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Elizabethton pilot ready for 9/11 mission

John Thompson • Sep 10, 2019 at 9:16 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Sept. 11, private aviators and 110 stories. These are words and numbers that still bring pain and sadness to Americans.

They recall the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, when a group of men hijacked jet airlines and used their training to fly small planes to crash the planes into the World Trade Center, collapsing the two towers and causing their 110-stories towers to collapse. Another hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon.

Elizabethton pilot Daniel Moore wants to use those numbers to make a personal salute to the victims of the World Trade Center attack. He will do so by attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the number of landings at different airports in a 24-hour period. Moore plans to land at 110 different airports within a 24-hour period on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks

Like most Americans, Moore remembers exactly where he was and what he was doing on Sept. 11, 2001. The professional pilot was preparing to fly his plane through areas where burley tobacco was grown. He had a contract to take photographs of tobacco allotments.

Her was preparing to take off and complete the job when he was told there was a no-fly restriction.

“I was amazed and asked if it was for the entire Tri-Cities area.” He was shocked with the answer. No planes were allowed to fly in the entire country. It became even more shocking when he learned why.

Today, Moore can celebrate the freedom American pilots have. Where once no plane was permitted to take off, Moore will mark the anniversary by taking off 110 times. The current world record is held by two British pilots who flew as a team. Their record is 87 airports.

Moore said he could have taken another pilot on the trip, but he decided against it. “I would have to worry about two bladders instead of just one. His stay at each airport must be a short as possible, but there must be certain actions taken at each airport to document the stop for Guinness.

That includes coming to a full stop, taking two photographs of the terrain, taking global positioning system data and other steps to document the data.

There will be three separate people to keep the data independently at each stop. His wife, Melanie, will keep all the documentation and data together. She will serve as a mission control for the attempt at the record, using her computer skills to make sure all documentation is complete for each stop.

Moore has a counterclockwise course to ensure he does land at 110 airports. There are a few extra airports along the routes that could be used as an alternative in the event one of the planned runways is not available because of a thunderstorm or other problem.

The day before his attempt, Moore was busy performing maintenance on his 1976 Beechcraft Bonanza, a plane that he co-owns.

Moore plans to be out of bed this morning at 3:30 a.m. He plans to take off from Elizabethton Municipal Airport at 5 a.m. His flight plan calls for him to head west, picking off small airports across Tennessee and a few stops in Kentucky. His first fuel stop will be at Clarksville.

He will continue picking off airports in Kentucky and Tennessee. His westernmost airport will be in Jackson, Tennessee. He will head east and his second refueling station will be at Tullahoma. He will then head south into Mississippi. There will be more than a dozen airports in Alabama and then on to Georgia, stopping at the small airports in the greater Atlanta area. He plans his third refueling at Peachtree Center.

He will continue eastward to Greenville, S.C. then into North Carolina. He will land at Martinsville, Va. as he begins his final western heading

He will head back to Tennessee, landing at Mountain City, the easternmost airport in Tennessee, and then make his final landing back at Elizabethton.

He hopes to complete all 110 airports by 10 a.m., but the world record is for 24 hours, so he does not have to complete the circuit until 5 a.m. on Sept 12 if he has a problem.

One thing is for certain, after months and months of study and corresponding, it is time to complete the mission.

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