Relay Gives Pilots a Reason to Fly

Virginia Aviation Ambassadors Program is putting on a relay for pilots to visit
66 public-use airports, receive a stamp and contribute to the education of

participating in the relay fly with a stuffed teddy bear, the Virginia
Ambassador Program mascot —Virginia Airheart — to one or more of the 66
airports and leave it for the next pilot to transport.

Cabiory, EAA 1156002, organized the event with planning committee members Fred
Rollins, EAA 1563; Christopher Miller, EAA 186; and EAA Chapter 231 members Barry
Toole, EAA 619395, and Danny Arkin, EAA 590618.

came up with the relay idea to give pilots a reason to fly,” Stephen said. “There’s
no requirement that it be a direct handoff. Right now she’s sitting in a
terminal in Franklin waiting for her next pilot. Pilots sign up to do this.
When she [the bear] becomes available, then we put the word out that this is
where she is and this is where she hasn’t been yet.”

pilot participating in the relay contributes $40. Stephen said all proceeds will
go to education programs through the Virginia Aviation Council.

an extra initiative, pilots can also collect stamps along the way.

Virginia Board of Aviation has an ambassador program where you go to airports
and get a stamp and after so many stamps you get a hat, and after you’ve been
to all of them you get an embroidered leather jacket,” Stephen said.

May 5, a fly-in to Richmond International Airport (KRIC) was held for the
opening ceremony of the relay. Stephen said the purpose of the opening ceremony
was to generate interest in the event.

far, 40 pilots have signed up to participate and 12 airports have already been

said this was the first year they have done this relay and he is hoping to make
it an annual event.

has been tremendous enthusiasm and some amazing poetry written in the logbook documenting
Virginia’s travels,” Stephen said. “Many have truly embraced Virginia with a
bear hug and are having fun.”

find out more information, or to participate in the relay, visit the Virginia
Aviation Council website or follow
Virginia Airheart on Facebook.

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