Boy Lands in Kansas After Making Early Stop In Wyoming
Nov. 10, 1987
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A 10-year-old pilot made a smooth landing in Kansas on Monday evening as he continued his quest to set a cross-country distance and speed record for his age group.
Erik Fiederer landed in Hays, Kan., then went on to Wichita's Mid-Continent airport Monday, after an earlier-than-scheduled refueling stop caused by strong headwinds in Jackson, Wyo. Erik had been scheduled to stop in Riverton, Wyo., more than 100 miles away.
''We aren't sure we could have made it to Riverton,'' the youngster said. ''We're not sure, we might have run it a little dry. I've experienced strong head winds, but not that strong.''
Erik said he never tired during the first leg of his flight, but his heart began to race as he was landing the Cessna Centurion P-210 in Jackson.
''When I landed the airplane, everything was racing through my head,'' he said. ''I was looking for places to land, I was looking for everything, wondering what I could do if the propeller started to sputter.''
After landing in Kansas just before 7:30 p.m., Erik told reporters he had no problems with his trip over the Rocky Mountains, despite flying through several layers of clouds.
Because of the boy's age and federal regulations, Erik's flight instructor, Daryle Crowder, is listed as the pilot in command.
''I do all the takeoffs, landings, everything,'' said Erik, who sits on four cushions to prop up his 5-foot-1 frame.
Accompanied by his mother, Air Force Col. Nancy Fiederer, and Crowder, the youngster took off Sunday morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base and flew to Fort Lewis, Wash., where he began the journey early Monday. The trip is being privately financed.
He hopes to complete the 2,500-mile trip from Washington to Florida in 13 hours flying time, arriving at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., sometime Tuesday.
During a news conference Friday at Vandenberg, the pilot, who turns 11 on Nov. 21, said he hoped to attend the Air Force Academy and become a fighter pilot.
Erik said he wanted to be a pilot since he was 4 and decided to try the flight when he heard of a similar feat by another 10-year-old, Christopher Lee Marshall, who in July became the youngest pilot to fly across the country.
Erik said he planned to beat Christopher's distance by flying diagonally across the country. Christopher flew straight across.