In honor of 9/11, pilot Dan Moore planned to fly his Bonanza to 110 airports in one day, which would break the current Guinness World Record for “most airfields visited in 24 hours by a fixed-wing aircraft.”
On Wednesday, Sept. 11, Moore flew out before sunrise on a record-breaking journey in tribute to the first responders, the fallen and the impact of that tragic day 18 years ago.
“My goal of 110 airports is to pay tribute to the 110 floors of the World Trade Center,” Moore said.
People wonder why he chose Sept. 11, and he said the “best weather day” he could remember was Sept. 11, 2001. It was “totally clear and 65-70 degrees” that day, and he said for flying, there’s nothing better than that. Plus, he said as time goes by, the impact of Sept. 11, 2001, fades. But, he wants everyone to remember that day. He referenced a Bible verse, John 15:13 King James Version (KJV): “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” There were many people who did that 18 years ago, and he said people should remember that “truly selfless act.”
Moore’s idea to break a record came from watching TV with his 10-year-old son when they saw a person trying to break a record for the longest walk on Legos. That made him think what record he could break in aviation.
Moore flew his Beechcraft Bonanza with a plan to do a full-stop landing at 110 airports, breaking the current record of 87 airports held by two pilots in the United Kingdom. The route began in east Tennessee, went into Kentucky, Illinois, back into western Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and then back to his home airport in east Tennessee. He said the Bonanza was perfect because it was small enough to get in all of the airports and fast enough to get to all of the airports in one day.
“You gotta dance with the one that brung ya,” Moore said about why he chose his Beechcraft Bonanza.
To get the initial estimate of 16 hours to accomplish the full 110 airport visits, he said he used Flightplan.com. He said he added 15 minutes per fuel stop, but because of the headwind, his flight was “significantly” slowed down. As a result, he said he was only able to make 92 of the 110 stops, which still beat the previous Guinness World Record. In a “ball park figure,” he said 240-270 gallons of fuel were used during his record-breaking flight. He said it only took around 15 minutes at each of his four fuel stops.
Moore said his Bonanza doesn’t have air conditioning, but he has a unit that turns ice into cool air. It only lasts around two hours though, so it was harder to keep hydrated. He said he drank six Gatorades and nine bottles of water. He had an entire thermos of coffee and a couple of energy drinks, but he “got so busy” that he didn’t drink any of them. In Clemson, he began to use an oxygen tank to breath in “pure oxygen,” and he said that helped him to “keep things going.” In retrospect, he said he should’ve started the oxygen sooner, because it “really helped” him to stay alert.
There were a couple of deciding factors to stop at 92. One, he was getting tired. Two, he said he ran out of witnesses. He said the witnesses were only able to work four hours each, and he didn’t want to keep anyone waiting too long. Originally, he said the trip’s 110 airports would’ve equaled approximately 1,900 total air miles. But, he said the 92 airports ended up being around 1,500-1,600 total air miles. He said he actually made 93 landings over the course of the day, but he forgot to send the Garmin message to log one.
Through Alabama, he said there were “quite a few” storms that caused him to miss at least one airport. He arrived at the Albertville Regional Airport at approximately 2:30 p.m., and just before that, he made stops at the Guntersville Municipal Airport and Scottsboro Municipal Airport. He said he had to miss the airport in Suwannee, Tennessee, where one of his friends was awaiting his arrival. Once he tried to attempt the final approach in Suwannee, he said the air coming from the thunderstorm “came down the ridgeline and right at the airport.” It was “super-bumpy” when he was trying to approach, so he said the decision was made to skip that stop. He said 15 minutes were wasted, but he couldn’t tell the thunderstorm was so close to the airport from far away.
He said his “No. 1 highlight” was all the people that showed up the day of his flight. In Monroe, Georgia — the home of The Reporter’s sister paper, The Walton Tribune — Moore said people held a party at the airport to welcome him. He said there were more than 200 people involved with his record-breaking journey.
“It was a really great day, and I can’t express enough thanks to everyone,” Moore said.
Moore said he “really appreciated” his witness team, who did the paperwork to prove he landed in all of the airports.
Currently, the record-breaking flight is unofficial, but once data from all of the witnesses and cameras is reviewed by Guinness, he said the record would become official. He expects the process to take approximately 12 weeks and become official around Christmas or New Year’s.
Many have asked Moore if he would try it again at a later date, and he said, “maybe.” But, he said it would depend on his wife because “it was tough on her.” Time will tell, but he said as of Sept. 12, it’s a “no for now.” He said he is a “lone wolf,” but if one of his sons decides to fly, he would do it again with them.
