Aviation author, humorist and flight instructor Rod Machado was presented with the Aero Club of Northern California’s 2013 Crystal Eagle Award. The award is presented annually to honor individuals whose achievements are among the highest in aviation and aerospace.
The annual Crystal Eagle dinner was held Nov. 1, at the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, Calif.
At the dinner, National Aeronautic Association certificates of merit were presented to retired Air Force U-2 pilot John V. Cabigas and retired airline captain Terry Rinehart, who was among the first women to fly for a major U.S. airline. National Aeronautic Association Jonathan Gaffney made the presentations.
Scholarships were awarded to four students enrolled in San Jose State University’s aviation program — Alejandro Ramirez, James Crawford, Antoinette Amaral and Adrian Ballesteros.
Machado, a pilot since 1970 and holder of multiple ratings, is best known as an author of aviation books and seminar speaker at events such as EAA AirVenture, SUN ’n FUN and AOPA Summit. His seminars include Defensive Flying, Handling In-Flight Emergencies, and Aviation Humor. Born in Oakland, Machado started flying at age 16 at Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose. He soloed at age 17 and took his private pilot check ride with famed flight instructor and air show pilot Amelia Reid. By age 19, he was a CFI.
Over the years, he earned a number of other pilot ratings, including airline transport pilot, although he usually flies a Cessna 150. He has logged more than 8,000 flight hours, most of it giving dual instruction.
The Crystal Eagle Award was first presented by the Aero Club in 1983 to legendary aviator Gen. Jimmy Doolittle. Among past recipients are Gen. Chuck Yeager, Stanley Hiller Jr., Jim Nissen, Burt Rutan, Jeana Yeager, Darryl Greenamyer, Paul Poberezny, Wayne Handley, Eileen Collins, Sean D. Tucker, Steve Fossett, Brian Shul, C.E. “Bud” Anderson and Julie Clark.
The San Jose-based Aero Club of Northern California is a chapter of the NAA.Top Photo: Aero Club of Northern California President Sandra Clifford presents the Crystal Eagle Award to Rod Machado