Gaithersburg flight instructors to tour country by air -- Gazette.Net


Like many couples, Meredith Tcherniavsky and her husband are planning to travel around July 4 this year.

They’ll visit family, see the country and maybe do some camping.

Unlike most, though, they’ll likely not get stuck in holiday traffic — the pair is embarking on their journey in a 74-year-old single-engine airplane.

Tcherniavsky, 40, and her husband, Dana Holladay, 51, are flight instructors at the Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg. The Rockville residents say they plan to take their 1938 Piper J-3 Cub — an antique lightweight aircraft — across the continental U.S., starting July 4.

The 8,000-mile, 48-state journey will take them about two months, Tcherniavsky said, and begins at the Fallston Airport. They will stop in a new state almost every day, stopping first in Delaware then moving through the Northeast, before heading west across the country through Michigan, Wisconsin and the Dakotas.

Tcherniavsky, who earned her pilot’s license in 2003, said while they will stop mainly at small airparks, their trip will include landings on private airstrips where the two then will camp beneath their plane. She said they’ve been planning the trip for the past year, laying out their counterclockwise route through the country.

The pair will document their travel in a book, “Fly the Airplane,” and some of the proceeds will be donated to a local aviation scholarship.

The pair bought the restored antique plane for about $40,000 in December, Holladay said.

The flight will take at least two months as the plane travels at around 75 mph because of its light weight. That weight also means they’ll only carry a tent, a camera and light supplies, Tcherniavsky said.

The Cub travels at about 1,000 feet — compared to larger planes that fly above 12,000 feet or commercial flights at 35,000 feet — which allows its passengers to open the doors or windows, Holladay said.

“Touring the country ‘low and slow’ in a small airplane is something we’ve always wanted to do,” Tcherniavsky said in a news release. “Each day is an opportunity to do something incredible.”

The pair is donating a portion of the pre-sales of their book to the Robert Hawkins Fund, a scholarship program administered through Congressional Flying Club, said Anne Culver, the wife of the late Hawkins, for whom the fund is named.