Feel Good Friday: Wheels Up - 48N48

Published: May. 19, 2023 at 5:39 PM EDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (WTVG) - Two men are set to embark on a mission that could land them in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Barry Behnfeldt, a Napoleon native, got wind of the idea a year ago.

“I heard through a friend of mine ... these pilots who attempted this Guinness record of landing in all 48 states, and they had a goal of less than 48 hours,” he explained. “They were unfortunately unsuccessful.”

So, the Navy veteran decided to give it a try himself. But he needed a willing wingman. He found it in Aaron Wilson.

“I was like, this sounds like a great idea, it’s gonna be fun, you’re gonna have a great time,” recalled the Air Force veteran with a laugh. “Then he’s like, ‘I’d like you to go with me!’ I was like, absolutely!”

To complete their mission, Behnfeldt developed a route that will begin in Michigan, on the evening of June 4. They will head west first, making stops that were planned to keep each leg as short as possible. Behnfeldt also took into account weather patterns and maximizing daylight in the mountainous regions, should they need to make any unplanned landings. There are five fuel fill-ups planned; most stops will only last a few minutes.

“The hardest part logistically has been doing the coordination with all the airports that we’ll land at,” Behnfeldt explained. “There has to be a human being there to sign a form for record-keeping purposes.”

Behnfeldt and Wilson will be accompanied by a third crewmember, who also happens to be an in-flight mechanic. He will assist them in getting the appropriate paperwork filled out quickly.

The two-day jaunt will end at an airport in Maine.

In addition to trying to set the world record, Behnfeldt and Wilson are also hoping to use their trip to inspire the future generation of pilots, and promote the BGSU Flight Center, where they both studied. They’re also raising for Veteran’s Airlift Command (VAC). The organization provides free, private air transportation for combat injured veterans for medical or other compassionate purposes. To learn more about their mission or make a donation, click here.

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