Pilot Phil “Luke” Coulson Receives Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award
KALAMAZOO, MI – At a ceremony on May 17, 2019, at the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, MI, Phil Coulson was honored with the receipt of the FAA’s highest award for pilots, the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award.
The award honors US citizens who have had safe flying records for over a 50 year period and subsequently honors the pilot’s contributions to the integrity of the industry. Gary Van Farowe, who initiated the formal application process, was integral in making sure Phil’s safe flying career was recognized by the FAA. Only 1% of pilots ever achieve this honor.
Pictured from left to right: Rob Lock, Gary Van Farowe, Phil Coulson, and FAA representative Samuel L. Heiter
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All of us in the Vintage family congratulate Phil on this latest recognition in aviation.
From our Archives
Vintage honored Phil Coulson of Lawton, Michigan, as our 2016 inductee into the Sport Aviation Vintage Hall of Fame. Phil was formally inducted at a dinner ceremony on November 10, 2016, in the Founders’ Wing of the EAA AirVenture Museum.
Phil has been immersed in aviation for all of his adult life. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War and, on his return to Michigan, learned to fly in a prewar Piper J-5 Cruiser. Phil had discovered a passion for sport aviation, and began attending the early EAA conventions at Rockford starting in 1962.
As a long-time director of the Vintage Aircraft Association, Phil chaired the annual Vintage Parade of Flight during AirVenture Oshkosh and served as a long-term senior judge in the Antique category. Phil chose to take emeritus status with the VAA board in the fall of 2015 after nearly 30 years of active, involved, and dedicated service to both EAA and the VAA.
Phil began volunteering with EAA at Rockford, and then at Oshkosh, where he became an advisor in the Antique/Classic Division in 1985, followed by election to its board in 1987. During this period, Phil acquired a Waco UPF-7 open-cockpit biplane. The experience of owning the Waco, and the camaraderie with other owners that followed, led Phil and his friends to organize the American Waco Club (AWC) in 1993. Phil was named the founding president, a leadership position he continued until his retirement in 2013.
Phil also edited and published the Waco World News, the publication of the AWC. In addition to the UPF-7, Phil and his wife, Ruthie, have owned a G35 Bonanza, a Cessna 195, a Waco RNF, a Waco 10, and a rare Waco UBA.