the Homebuilders Dinner Thursday at the Nature Center, the Spirit of
Flight Award will be presented to a man with a passion and commitment to
aviation and safety.
Mitchell, of Denver, Colorado, was scheduled to receive the honorable
award from Society of Experimental Test Pilots President Ricardo Traven.
Mitchell and his wife, Mary, heard the wonderful news about a month ago,
they were shocked. "I was stunned," Mitchell said. "It
was a very pleasant surprise, and I had no idea that I was
EAA Chapter 43 member Eugene Horsman nominated Mitchell for the award
because of Mitchell’s enthusiasm and dedication to homebuilt flight
safety. "Bill has become ‘Mr. Aviation’ here in this area and
is one of Chapter 43’s greatest assets," Horsman said.
spent 51 years in the air, flown more than 12,000 hours, and has
conducted flight testing since the late 1950s. As an EAA flight advisor,
he has made the first flight of many homebuilt aircraft and was named
safety officer of his chapter.
Geographic, Universal Airlines, and Air America are just a few
organizations that Mitchell has flown for, and he has flown in more than
20 different types of aircraft, including motorgliders, Cessnas, and
Glasairs. "My favorite aircraft to fly was a C-46 World War II
freighter," Mitchell said.
continues to give biennial flight reviews, give flight instruction, and
present safety topics and his knowledge of aviation to local EAA
chapters. "He loves soaring and quite often has given topics to the
chapter on soaring and how we can make use of this information in flying
our regular airplanes," Horsman said.
Mitchell and his wife have participated in the Young Eagles program
since it began in 1992. Mitchell alone has flown nearly 120 kids and
continues volunteering his time to the program. "Aviation, within
itself, is getting old," Mitchell said. "But if you get one
out of 100 kids to become a pilot or take part in aviation, then you’ve
the Society of Experimental Test Pilots are pleased to have awarded
Mitchell the Spirit of Flight Award at the Homebuilders Dinner as he
represents what the award entails; an EAA member who best exemplifies
the spirit of research, development, or flight testing.
the many years of flying, I never thought I would receive such an award,
but I’m very excited and pleased," Mitchell said.