Kansas Veteran Receives Prestigious Aviation Award

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Wichita man was hearing his name mentioned in the same breath as some aviation legends Thursday.

As you might imagine, winning the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award is a pretty lofty honor.

Wichita native Ken Stinson, Sr., was given the award, which recognizes pilots with more than 50 years of flying professionalism, skill and expertise.

Soon to be 89 years old, Ken Stinson, Sr., now gets around in a wheelchair. But, for half a century, he maintained a pilot's license and remembers training with the Navy in an old Stearman bi-plane.

Stinson said he was "full of emotion." That feeling, he said, comes fro being nominated to receive such ha prestigious award.

"The Wright Brothers Award recognizes people throughout the nation that have at least 50 years of continuous service as a pilot and also that they have exhibited a safe flying record throughout that entire time," said FAA safety team member Jim Lamb.

Stinson's son, Ken Stinson, Jr., says their family is a family of pilots, no doubt inspired by Ken, Sr., taking them on local flights in a Cessna 140 from Jabarra Airport many years ago.

What amazes Ken, Jr., is how little his dad's generation talked about what they did during the war.

"He never really talked about what else went on," he said. "The war was over. It was time to move on. Just a different mindset than what we have in today's generation."

Ken, Sr., moved on after the war, but continued flying.

And, though his days of flying solo are behind him, his eyes still light up at seeing the vintage planes like the one he once took flight in.

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