Published with permission of the Virginia Department of Aviation
The Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach hosted the Virginia Department of Aviation and the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society’s “Honoring Virginia’s Aviation Pioneers” reception this past Saturday, June 9, 2012. The gorgeous weather brought out over 120 award recipients, flying octogenarians, goverenment and airport representatives, and friends and family.
Twenty eight of Virginia’s flying octogenarians were presented awards by Randall Burdette of the Virginia Department of Aviation. Qualifications include being above the age of 80 and an active pilot. Here is a list of those who received the award: Edwin M. Avera, Dan Bellware, Robert "Bob" Brammer, Eldridge Brock, Norman Crabill, Richard D’Antonio, Jim Gellios, Walter C. Grantz, John P. Greenwood, Warren W. Halstead, Ralph Jackson, Robert Z. Johnson, John E. King, Hans H. Kopper, Charles Kulp, Richard "Gene" Matthews, Hampton K. Miller, Bill Mistele, Charles O’Brien, Sara Parmenter, Donald O. Robb, Gilbert S. Ross, M.D., John M. Schiele Jr., Ray Tyson, Charles Waring, Marion Williamson, James Wright and Keith Young.
Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award Recipients Hubert Compton, John Greenwood, Sara Parmenter and Ray Tyson were also recognized by Mike Alakszay of the Richmond FSDO. The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award recognizes pilots who have demonstrated professionalism, skill and aviation expertise by maintaining safe operations for 50 or more years. The Federal Aviation Administration also awards recipients with a certificate and a lapel pin, and are recognized in their Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award – Roll of Honor at FAASafety.gov.
Also in attendence were members of the United Flying Octogenarians. More than 1,000 men and women, age 80 or older, make up the members of the United Flying Octogenarians (UFO). Although all members were still flying when they joined the UFO’s, most are no longer at the controls of an aircraft. The UFO is an international, non-profit organization with members in the United States including the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, Argentina, Australia, France, and the United Kingdom.