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Young aviator revisits historic trip

Collin McDonald flying cross-country in 1911 plane

SAN ANTONIO – A college student halfway into a remarkable cross-country plane trip made a stop recently in San Antonio.

Collin McDonald, 22, is retracing history by flying in an 1911 plane.

McDonald is flying the route of Cal Rodgers, who became the first man to fly coast to coast.

"It was off of a challenge from William Randolph Hearst, who was a prominent newspaper baron at the time," McDonald said. "He had promised a $50,000 cash prize to the first man who flew from coast to coast."

The flight is McDonald's thesis for his undergraduate degree at Middle Tennessee State University.

"I figured if I could fly and still get credit for doing my project, that's the way I wanted to go. So I ended up doing a creative project," McDonald said.

His trip started in Long Island about 12 days ago. He hopes the flight ends in Los Angeles by the end of next week.

"It's definitely been an adventure. I've had a great time," McDonald said.

The aviator hopes his flight will inspire young flyers.

"I wanted to get other young people interested in aviation and let them see that this 22-year-old college kid is flying across the country," he said. "And try to get them interested in seeing how they can be part of aviation."