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At this year’s Fly-In, Volunteer Pilot and SouthWings Board Member Hap Endler (NC) received the "Mauritson Award” – our highest honor for Volunteer Pilots. Besides donating hundreds of flight hours to help our partners seek solutions to environmental challenges, Hap shares his talents, positive vision, and indomitable spirit with all.

Congratulations Hap! Thank you for being an invaluable member of the SouthWings family!

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At every annual Fly-In, we look forward to honoring our #VolunteerPilots for their commitment and generosity.

Four retiring pilots: Jack Lynch (NC), Jeff Justis (MS), Roy Zimmer (FL), and Andy Meranda (NC) were inducted into SouthWings’ first-ever class of Emeritus Pilots. Three of these four fine gentlemen were present to receive the crowd’s enthusiastic ovation. We salute their service!

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This year’s laid-back Fly-In itinerary included friendly cocktail hours and relaxed conversation, lovely patio dinners, and a dramatic high elevation walkabout; all intermingled with a series of illuminating staff and aviation presentations.

Emeritus volunteer pilot Andy Meranda, a veteran North Carolina Forest Service Pilot, riveted the crowd with stories and images of his experiences directing aerial fire suppression missions in the western Carolina mountains. Andy’s inspiring, first-hand accounts of his time directing tanker and helicopter fire fighting action elicited profound appreciation for all who put their lives on the line to protect human life and property.

SouthWinger and FAASTeam designate Emmet Bartholomew refreshed folks on best practices when flying low altitudes and slow speeds during aerial reconnaissance flights. Attendees picked up official WINGS credit toward proficiency and currency.

Check back throughout the day to learn more about our weekend-long celebration and see more photos.

Thanks to our sponsors: Patagonia, David Clark Aviation Headsets, and Oskar Blues Brewery North Carolina for their generous support to help make this event the best to date.

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