2 Fresno pilots honored with FAA's Wright Brothers award

The Fresno BeeJune 15, 2014 

Two accomplished Fresno pilots will receive the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award on June 28 at the Chandler Downtown Airport -- an award only three other California pilots have received this year.

The award was instituted by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2003 to recognize pilots who have practiced safe flying for more than 50 years. Since then, more than 2,800 certified pilots have received the award. In March, Morris Garcia of Clovis was honored.

Later this month, Chuck Robb, 75, and Jimmy Shamp, 68, both of Fresno, will join the honor roll.

Robb has had his pilot's license for 60 years now and has logged 20,500 hours in flight. He has more than a dozen different aviation licenses.

Though he retired about five years ago, he still works doing what he loves--flying.

Robb works at Rogers Helicopters Inc. as the director of safety. He does it so he can stay involved in aviation.

Whether a plane or a helicopter, Robb enjoys flying anything.

"It's a whole different world up there," he said. "It's quiet and smooth. You leave all your cares at home."

Shamp was 17 when he learned to fly in 1963 with the Flying Bulldogs, Fresno State's flying club at the time. He later attended Fresno State and became the club's president.

His interest in aviation started at a young age. He lived near Hammer Field growing up and built model planes.

Shamp learned to fly with Fred Mazzei and worked with him as a flight instructor for many years. Shamp instructed many of Fresno's pilots or did check rides with them. In 1976, he began working for the Federal Aviation Administration, eventually becoming a flight safety officer. He still holds that title, splitting his time between Fresno and Ft. Worth, Texas.

Shamp currently flies a Cessna 172, and in July he will travel to Oshkosh, Wis., for the AirVenture Air Show, one of the biggest in the world.

He called the show "aviation Mecca."

Shamp said he likes to thumb through his old flight log books to remember where he's been and who he's flown with -- including some notable people like the late San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, World War II ace and Medal of Honor recipient Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, and Howard Keel, one of the stars of the TV series "Dallas."

"After all these years,"he added, "I have a lot of stories."

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6679 or bvaccari@fresnobee.com.

The Fresno Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service