In September, Davis was honored with the prestigious Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for 50 or more years of safe flight operations. Davis joined Cartersville resident and current chair of the Cartersville-Bartow County Airport Authority Robert Hite on the Federal Aviation Administration’s Roll of Honor. Hite was honored in 2008 and Davis was formally recognized at a local ceremony on Oct. 12.
The Master Pilot Award was described, along with another aviation award, earlier this year by FAA Southern Region Safety Training Team Program Manager Fred Kaiser in the spring 2012 issue of the FAA Safety Briefing.
“One of the most prestigious honors in aviation today appropriately recognizes one of the greatest achievements in aviation,” Kaiser said. “[The awards] recognize pilots and mechanics who have contributed to building and maintaining the safest aviation system in the world, through practicing and promoting airmanship, best maintenance practices and safe flight. Both awards recognize individuals who have held a U.S. Civil Aviation Authority — the predecessor of the FAA — or an FAA pilot or mechanic certificate for 50 or more years of civil flying or
All three of Davis’ sons and two of his granddaughters are licensed pilots, including son Randall Davis who now serves as vice president and general counsel of Cartersville-based Phoenix Air.
“Between his children and grandchildren, some of us are flying small propeller planes and some of us are flying jets, but regardless of the type of airplane, his professionalism and safety consciousness continues to be an example to all of us,” Randy Davis said. “We are very happy that the FAA has recognized his inspiration to us as a pilot.
“To have a pilot career lasting more than 50 years without accident or incident is truly a magnificent feat.”
At the age of 86, Lester Davis continues to fly when accompanied by his children or grandchildren. He began flying at small airstrips on Long Island, N.Y., taking his first solo flight in a Piper Cub J-3 after less than 10 hours of flight instruction and went on to earn a FAA Commercial Pilot Certificate.
Having owned several aircraft, Davis also built, owned and operated the Coram Airpark on his farm in rural New York state. He also has been active in many aviation and other civic associations.