2 Local Pilots Honored for 50 Years of Safe Flying

May 2, 2022

May 1—Two local pilots with decades of experience received an award from the Federal Aviation Administration for flying safely for 50 years.

Mike Brown and Tim Christman were honored Sunday with the Master Pilot Award at the Moraine Airpark Funday Sunday Fly-In, an annual event to celebrate the unofficial start to the flying season. Both men started flying in the 1960s, and people who know them said Sunday they are two of the best and safest pilots in the area.

Brown has flown many different airplanes but is well known for flying Waco Biplanes in airshows, and Christman has been active flying gliders and instructed for years in general aviation aircraft, said Mike Lucas, the local chapter president of the Experimental Aircraft Association.

Brown said that he has always had an interest in flying and rode his bicycle about three miles to the airpark for his first flying lesson at the age of 16. He said flying is fun and the local flying community is a great group of people who have a passion for aviation.

He said being cautious is key to being safe.

"There is a certain amount of luck like driving your car," he said of his longevity without a serious issue while flying. "Pay attention, know your limitations, and watch the weather. The weather is what can hurt you the most with winds and unknowns. If (there are) doubts about it, it's better to stay on the ground and wish I was up there than be up and wish I was down."

Christman said his father was a pilot and for as long as he can remember wanted to be in the air also.

"I love airplanes and anything to do with flying," he said.

He turned his hobby into an occupation by becoming a flight instructor. He said there is no secret to safe flying and there are no guarantees.

"But there's a whole lot you can do to mitigate your risk," Christman said. "If you approach it like you're going to be a safe pilot and you're going to learn how to be a safe pilot, you're going to evaluate the situation and you're not going to do things that you know could go the wrong way."

"It's the same thing as being a safe car driver, you do your best to stay out of trouble and obey the law and rules," he said.

He said he visits the airpark every day, and called the Dayton flying community a brotherhood.

The Funday Sunday Fly-In is an annual tradition that takes place at the Moraine Airpark on the first Sunday of May, Lucas said. He said it's a way for people to celebrate summer arriving and to promote flying to those who might have an interest in starting themselves.

"This fly-in, in particular, is to celebrate this airpark and get people here to see it and to kick off the flying season," Lucas said. "Everyone treats it like they've been working on their plane all winter and couldn't fly, they are all excited to see everyone again and chat about what's going on and get ready to fly all year. It's a big social event for the region and at the same time, it's open to other people who can just drive in."

He said two upcoming events are planned to help people who are interested in flying get their start. On May 21, adults interested in flying will have a chance to take a course and a free flight with a pilot. Those who wish to attend can contact the EAA on their website https://chapters.eaa.org/eaa48/.

Also, every third Sunday of every month between May and October, children from 7 years old to 17 can come to the Airpark for a similar event. More information can be found at youngeaglesday.org.


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