Sam Pratt had two reasons to celebrate at Flabob Airport in Riverside, Calif., this month. He became the first recipient of a Thomas Wathen Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as a volunteer at the airport, and he turned 100 years old on the day he got the award.
Pratt, who began a career working as a machinist with Douglas Aircraft in 1940, produced parts that are still flying in the remnants of the DC-3/C-47 fleet. In the 1960’s he took flying lessons, earned his license and spent many years enjoying General Aviation as a pilot.
Until quite recently, he maintained the Flabob Express DC-3 as a volunteer. When the wingtip of the DC-3 was seriously bent, Sam, who was in his 90’s, supervised the reconstruction of the wing.
“People like Sam Pratt embody a work ethic we don’t see that much today,” said John Lyon, President of the Wathen Foundation. “Sam never hesitated to help out, pitch in or move things forward. He’s a vital part of what makes Flabob Airport one big family.”