10:57 AM

New Mexico Wing Pilot Honored by FAA for Safe Flying

Maj. Glen Nicolet of the New Mexico Wing’s Santa Fe Composite Squadron has been recognized with the Federal Aviation Administration’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, presented to pilots who have maintained safe flight operations for 50 or more consecutive years of piloting aircraft.

Nicolet received the award from John DeWitt of the Albuquerque FAA Flight Standards District Office at a squadron meeting. Cliff Chetwin, FAA Safety Team member and a former CAP member, also attended.

Nicolet became interested in aviation while giving weather briefings to pilots as an aerographer’s mate in the U.S. Navy in the 1960s. Shortly after returning home from the service, he began flying lessons and earned his pilot’s certificate in 1969. He subsequently moved on to commercial, instrument and glider ratings.

Foreshadowing his CAP cadet orientation flying, one of Nicolet’s early aviation-related experiences was giving introductory flights to 12-14-year-olds at the request of his father, a junior high school teacher.

After leaving the Navy, Nicolet also began a career with the FAA in air traffic, obstruction/airspace analysis, accident investigation and systems analysis. He has logged time in dozens of powered and glider aircraft models, accumulating 2,800 flying hours.

Nicolet joined CAP in January 2012 and served as the Santa Fe squadron commander from 2013-2017. He is now the deputy commander for seniors.

As a CAP mission pilot, he has participated in search missions for missing aircraft and individuals in northern New Mexico as well as Department of Defense support missions and military training route surveys. He also flew test sample transport missions as part of CAP’s nationwide COVID-19 support mission.

Since its inception in 1962, 6,782 pilots have received the Wright Brothers Award. For comparison, more than 664,000 certified pilots are active in the United States. According to FAA records, 70 New Mexico pilots have earned the award.

“It really warmed my heart that this could serve as an example to our cadets of a future they can look forward to,” Nicolet said after receiving the award.

Maj C. John Graham

Director of Safety
New Mexico Wing