With less than two weeks until the Miss America competition gets underway, contestants will soon make their way from all areas of the United States to Atlantic City.

Miss Vermont Erin Connor arrived at Atlantic City International Airport on Sunday morning in a single-engine 200 horsepower Arrow airplane. Connor wasn’t just arriving in unique style, but she was actually behind the controls, piloting the plane.

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“It’s was a great day to fly,” said Connor. “What a great way to start off my 2018 Miss America journey.”

After a more than 350-mile flight, with one stop in upstate New York, Connor was all smiles walking on the Tarmac. Wearing blue aviator sunglasses and her grandfather’s World War II uniform shirt, Connors not only looked like a seasoned pilot, but has the credentials to back it up.

At 16, Connors got her pilot’s license, graduating from the Vermont Flight Academy at Vermont Technical College and receiving credits toward her high school diploma. Connor’s love of aviation is the inspiration for her platform, “Tailwinds: training a new generation of women scientists.”

“I thought, ‘What’s a better way to highlight my platform of encouraging women to enter into STEM fields and aviation than to fly down myself?’” Connor said.

Co-piloting with Connor was Vermont Flight Academy board member Doug White, who said it was a great experience to fly with Connor.

“Erin has been a good driving force with the Vermont Flight Academy to get more girls interested in flying. You can see her excitement for flying and it’s great for the programs.”

Meeting her at the airport was her father, Paul, who drove from Bridport, Vermont, and friend Caroline Bright, Miss Vermont 2010.

Bright not only shares the pageant bond with Connor but also an interest in flying and travel, working on the commercial side as a flight attendant for American Airlines.

“It’s so cool that she could do this,” Bright said. “She’s not the first Miss Vermont with a pilot’s license, but we believe she’s the first ever contestant to fly herself to Miss America.”

Connor now has a few days of rest and relaxation with family before the competition week duties begin. The contestants will officially check in Wednesday and the Miss America Arrival Ceremony will begin 5 p.m. at Kennedy Plaza on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.

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Contact: 609-272-7286 LCarroll@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPress_LC

Joined the Press in November 2016. Graduate of Quinnipiac University. Previously worked as a freelance reporter in suburban Philadelphia and news/talk radio producer.

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