December 31, 2016 - Dubois, WY. - Pilots transport us from place to place, keep us safe, amaze us with aerial acrobatics, provide us with imagery of our world, spray our crops and lift us and our gear high above the earth. These engineers of the skies have skills only seen in the most elite athletes in the world.
Do you want to know what makes these people the best pilots in the world? Imagine the skill of Formula 1™ racers, discipline of elite military units, the agility of a stuntman in midair, the mind of a brilliant engineer, the focus of a marksman, the mental acuity of an attorney arguing a case or a professional athlete extracting the most out of their bodies. All of this while being kind, humble, friendly, smart, laser focused and capable. You are identifying the traits of the best pilots in the world. All of these qualities are within the pilots listed here.
The act of flying is one that may or may not come naturally but is mastered through skill, will and desire. For 2016, in the United States, there are approximately 435,499 licensed pilots out of 323 million people. Far less than 1% of the US population is a licensed pilot. The skills and qualities that one learns to become a pilot are both intrinsic and learned. To bring these skills together and conquer both the earth's atmosphere and space is a talent.
We may not directly notice these skills performed flawlessly day in and day out but pilots' contributions generally affect us all in some way. For those "Aerial Engineers" we at River Pilot honor you now.
To be selected a pilot must:
1. Be a current aircraft pilot in any category and rating
2. Be physically located in the aircraft during flight
The 2017 winners are:
** HONORABLE MENTION ** - The elder statesman and patron saint of American aviation - Charles Elwood Yeager - "Top Of The Pyramid" pilot for 70 years
Please help us recognize these and other exceptional pilots from anywhere in the world. Contact us to nominate a pilot in one of these major categories:
Aerobatic / Airshow
Rescue / SAR / Medical
Last updated October 24, 2017