Nov. 21, 2017, was a good day for Barton “Bart” Welsh. He received the FAA’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for 50-plus years and more than 6,000 hours of safely navigating the skies.
This came after a Dream Flight in a Stearman a few months ago by the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation for his military service.
The award was presented to 82-year-old Welsh by Larry Cheek, team program manager for the FAA Safety Team, at Carson Valley Senior Living, an assisted living and memory care community operated by Mission Senior Living in Garnerville, Nevada.
“Bart’s dedication, expertise and professionalism have groomed generations of pilots with the same honorable attributes,” said Darryl Fisher, fellow aviator and president of Mission Senior Living.
To be eligible for the award, nominees must hold a U.S. Civil Aviation Authority or FAA pilot certificate, document 50 or more years of civil or military flying experience, have three letters of recommendation from other pilots licensed by the FAA, and be a U.S. citizen. Welsh’s name will be added to the online Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award Roll of Honor.
Welsh’s love for flying started in 1953 while working as a freight handler for Slick Airways in Los Angeles as he earned his Airframe and Powerplant license. He later became a licensed private and commercial pilot with an instrument certification and an airplane multi-engine land rating.
He is a certified flight instructor, trained in search procedures and “canyon turns,” an airplane inspector, and was an FAA safety representative for the Reno Flight Standards District Office.
He also served as a major in the Civil Air Patrol and was a department head for the state of Idaho’s Civil Aviation Department.