- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) - If Medford resident Field Morey and friend Conrad Teitell’s ambitious trip that kicked off Tuesday was a movie, the tagline would basically write itself: “Two men. Two weeks. 49 state capitals.”

No exaggeration. Morey, 75, and Teitell, 81, of Greenwich, Conn., will spend a sizable portion of the next two weeks in the clouds aboard a 4-passenger 2013 Cessna Corvalis TTx - bright emerald in color and bearing the apt moniker of “Green Hornet.” They have landings planned at all the state capitals in the lower 48 and Alaska. That’s a 12,000-mile Superman impression, give or take, with visits to 57 airports along the way.

The purpose of the Capital Air Tour “road trip” is two-fold: promote general aviation and the importance of smaller satellite airports.

“When most people think of flying by air, they think of the big jets and the long lines and security to get on board,” says Morey, an FAA-certified flight instructor. “We just hop on our little Green Hornet, and away we go.”

Morey says the local airports in Ashland and Grants Pass are considered satellite airports, or smaller operations that ease the congestion at the larger hubs while serving as a possible gateway for tourism. Many are under threat of closing due to rising property taxes and unfavorable public sentiment.

“General aviation airports are a very valuable asset to the community, and we’re here to promote them,” he says.

The planned route could include some diversions, depending on the weather, as September is right in the midst of hurricane season.

Teitell, a former student of Morey’s, came up with the idea for the journey. The friends met in 1995 when Teitell taught law at the University of Wisconsin. They flew from Madison on a cross-country jaunt during Teitell’s training for his instrument rating test. He said Morey is an excellent hands-on instructor who was eager to join him on the state capitals trip.

“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to land at the airports of 49 states?’” Teitell says. “I mentioned it to Field, and he said, ‘Let’s do it. It’s wonderful. Apart from saving these small airports, we hope we can interest people in flying. It’s the most wonderful thing in the world to be able to control an airplane. You get to wear a leather jacket, and you get to say ‘niner’ instead of ‘nine.’

“People say, ‘How many flight hours do you have?’ and I say, ‘I’ve been off the Earth for four years of my life, you do the math,’ ” Morey says.

The trip started with stops at smaller airports in Salem, Olympia, Wash., and Juneau, Alaska. The men will return to Medford Monday, Sept. 29, after a final stop in Sacramento.

A complete list of their stops and real-time progress can be viewed online at www.ifrwest.com/cat. Their trek can also be followed on Twitter, at www.twitter.com/CapitalAirTour.

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Information from: Mail Tribune, https://www.mailtribune.com/

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