Fred Kessler recently received the FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot award for 50 years of active, incident-free flying.
Frederick Kessler has joined the ranks of only a few thousand U.S. pilots who have received the Federal Aviation Administration’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot award.
The Lewisburg resident and president of Nottingham Village was 18 when he took his first solo flight in 1958 in a Piper Cub in Ithaca, N.Y., and continues to fly regularly today.
To earn the Wright Brothers award, a pilot must have 50 years of active flying, exhibit professionalism, skill and expertise.
Only 3,630 pilots have earned the award, said John Sibole Jr., program manager at the FAA’s Harrisburg Flight Standards District Office.
“It’s impressive,” said Sibole, who presented the prestigious award to Kessler last month at Penn Valley Airport in Selinsgrove.
Flying has been a family passion for decades, starting with Kessler’s father who piloted his own private planes in the 1930s and 40’s.
Kessler has been flying for business and pleasure for nearly 60 years, often with his wife of 52 years, Virginia, as a co-pilot on trips across the country, Canada, Mexico and the Bahamas.
Kessler’s favorite trip? “The next one,” he said.
The 76-year-old was encouraged to apply for the Wright Brothers Award by his son-in-law, Andrew Misener, also a pilot and private airplane owner.
“Flying is an adventure that seems to just continue,” said Kessler, who hopes his 5-year-old grandson will keep up the family’s aviation tradition.
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