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Bob Johnson receives ‘Master Pilot Award’ for 50 years of aviation excellence

Bob Johnson and his wife are all smiles at Saturday’s award presentation.
Bob Johnson and his wife are all smiles at Saturday’s award presentation.

By Marlana Ward

Being exemplary in any field for over 50 years is an amazing feat and recently a local pilot has been recognized for his outstanding service in the world of aviation for over five decades.  Bob Johnson was presented with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award on Saturday, October 8th at the Johnson County Airport.
The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award is the highest award given by the Federal Aviation Administration.  The criteria and vetting process involved in qualifying for the award is so arduous that only a select few are chosen to receive such a high honor each year.
The criteria for being considered a candidate for the Master Pilot Award are: Hold a U.S. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) or Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pilot certificate; Have 50 or more years of civil and military flying experience; and be a U.S. citizen.  A pilot’s flight history and three letters of recommendation are examined and weighed before the honor is bestowed upon the master pilot.
One of the most amazing parts of Johnson’s award ceremony was the fact that it was a complete surprise to him.  His wife, children, and friends all worked diligently to keep the award a secret for months while preparations were made.  All of their hard work came to fruition when Johnson stood overcome with emotion before a crowd of loved ones and peers as they gathered to celebrate his achievement.
Presenting the award to Johnson was David Simmons of the Flight Standards District Office. Johnson shared his memory of giving a five-year old Simmons his first flight lesson many years ago.  The award was presented as a commemorative plaque and lapel pin to be proudly displayed and worn by the recipient.
For the rest of the story pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.