The Denver Flight Standards District Office of the Federal Aviation Administration recently presented several individuals with awards. The honors were bestowed during the FAA Aviation Safety Counselor Brunch at the Doubletree Hotel on March 12.
Cole Kugel was recognized with the Golden Wings Award, presented regionally to pioneers in aviation. The Guinness Book of World Records has acknowledged Kugel, who celebrated his 103rd birthday March 14, as the world’s oldest pilot. He flew for the first time in 1929, bought his first airplane in 1943, and helped found and build Vance Brand Municipal Airport.
He takes a flight each year on his birthday, although he last logged official flying time in 2000, when he was 98. Even though he no longer can get a current medical certificate to fly, due to his eyesight and a respiratory condition, he flies with a friend in his Cessna.
Individuals receiving the national Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award were Ruben “Ace” Avakian, Edward M. Cutler, Wilson V. Edwards, Lt. Col. Robert A. “Bob” Estock, Richard J. Orr, Carl Susemihl and William B. Williams.
Northwest Mountain Region winners were John Robert Scott, honored as Aviation Safety Counselor of the Year; John Charles Perry, Aviation Maintenance Technician of the Year; and Lonnie L. Hilkemeier, Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year.