|Meredith Tcherniavsky and Dana Holladay arrived at AirVenture on Sunday during the mass arrival of Cubs.(Photo by Mariano Rosales)
By Barbara A. Schmitz
For husband and wife duo Meredith Tcherniavsky and Dana Holladay, it was a chance to satisfy a dream and check another thing off their bucket list.
After purchasing a 1938 Piper J-3 Cub in Florida on New Year's Eve 2011, the two almost immediately began planning an adventure that would take them to each of the 48 contiguous states.
The couple is about one-third through their dream after landing at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Sunday morning as part of a mass arrival of 75 Piper J-3 Cubs. Two years ago to the day, Holladay proposed to Tcherniavsky on the EAA grounds after meeting on Match.com.
Through Wednesday, their plane can be found in Row 74 in Vintage parking.
The two departed from Maryland on July 1 and hope to complete the 8,000-mile trip by Labor Day.
Hear Their Story
Meredith Tcherniavsky and Dana Holladay will present "Fly the Airplane: 8,000 Miles, 48 States, 1 Cub," at the Skyscape Theater in the EAA AirVenture Museum on Monday. Their presentation is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
"We wanted to do it while we still had the physical capacity to get in and out of the plane," Tcherniavsky said, laughing. Holladay even quit his job to make the trip.
They decided to fly the country counterclockwise so they wouldn't have to rush to reach Oshkosh, which is the only scheduled destination on their route.
They're writing a book about their trip, Fly the Plane, which will be out by the end of the year. Preorders for the book have also helped to pay for their journey and allowed $500 to be donated to a scholarship in the name of a fellow flight instructor.
The title of the book was chosen for a reason. "We learn in flying that when things go bad, you still need to keep flying the airplane and then deal with the emergency," Holladay said. "But in some ways, the title always applies to life. It's about maintaining control of your life."
The real story of the trip, however, hasn't been about the flying; it's been about the people they've met. People they don't know have invited them through social media to stay with them, or given them hints about places to visit on their route.
The two fly about three hours a day in what Holladay calls the "the ultimate low-and-slow airplane." However, their longest day was more than five hours to take advantage of winds. They also take days off to sightsee along the way.
Both are pilots and flight instructors. Tcherniavsky has logged about 2,800 hours, and Holladay some 6,500. However, Tcherniavsky didn't have tailwheel time until they purchased the Cub.
"Before I met Meredith, I never would have quit a high-paying job in this economy to do something like this," Holladay said. "My mindset has evolved so I don't worry about what will happen ... and I know things will work out with her by my side."
The trip has also taught them one other thing, thanks to the Cub's limited carry capacity.
"Pack light and be creative," Tcherniavsky said. "You learn how small of a bag you can get two or three changes of clothes in."
To follow the pair on their trip or to purchase their book, go to www.HolladayAviation.com.