Follow Moore’s Facebook page, 110 Airports, to see if the record becomes official.
Complete list of airports on Moore’s journey:
1. Tri-Cities in Blountville, TN
2. Greenville Green County in Greenville, TN
3. Morristown Regional Airport in Morristown, TN
4. Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport in Sevierville, TN
5. McGhee Tyson
6. Downton Island in Knoxville
7. Stiner Field in Jacksboro, TN
8. Scott County in Oneida, TN
9. McCreary County in Pine Knot, KY
10. Williamsburg Whitley County in Williamsburg, KY
11. London Corbin in London, KY
12. Lake Cumberland in Somerset, KY
13. Wayne County in Monticello, KY
14. Russell County in Jamestown, KY
15. Columbia-Adair in Columbia, KY
16. Glasgow, KY
17. Bowling Green, KY
18. Russellville-Logan in Russellville, KY
19. Portland, TN
20. Sumner County in Gallatin, TN
21. Springfield, TN
22. Clarksville, TN
23. Hopkinsville, KY
24. Princeton, KY
25. Kentucky Dam State Park in Calvert City, KY
26. Mayfield Graves County in Mayfield, KY
27. Kyle-Oakley Field in Murary, KY
28. Henry County Airport in Paris, TN
29. Carroll County Airport in Huntingdon, TN
30. Gibson County in Trenton, TN
31. Humboldt Municipal in Humbolt, TN
32. Mc-Kellar Sipes Regional Airport in Jackson, TN
33. Whitehurst in Bolivar, TN
34. Corinth, MS
35. Robert Sibley Field in Selmer, TN
36. Savannah Hardin County in Savannah, TN
37. Hassell Field in Clifton, TN
38. Beech River in Lexington-Parsons, TN
39. James Tucker in Linden, TN
40. John A Baker Field in Hohenwald, TN
41. Maury County Airport in Mt Pleasant, TN
42. Ellington Airport in Lewisburg, TN
43. Bomar Shelbyville in Shelbyville, TN
44. Tullahoma Regional Airport in Tullahoma, TN
45. Winchester Municipal Airport in Winchester, TN
46. Franklin County Airport in Sewanee, TN – Skipped due to weather.
45. Winchester Municipal Airport in Winchester, TN
46. Marion County in Jasper, TN
47. Stevenson Airport in Stevenson, AL
48. Scottsboro Municipal Airport in Scottsboro, AL
49. Guntersville Municipal Airport in Guntersville, AL
50. Albertville Regional Airport in Albertville, AL
51. Robbins Field Airport in Oneata, AL
52. Northeast Alabama Regional in Gadsen, AL
53. St. Clair County Airport in Pell City, AL
54. Talladega Municipal Airport in Talledega, AL
55. Anniston Regional Airport in Anniston, AL
56. Ashland/Lineville, AL
57. Roanoke, AL
58. Lanette, AL
59. LaGrange, GA
60. Harris County in Pine Mountain, GA
61. Roosevelt Memorial in Warm Springs, GA
62. Thomaston-Upson County in Thomaston, GA
63. Griffin/Spalding CO in Griffin, GA
64. Henry County Airport in Hampton, GA
65. Atlanta Regional Falcon in Peachtree City, GA
66. Newnan Coweta County in Newnan, GA
67. West GA Regional Airport in Carrolton, GA
68. Paulding Northwest Atlanta in Atlanta, GA
69. Polk County Airport in Cedartown, GA
70. Richard B Russell Regional Airport in Rome, GA
71. Tom B. Davis Field in Calhoun, GA
72. Dalton Municipal Airport in Dalton, GA
73. Gilmer County Airport in Ellijay, GA
74. Pickens County in Jasper, GA
75. Cherokee County in Canton, GA
76. Lee Gilmer Memorial
77. Jackson County
78. Barrow County
79. Monroe-Walton County
80. Covington Municipal
81. Madison Memorial
82. Greene County in Greensboro, GA
83. Washington-Wilkes County
84. Elbert County-Patz Field
85. Oconee County
86. Pickens County in Easley SC
87. Donaldson in Greeneville, SC
88. Greenville Downtown in Greenville, SC (WILL SET A NEW RECORD!!!!)
89. Greeneville Spartanburg in Greenville, SC
90. Spartanburg Downtown in Spartanburg, SC
91 & 92. Elizabethton, TN