LAKELAND – In his 52-year career as a pilot, Mike Courtney flew for three major airlines, accumulated 24,000 flight hours, met the stewardess who would become his wife, and watched with pride as his two sons also fell in love with aviation.
It was a career that brought him immense joy and fulfillment, and on Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration’s highest honor, the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award.
“It is an honor and a nice capstone,” said Courtney, a program coordinator for Polk State Aerospace. “But aviation is a team effort. The people I worked with are responsible for this.”
Downplay it as he might, the Master Pilot Award is no small achievement. The FAA’s most prestigious honor, it recognizes those who have “exhibited professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise for at least 50 years,” according to faasafety.gov.
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by: Polk Newsroom