GOLD HILL, N.C. – July 9 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — Hangar talk. That’s where it all started. Ron Schreck (61) of Gold Hill, North Carolina took it just a bit further. Schreck lifted off from Gold Hill Airpark in his home built airplane and after 19 hours and 51 minutes he had touched down at all 109 public use airports in the state. “I suppose a few pilots have landed at all of those airports, but I know of no one who has done it in one day,” said Schreck after completing the record breaking flight.
Schreck has been flying for over 40 years and has over 9500 hours in the air. After graduating from the US Air Force Academy in 1969 he served as a forward air controller (FAC) during the Vietnam War. During his 20-year Air Force tour of duty he flew the OV-10 “Bronco,” the A-7 “Corsair II,” the F-105 “Thunderchief,” the F-4 “Phantom” and the F-16 “Falcon.”
*(Photo Caption: Schreck with wife, Kathy after last landing.)
He retired from the Air Force with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1989 and signed on with Piedmont Airlines that same year. In his 14-year career with Piedmont, and later USAirways, Schreck flew the Fokker F-28, Boeing 727, 737, 757, 767 and the Airbus 320-series aircraft. Since retiring from the airline he has been employed by Orion Aviation, based at Siler City, NC. He flies in support of numerous government contracts, including whale survey missions to track the migratory habits of the endangered Northern Right Whale and “air attack” missions to combat wildfires for the US Forest Service.
In March of 2006 Schreck first took to the air in an airplane that he constructed from a kit. His RV-8 aircraft is no toy. The all-aluminum aircraft, powered by a 180 horsepower Lycoming engine, tops 220 MPH. It is capable of aerobatics and is equipped for instrument and night flight. He named the airplane “Miss Izzy” after his granddaughter, Isabelle, and has flown the tiny two-passenger airplane as far as the California coast. Schreck and his wife, Kathy recently completed a 4000-mile trip to Yellowstone Park along with ten other RV aircraft from the Southeast RV Squadron, a group of pilots who share the love of the poplar RV-series home built aircraft. Schreck also flies with several formation demonstration teams at air shows throughout the southeast.
In preparation for his record-breaking flight, Schreck consulted with Mr. William Cook, a professor of mathematics at Georgia Tech. Cook has spent years developing algorithms to solve the “Traveling Salesman Problem” which has consumed mathematicians for years. The problem is simple: a traveling salesman has dozens of cities to visit and must find the shortest route to take in order to minimize travel time and maximize his profit. Once the number of cities reach twelve, the number of possible routes is into the billions! “I’m no math genius,” said Schreck, “so I just gave Cook the coordinates of the 109 airports that I needed to visit and he came back with the optimum route.” The resulting routing covered 2291 miles and Schreck refueled four times during the flight.
“I had to fly the route during the summer months when the days are longest because many of the public airports in North Carolina are not lighted,” said Schreck. He departed Gold Hill Airpark just before midnight on July 3rd so that his first landing at Concord Regional Airport occurred at 1201 AM on July 4th. Slowing to 80 MPH at each en route airport, Schreck touched his wheels down briefly then roared off to the next destination, stopping only for fuel. Touchdown at Siler City Airport, the last of the 109 public airports occurred at 7:52 PM and Schreck returned to his home at Gold Hill Airpark, a private airport, seventeen minutes later.
What’s next for the ambitious aviator? Well, there are 49 more states!