24 November 1999

Fifty States!

I achieved a personal aviation milestone. I landed in Louisiana (Springhill) thus logging a landing in all 50 states (and Washington DC). I am sure thousands have done this before but it's a first for me! It took 17.5 years and 3150 hours. I only went out of my way twice solely to log new states - Delaware and New Jersey on one flight, then Connecticut and Rhode Island on another. Alaska, Mississippi and Louisiana were the last ones to fall this year. I have only logged one airport in ten states. Fifty airports are logged in Ohio, my home state. Every state has its attributes but my favorite state has to be Hawaii.

This historic flight was marred by a misunderstanding with flight service and ATC. I do not believe any aviation rules were violated. There were high, scattered clouds with unlimited visibility. I left Tulsa International southbound to Texoma Lake, OK. Tulsa approach handed me off to Fort Worth Center (FWC) for flight following. About forty miles north of Texoma, I called FWC, told them I was descending into Texoma and requested a frequency change. That was granted and I landed uneventfully. The next stop was Eldorado Downtown, AR, then Springhill, LA. On the roll out, Springhill UNICOM asked me to call flight service. The Flight Service representative told me that I had not canceled my flight plan at Texoma and that a search and rescue had been initiated. I told him that no flight plan was ever filed. (I rarely file flight plans in good weather.) For some reason, FWC must have thought I was on an active flight plan. When I did not close the flight plan at Texoma, the search and rescue was started.

After eating lunch in Springhill, it occurred to me that Flight Service must have obtained my brother-in-law's phone number from the airport in Tulsa. Then they called the house to track me down Springhill. They probably told Liz the search and rescue was in progress. It finally dawned on me that I should call Liz and tell her we were okay.

The flight back to Tulsa was uneventful. I never heard from the FAA regarding the incident.

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