RAVENNA, OHIO - Two local pilots are back home after flying nearly 2,000 miles without ever leaving Ohio. They pulled it off in vintage airplanes that had no electricity.
Joe Murray and Ron Siwik took-off and landed in every county in Ohio. All 88 of them.
"What I didn't expect was the interest from the communities, the people who came out to the airport to shake our hands and see us. You know, they'd buy us a tank of gas, make a meal for us, put us up overnight, hangar our airplane," Murray said.
Murray is a journalism professor at Kent State University. His flying companion is a retired doctor. They flew identical 1946 Piper Cubs on a first-of-its-kind mission. They crisscrossed the state in nine days while flying 1,809 miles. They landed on several farm field and grass runways. Their total flight time was 36 hours and 6 minutes.
"We had sort of the perfect mission, you might say, with Ohio's place in aviation history," Siwik said.
One of the highlight's of their trip was making new friends and rekindling old acquaintances.
"I don't think there's a bad person living in Ohio. If you ask me, I couldn't pick one out from anyone we met on this flight," Murray said.
The pilots met a lot of generous people. They raised about $3,000 towards a scholarship that Murray wants to establish at Kent State that will help disadvantaged students attend the university.
"But I got to tell you, the people who donated came from the heart and that really meant a lot to me. I had farmers walk up to me and stick dollars in my pocket and say ‘Give it to the kids.’ I had a student put $100 in my envelope and leave it on my seat. I knew she couldn't afford that, so the people that donated truly donated from the heart and that meant a lot," said Murray.
If you are interested in donating to the scholarship fund you can find more information on the pilots' website: lostinoscarhotel.com
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Portage Co. Headlines
Authorities in Portage County have ended the ground search Saturday at the Berlin Lake Wildlife Area for a 45-year-old missing Norton man.
A 7-year-old Portage County girl is battling cancer, but she is not fighting alone.