Rick Utermoehlen receives honor named after Wright brothers
Submitted to The Union
A Grass Valley man received the highest honor offered by the Federal Aviation Administration before a packed hangar of fellow pilots and friends at the Nevada County Airport.
Rick Utermoehlen of Grass Valley was presented last week with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, the most prestigious certificate the FAA issues to pilots under Title 14 of the Federal Aviation Regulations.
Named after the Wright brothers, the first U.S. pilots, the award recognizes individuals who have exhibited professionalism, skill and aviation expertise with over 50 years of accident-free operation of aircraft as “Master Pilots.”
Utermoehlen began his career in 1968 with the U.S. military. After his solo flight in the Beechcraft T-34 Mentor, he went on to train as an aircraft carrier certified flight instructor, spending the first 1,500 of his 5,500 total hours training naval aviators in T-28 and S2F radial-engine aircraft for the U.S. Navy.
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With a spotless record and reputation in risk management, aeronautical decision-making and enduring enthusiasm, Utermoehlen entered civilian aviation as a commercial flight instructor, and achieved instrument and multi-engine aircraft ratings. He has owned a Piper Cherokee, a Beechcraft Bonanza and currently a twin-engine Beechcraft B55 Baron.
When he purchased his Bonanza, Utermoehlen sought membership with the American Bonanza Society and entered the Beechcraft Pilot Proficiency Program for expert transition and recurrent training. After attending his second course, he was recruited by legendary Beechcraft flight instructor Sam James to become a certified BPPP instructor in 1997. For over 20 years Utermoehlen has become a frequently requested and senior flight instructor while writing numerous articles for pilot magazines as a valued advisor for the betterment and safety of aviation.
The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award was presented by Charles R. Jones, FAA safety team manager of the Flight Standards District Office in Sacramento. A 30-minute movie presentation on the complete history of the Wright brothers preceded the ceremony in recognition of Utermoehlen’s outstanding achievements.
Utermoehlen is also an active member of the Golden Empire Flying Association, which provides aviation scholarships to aspiring pilots in Nevada County.
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