Captain Thomas W Sharpe, of Shady Valley, has been awarded the prestigious Master Pilot Award from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Captain Sharpe, a pilot for more than 50 years, accumulated over 25,000 flight hours, flying many different aircraft. He was a 1967 graduate from Bethany High School in Rockingham County, North Carolina. Tom started his flying career at Greensboro’s Air Harbor Airport while still a student at Bethany High School.

After a tour of duty in the US Air Force, he returned to North Carolina to pursue his dream of flying for Piedmont Airlines. Tom was hired by Piedmont Airlines in 1975, who merged with US Airways in 1989. He recently retired from the airlines after 39 years as a senior captain flying international flights on the Airbus 330.

In addition to holding many type ratings, Tom also holds advanced flight instructor ratings and was a check pilot for the airlines, where he trained and gave proficiency checks to other pilots. Tom has never lost his love of flying and aviation.

He continues to fly general aviation aircraft out of the Johnson County Airport in Mountain City.

The Master Pilot Award was presented by David Simmons of the FAA at a joint event to honor both Tom and his dear friend, Bob Johnson, who recently passed away.

The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award is the most prestigious award the FAA issues to pilots certified under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 61. This award is named after the Wright Brothers, the first US pilots, to recognize individuals who have exhibited professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise for at least 50 years while piloting aircraft as “Master Pilots”