The Flight of a Lifetime

For many people, working is a necessity and it’s a means to an end. People go to work, they do their job, and then they go home and do it all again the next day. It’s rare that you find a career that becomes something that you fall in love with. It becomes, not just a job, but a passion. It’s something that you eat, sleep, and breathe. It’s who you are. It’s what you know. It’s what you love. It becomes something that you can’t imagine your life without. For Argyle local, John Tutini, being a pilot was exactly that and his passion was rewarded with the prestigious Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award.

The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award is named in honor of Orville and Wilbur Wright. They were both American aviation pioneers that are credited with inventing, building, and flying the world’s first successful motor-operated airplane. 

Being eligible to receive this honorary award is no easy task. The nominees must hold a U.S. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) or Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pilot certificate. They also must have 50 or more years of civil and military piloting experience or 50 or more years combined experience in both piloting and aircraft operations. They must be a U.S. citizen and they can’t have had any airman certificate revoked. 

More details of the requirements entail that up to 20 years of the required 50 years may be U.S. military experience, while also having the effective start date for the 50 years being the date of the nominee’s first solo flight or military equivalent. Finally, the 50 years may be computed consecutively or non-consecutively. 

John’s flight career expands from military to commercial planes. “I’ve done a lot of different things in aviation. I’ve had a very varied career and I’ve loved every minute of it,” John said. He retired from his career as a pilot with American Airlines at 65, which is the age policy of retirement for pilots. “I flew with American for 30 years and when I retired they had to drag me out,” John said.

“This is a great career path,” John said. “Something that I tell all new pilots is that every pilot has their last flight. Be safe and make sure that when you go to work that day that you know it’s going to be your last flight.” 

Throughout his career, John had the loving support of his wife of 45 years as well as his 3 daughters. “This career isn’t easy for a family. Sometimes you’re gone for a week at a time and your wife is left to run the household by herself. You miss holidays and birthdays,” John said. “I did all of this with one wife,” John joked.

Following John’s retirement, he went on to become a G4 Instructor. “Most pilots will tell you that there is no better career. And I don’t care what seat you’re sitting in, there’s no better seat on that plane than the pilot’s seat,” John said.

John’s love, passion, and tireless dedication to his flight career aresome of the many reasons that he is so deserving of the highly regarded Wright Brother’s Master Pilot Award. John said, “If I had one regret in my entire career, it would be that it went by way too quick.”

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