MATTOON — Local pilot Rick Reed was recently honored by the Federal Aviation Administration with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award.

This is the FAA’s most prestigious award and was presented to Reed in recognition of his “50 years of exemplary aviation flight experience, distinguished professionalism, and steadfast commitment to aviation safety.” Presentation of the award was made Dec. 8 at the Westin Resort in Savannah, Georgia.

Reed is certified as a multi-engine airline transport pilot and also holds an airframe and engine mechanics license. In his 50 years of flying, Reed has accumulated nearly 20,000 hours of flight time and has logged time in over 40 different aircraft. Reed founded and ran two local aviation service businesses; Reed’s Fly-On Farming and Central Illinois Air Corporation. He served as executive director of the Illinois Agricultural Aviation Association for 35 years and was also president of the National Agricultural Aviation Association in 1992.

Reed is now retired from his commercial flying but continues to be a fixture at the Coles County Memorial Airport where his Cessna 182 is hangered, and still enjoys flying “just for fun.”

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