Across the U.S. on a wing and a prayer
July 14, 2021
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  • If summer adventures were scored like the Olympic Games, two Coeur d’Alene pilots are atop the medal stand hoisting the gold.

    LaDonna Beaumont and Lori Porath, members of The 99, returned home from a most incredible odyssey on Sunday afternoon, welcomed at Coeur d’Alene Airport by family and friends. Their coast-to-coast, sea to shining sea trip began on June 27 in Tillamook, Ore. The pair’s winged chariot was LaDonna’s 1976 Cessna 172, destination the First Flight Airport near the site of the Wright brothers first flights in Kitty Hawk, N.C.

    Their final trip stats are impressive: 11 days, two coasts, 23 stops, 12 states on the ground, 67 flight hours, 5,000+ miles and 500+ gallons of 100LL fuel.

    They began the trip homeward bound on July 8. On the morning of July 11 they woke up in Gillette, Wyo., and flew to Helena, Mont., had a bite of lunch and then headed on the last leg of the journey home.

    Wrote Lori in the trip blog, Coast to Coast Flight with L & L from Idaho on Facebook, “Our last day in the air was remarkable in many ways, but mostly because our most challenging leg was our very last. Helena to Coeur d’Alene was punctuated with heat, (high density altitude/poor airplane performance) smoke, mountains, turbulence, temporary flight restrictions, bad ATC contact, and terrible visibility. The smoke was so thick at times, our forward view was nil. LaDonna might have nerve damage from her grip on the yoke.”

    LaDonna observed, “Things have changed so much since 1929 when Amelia Earhart and 98 other women pilots formed the 99s, but people are still sometimes surprised to see two women hop out of the cockpit. I couldn’t be prouder or more grateful to be one of them, and I hope she’d be proud of us, too.”

    I think that’s a given, ladies.

    “Adventure is worthwhile in itself.” — Amelia Earhart