MTSU, family welcome McDonald home after monthlong aerial journey

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MTSU senior Collin McDonald lifts a "Welcome Back Vin Fiz 2" cake given to him by Dr. John Vile and the University Honors College June 16 at Murfreesboro Airport. McDonald successfully completed the coast-to-coast trip for an Honors thesis and to promote aviation among young people. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

He has flown a family-owned, four-seat airplane 6,600 miles. He has touched and been touched by the past, present and future of aviation.

MTSU senior Collin McDonald flew to Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, where Orville and Wilbur Wright's plane took flight in 1903. He toured aviation museums around the country. He spent time at the Grand Canyon and other U.S. landmarks. He wrote a blog, conducted research for an Honors College thesis and promoted aviation to young people and adults.

And someday when he has children and grandchildren, the young man who admits to becoming a storyteller on this nearly monthlong voyage will have volumes of stories to tell about how he retraced the flight path of aviation pioneer Cal Rodgers in flying from Long Island, New York, to Long Beach, California,

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On Thursday (June 16), the Carthage, Tennessee, native arrived back home at Murfreesboro Airport to the hugs and adoration of MTSU students, faculty and staff from aerospace and the Honors College, and his immediate family.

"I'm excited to be home. I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed," McDonald said. "One of the lessons I learned is that you can always fly tomorrow if there's an issue. ... I'm looking forward to the next step (in the thesis project), but I'm glad to complete this part."

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McDonald completed his transcontinental, Vin Fiz 2 quest June 11 in Long Beach. He called the trip Vin Fiz 2 because Rodgers' plane was call The Vin Fiz.

For more on his trip, visit https://vinfizflight.wordpress.com, http://www.facebook.com/vinfizflight and http://www.imgrum.net/user/capt_mac/1424764353.

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aviation, Collin McDonald, Dr. John Vile, Honors College, McDonald, MTSU, Murfreesboro Airport, Randy Weiler, Vin Fiz 2
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