Centennial Super Connie Contest Winner

Travis Ledwith - United States



All of the memories associated with my father are related to aviation. When I close my eyes, I’m six years old again sitting at a picnic table with him putting together a model airplane. Looking back, it was just a cheap plastic kit assembled by clumsy hands with too much glue. But on that day, it was a fierce fighter aircraft every bit as dangerous as its full-sized metal brothers.

Little did I know that this would spark a life-long fascination with flight. I began making model aircraft before non-toxic cement (which explains a lot) and found myself spending hours at a table covered in two-inch ailerons and tiny instruments. Paints, brushes, tweezers and toothpicks; these were the tools of my trade and I stepped back in time every time I started a new aircraft.

I was a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol and even worked one miserable winter during college for ramp operations at an upstate New York airport.

My career led me into finance, but I always longed to return to aviation and last year, I co-founded a technology company designing tools that connect pilots and make flying safer. While we are a long way from changing the world, you have to start or you’ll never finish.

Somewhere my dad is carefully cleaning a propeller blade on the restored seaplane he was never able to buy and I’d like to think he would be proud of how much my life was shaped by that little model plane.