14:26 PM

FAA Honors N.C. Pilot for 50 Years of Safe Flying

Capt. Thomas Gene Meade of the North Carolina Wing has been recognized with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, presented to pilots who have demonstrated professionalism and aviation expertise for at least 50 years without experiencing an accident.

Meade received the award at Shelby-Cleveland County Regional Airport from Eddie Shields, the Federal Aviation Administration’s FAASTeam (FAA Safety Team) program manager in Charlotte. Only about 4,700 pilots have been recognized as master pilots.

Meade joined the Shelby Composite Squadron more than 40 years ago after initially soloing as a pilot on March 20, 1968, in Shelby. He earned a German student pilot certificate while serving in the U.S. Army in 1961.

During his years as an active Civil Air Patrol pilot Meade found two crashed planes and served as a CAP check pilot. He has been a certified flight instructor since 1970.