Chattanooga Pilot Fulfills Dream Of Landing Airplane In All 50 States

Monday, November 20, 2017

Vaughn Pago Phipps, is a testament to living your life to the fullest means sometimes keeping your head in the clouds, literally.

On Saturday, Nov. 4, at the age of 74, Pago (as he is referred to by his friends) successfully landed an airplane in Honolulu, Hi.  The element that makes this landing historical, is that Hawaii was the last remaining state in North America to enable Pago to say he flew and landed a place in all 50 of the United States. 

Dr. Chad Garrison, a fellow pilot and president of the Black Pilots Association said, “Pago is an exceptional pilot.  I attribute a great deal of my successfully completing an emergency landing due to the advice Pago game me about high altitude aerial recovery techniques." 

Page earned his aviation license in 1993.  Since then he has owned and flow the following aircraft: 
Skipper, Sundowner, Comanche, and his current airplane, the Bonanza.  

Difficulty nor distance would hinder Pago’s passion to landing in all 50 states. Before Hawaii, Pago had to conquer the challenge of landing his plane in Alaska.  From the contiguous states, the closet tip of Alaskan landing space is in a town called, Ketchikan, Alaska.  Pago took off from Chattanooga and flew cross country in two to three hour flying segments until reaching Seattle, Wa. From Seattle, Pago flew to Ketchikan, Ak; landed, had dinner, spent the night, and then flew back to Chattanooga. 

Before Hawaii, in each of the previous 49 states, Pago landed his personal airplane in each state.  Considering the fuel capacity enabling Pago’s aircraft to fly approximately five nonstop hours at top speed, the flight time and distance to Hawaii exceeded his plane’s capability.

This was just another one of many challenges Pago had to creatively overcome.  While fulfilling another aspiration on his bucket list of seeing Pearl Harbor, Pago took advantage of already being in the state of Hawaii.  Before arriving in Hawaii, Pago called ahead and was able to negotiate an agreement with a local flight school.  Pago rented one of the flight school’s airplanes for two hours.  Pago flew the plane one hour from Honolulu to the island of Oahu and back. This enabled Pago to land in all 50 states; including two Hawaiian Islands. 

Pago is a Chattanooga native and 36-year employee of the Chattanooga headquartered company, Air and Hydraulic Equipment.  He is the father of three sons, Tony, Vaughn, and Vincent. He has been married for 42 years to Ola Phipps.  

When asked about his next adventure, Pago said, “I don’t know.  I have been fortunate to live a pretty good life.  My bucket list is getting shorter.”



Conasauga Circuit Drug Court Celebrates 71st Drug Court Graduation

The Conasauga Circuit Drug Court, which serves both the Whitfield and Murray counties, will hold a graduation ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 25 at the Whitfield County, Georgia Courthouse, Jury Assembly Room at 10:30 a.m. Judge Jim Wilbanks will deliver the keynote address. This is the court’s 71st ceremony, since its founding in 2002. The ceremony marks the completion of an ... (click for more)

League Of Women Voters Announces Walks And Bike Rides To Early Voting

The League of Women Voters of Chattanooga, in conjunction with the UTC Campus Recreation Department, the campus group Mocs Go Vote 2018 and the Save the Children Action Network, is holding “Exercise Your Right!” events  during the early voting period in Hamilton County. League members, along with UTC faculty members, will accompany students as they bike, walk or run along ... (click for more)

City "Moves Away" From $4 Million Light Show On Walnut Street Bridge

The city is no longer pursuing a plan for a $4,050,000 light show on the Walnut Street Bridge. Dennis Malone, assistant city engineer, told City Council members on Tuesday, "We have moved away from that project." The council had earlier pulled capital funding that had been proposed for the "Ripples of Light" on the historic "walking bridge" that dates to 1891. “Ripples ... (click for more)

Developer Of Publix Grocery At St. Elmo To Go Before Variance Board

The developer of a planned Publix grocery in St. Elmo will go before the City Board of Zoning Appeals on Nov. 7 seeking three variances. Mike Price of MAP Engineers said the grocery has been working with community members to try to come up with an acceptable plan for the site where the former Mt. Vernon Restaurant and Pizza Hut are located. There has been controversy over ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Drivers, Please, Please Slow Down

It is  heart wrenching  to see all of these automobile accident deaths in Chattanooga. Two weeks ago six people lost their lives. Last week two lost their lives and now this week we have already had four deaths on our highways. The major factor in these accidents is speed. The faster you go the less time you have to react to a situation on the roadway. Plus ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Vols: ‘Don’t Let Up’

The idea was hatched a couple of years ago. Some Tennessee football fanatic had gotten wind that an Oklahoma player had documented his baptism to havoc inside Neyland Stadium. Offensive lineman Ty Darlington was part of that 2015 double-overtime slugfest against the Vols and, afterwards, remembered OU’s 34-27 win – after being down by 17 points earlier – was an absolute “dissertation” ... (click for more)