Solo journey completed in about 7 weeks
By Alicia DoyleJohn Castellucci of Malibu, Calif., wanted to honor his 65th birthday and did so by flying round-trip alone across the United States in a 300-horsepower, open-cockpit Starduster biplane constructed for aerobatics. "It was exhilarating," stated Castellucci, who took nothing but his sleeping bag and some survival gear for the journey. Castellucci started and ended his flight at the Camarillo Airport, with the coast-to-coast round trip lasting about seven weeks. A highlight of the trip was the five days he spent attending the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, where he heard Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Arizona Sen. John McCain speak. He also endured several challenges, including harsh weather conditions caused by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. Castellucci, who runs his own business, began flying in 1974 and purchased his first open-cockpit biplane before getting his license. "I literally used a single plane to do my cross countries to get my certificate," he said. "Now I'm what they call a certified private pilot." Prior to his latest cross-country round flight, Castellucci had flown across the country around seven times.
January 8, 2009