Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Jerry Gable receives Federal Aviation Administration award for 50 years of safe flying

Jerry Gable receives the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award from FAA representative Barbara Olsen-Gwin.

The Federal Aviation Administration has presented its highest honor, the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, to Southport resident Gerald Holton (“Jerry”) Gable.

The award, conferred by the FAA administrator earlier this year and recorded in the National Register, recognizes pilots who have flown safely for 50 years without accident or incident. 

The award itself was presented by local FAA representative Barbara Olsen-Gwin recently during a ceremony at Cape Fear Regional Jetport. Gable is the first Brunswick County resident to receive the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award.

Like many young men growing up in the 1940s and ’50s, Gable was fascinated with airplanes and flying. He and his brother built a number of flying model airplanes, and they belonged to an active model airplane club in Albion, Michigan, their childhood home. Gable occasionally went flying with a friend of his father’s who owned a Piper Cub.

In 1958 he met Lois, to whom he has now been married for 56 years. Her father, as luck would have it, was a private pilot and owned a 1946 Aeronca 7AC Champ. He told Gable on his second visit to his farm that if he intended to marry his daughter, he was going to have to learn to fly.

It took a couple years to finish college and start a career and a family, but on August 18, 1965, Gable soloed the Champ and he went on to achieve his commercial pilot’s license.

Gable’s career as a physicist largely involved research and development on government aircraft projects. His final assignment was as team manager for the X-29 Forward Swept Wing Fighter project for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and his retirement party from Grumman Aerospace Corp. coincided with the first-flight celebration of the X-29 in 1985.

The Gables flew light aircraft over the years for personal travel and, after the hectic world of government contract work, he didn’t really “retire;” the couple moved to the Southport-Oak Island area, where they started “Pelican Post” magazine, Oak Island Press and Map Makers. One of the main reasons for choosing this area was its proximity to an excellent small airport.

The Gables have an antique— they call it “classic”—1962 Cessna Skyhawk which they have flown all over the country and regularly to the Bahamas. Even though they have tried to maintain the classic look of the plane, they have upgraded the instrumentation to the very latest technology.

Gable worked closely with the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Aviation Division on its ADS-B demonstration and evaluation program, and his was one of the first planes equipped with the new ADS-B navigation and traffic control technology in 2005.

ADS-B is now being implemented worldwide to replace radar and other 20th century air traffic control technologies.

Gable is a 50-year member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), and serves on the board of directors of local chapter 939. He has flown nearly 100 Young Eagles in the EAA youth flying program.

Original article can be found here:

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