Junior Sandy receives rare Wright Brothers Master Pilot honors

Kenneth “Junior” Sandy of nearby Kidder, Missouri recently received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, the most prestigious award issued by the Federal Aviation Authority to pilots certified under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

The award is named in honor of the first U.S. pilots, Orville and Wilbur Wright. The award honors pilots who have demonstrated professionalism, skill, and aviation experience. Junior joins an elite group of pilots who have qualified for this award.

Requirements for the award include holding a U.S. Civil Aviation Authority, or Federal Aviation pilot certificate; 50 years of flying experience beginning with the date of their first solo flight; at least three recommendations from peers; and being a United States citizen.

The Award was presented in a ceremony at the Chillicothe Airport by Marvin Moore, Manager of the FAAS Team Program (Federal Aviation Authority Safety) promoting a culture of safety for the aviation industry.

 Included in the Award ceremony was a video of the Wright Brothers and the beginning of aviation in American history. Junior said that in watching the film he realized that “only 120 years ago no one had ever flown”. He feels “very lucky to win this award, and is thankful and blessed”.

Junior learned to fly at St. Joe Flying Service in under the direction of Elmer Meyers and achieved his certification very quickly. His first solo flight was in a Cherokee 140 Aircraft in August of 1968. The first plane he purchased was a Woodwind Tail Mark 20 Mooney which he flew a great deal in his business life.

Although he has experienced some mechanical difficulties while flying, he was never involved in a “forced landing”. He cited the importance of good training and remaining calm in all circumstances. He recalls being forced to take off, however, with the approach of a grizzly bear while in Alaska.

 

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