to help.
If you have a dream live it and breathe it, and with patience and an open mind, watch what happens.
We'd like to invite you to begin your journey here. Take a moment now to join our community on Facebook or on our community site. You never know what's possible until you start putting things in motion.