The journey begins

April 10, 2010

Team Orville and Team Wilbur launch AOPA's Road + Runway Rally

Left to right: Flight Training Deputy Editor Ian Twombly and MotorWeek reporter and producer Steve Chupnick (Team Wilbur) and AOPA eMedia Managing Editor Alyssa Miller and Wired.com correspondent Jason Paur launch AOPA's Road and Runway Rally from Frederick Municipal Airport.

In the first few hours of the Road and Runway Rally April 10, the advantage went to the Smart car.

The rally pits AOPA’s sweepstakes Remos GX against a Smart fortwo in a dash down to Lakeland, Fla., for Sun ’n Fun, with stops and competitions along the way. Anxious to get out on the road—the Smart car can’t take a straight line like the Remos, and it won’t match the 130 mph cruise speed—Wired.com correspondent Jason Paur and AOPA eMedia Managing Editor Alyssa Miller (Team Orville) jumped in the car for a head start. MotorWeek reporter and producer Steve Chupnick and Flight Training Deputy Editor Ian Twombly (Team Wilbur) took their time giving chase, and when they taxied out to Runway 30 discovered a factor that would keep them on the ground for longer: a flat tire.

It was a minor setback in an otherwise auspicious start to the rally. AOPA staff and visitors from the area came out to the AOPA ramp at Frederick Municipal Airport to see the two vehicles, along with aircraft of all shapes and sizes. AOPA’s Cessna Caravan and Diamond DA40 shared the ramp with a Robinson R22 and Cessna 182 from local flight schools Advanced Helicopter Concepts and Frederick Flight Center. And the Remos, a light sport aircraft with a max gross weight of 1320 lbs, wasn’t even the smallest aircraft on the ramp: visitors got to take a peek into Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman’s single-seat RV-3.

And fortunately for Chupnick and Twombly, this is a rally, not a race. When it looked like Team Orville would be the ones struggling to keep up with the swifter airplane, emcee Chris O’Callaghan, AOPA vice president of eMedia, reminded Paur and Miller that it’s all about the journey.

“It’s not how fast you go,” O’Callaghan said. “It’s about the course you take and the friends you make along the way.”

At noon, Paur and Miller were well on their way, and Chupnick and Twombly were changing a tire. But it’s a long trip, so check back on AOPA Online and the rally page for the latest—competitions, sights, and all the unexpected challenges that could turn the tables on our competitors at any moment.