The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award is bestowed on pilots who have been flying for 50 years without revocation of their certificate. The Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award is given to mechanics who have been working on aircraft for 50 years. Usually, one of these two awards are bestowed annually by the FAA, but this year the agency handed out 31 for master pilot and one for master mechanic to members of Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 983 in Granbury, Texas—all in one ceremony.
The ceremony was held at chapter headquarters at Pecan Plantation, Texas (0TX1). Joe Murphy and Darrell Hughes of the FAA’s North Texas Flight Standards District Office presided over the event.
According to Tom Woodward, the WBA/CTA award coordinator for EAA 983, this was the largest ceremony of its kind for the FAA. Woodward said the previous largest award event for WBA/CTA came with this same chapter in 2014 when 13 members were honored.
“Of the now 69 members in the Granbury area, 65 of them are or were members of EAA Chapter 983,” he said.
Woodward, a 19,000-hour retired airline captain, added that this year’s WBA recipients have a combined flight time in excess of 324,390 hours and a total of more than 1,691 years of flying. Individual flying time over those 50 years varied from 790 hours to more than 35,960. At least eight of the recipients hold CFI ratings. Woodward has been instructing in gliders since 1979.
Chapter 983 was established in 1992, and Woodward joined in 1996.
“As a chapter we have a very senior pilot group but are just now starting to get younger members,” Woodward said. “We fly about 20-40 Young Eagles every month. We sponsor one or two youngsters to the EAA Air Academy, and we’ve started a glider club where young people rebuilt a [Schweitzer] SGS-222 and on the weekend are learning to fly it.”
For more information about the chapter visit eaa983.org.