Four Illinois Pilots Earn Wright Bros. Master Pilot Award

Nov. 2, 2017

An airport event last week uncovered another benefit for a pilot growing older, recognition for some of their lifetime achievements. Four long-time aviators, members of the Chicago Executive Pilots Association, were awarded the coveted Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award given to pilots with at least 50 years of safe, accident free flying.

This year’s winners were John DeJoris, Armand Bendersky, Jim McLennan and Jack Sheridan. Even after 50 years of accident free flying, all four pilots still regularly fly from Chicago Executive Airport.

The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award is the most prestigious award the FAA issues to pilots and is based on an individual’s professionalism, skill and aviation expertise. Eligibility requirements include being a U.S. citizen and possessing an FAA-issued pilot certificate. In addition to having flown 50 or more years, each application was accompanied by letters of recommendation from at least three of their peers. Each winner’s name was also posted to the FAA’s Roll of Honor at

Armand Bendersky started flying in 1964 at Sky Harbor airport in Northbrook, an airfield that has since closed. Armand currently flies a Beechcraft Bonanza. John DeJoris earned his private in 1962 and more advanced ratings at Champaign Illinois, before flying in Viet Nam. Jim McLennan currently flies a single-pilot Citation Mustang jet at PWK. Jack Sheridan started flying in 1960 and earned flight instructor, as well as seaplane and balloon ratings, in addition to having volunteered for many years with the Civil Air Patrol.

Additional hi-resolution photos of the group and individuals are available upon request. A printable copy of this release is also attached.