Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award
by Sherrill Fisher
Richard Webb of Browns Valley was awarded the prestigious Federal Aviation Administration’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award at the Beale AFB Aero Club meeting on Saturday, March 24, 2018.
The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award is reserved for pilots who for at least 50 years have practiced safe aircraft flight and have exhibited professionalism, skill and aviation expertise as “Master Pilots”. Richard E Webb has flown safely for 65 years and has accumulated approximately 13,000 hours (nearly 1.5 years total time in the sky) in military & general aviation aircraft.
Richard began his flying career in 1953 in the USAF Pilot training program where he flew the PA-18, T-6, T-28, and B-25 aircraft. After graduation, he became an Instructor Pilot in the USAF Pilot Training Program flying the B-25. He then transitioned into the B-47 six-jet Medium Bomber as Aircraft Commander. He then transitioned into the B-52 eight-jet Heavy Bomber and flew nine Airborne Alert Missions (24-25 hr. duration) during the Cuban Missile Crisis in the early 1960’s. He spent five years as a Minuteman Missile Crew Commander during which time he flew the C-47 Gooney Bird twin engine transport. He flew the C-47 for one year in Vietnam. His final assignment was at Beale AFB flying the B-52 completing his USAF career as one of two Wing Standardization Crews. During this time, he spent four months in Thailand flying 44 B-52 Combat bombing missions. He retired in November, 1972 with 8,292 hrs. in military aircraft, with 5,432 of those hours as an instructor pilot.
After retirement he became a Certified Flight Instrument Instructor and has instructed at Yuba and Sutter County Airports since 1979 in multiple Single Engine Aircraft. He especially enjoys giving Instrument Instruction. His flying friends fondly refer to him as “The Professor” because at the age of 87 he still gives flight instruction and is always teaching and training others to help them become better, safer pilots.