Tennessee aviation legend honored

May 27, 2005

Tennessee aviation legend honored

...among other veteran aviators
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Tom Mayfield, AOPA 6855, and AOPA President Phil Boyer in front of a North American AT-6D at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation. Mayfield received Navy advanced training in the similar SNJ.

Evelyn Johnson wasn't the only veteran Tennessee aviator at the May 26 celebration of her flying career. Tom Mayfield, AOPA 6855, learned to fly in a Piper Cub as part of the Civilian Pilot Training Program at the University of Tennessee in 1940. He then received Navy primary training in the Boeing Stearman and advanced training in the North American SNJ, nearly identical to the AT-6D on display at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation. Mayfield, of Athens, Tennessee, later flew on company business in aircraft that included the Cessna 182, Piper Apache, Aero Commander 500, and Cessna 402. An AOPA member since August 1941 - more than 63 years - he has flown more than 50 military and civilian aircraft as pilot in command.

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On a stage in front of more than 400 people at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation and Hall of Fame, AOPA President Phil Boyer talks with Evelyn Bryan "Mama Bird" Johnson about her 57,600-hour flying career.

AOPA President Phil Boyer was among more than 400 people who gathered in Sevierville, Tennessee, Thursday evening to pay tribute to Evelyn Bryan "Mama Bird" Johnson. The 95-year-old flight instructor, who has logged more flight time - 57,620 hours - than any other living pilot, administered more than 9,000 practical tests as a designated pilot examiner between 1952 and May 2005. "Evelyn, you retired too soon," Boyer told her. He summarized a private pilot's violation of the Washington Metropolitan Area Air Defense Identification Zone on May 11. "That wouldn't have happened on your watch," he said, adding that her quality of instruction is much needed and will be missed. Former U.S. Sen. Howard Baker Jr. (R-Tenn.) described how Johnson nearly failed him on his private pilot checkride. Robert Cope received a notice of disapproval from her during his instrument instructor checkride in 1986 - and went on to become her supervising inspector at the Nashville Flight Standards District Office four years later. Johnson continues to serve as manager of Moore-Murrell Field. The Tennessee Museum of Aviation and Aviation Hall of Fame hosted the tribute.

[Members: See also " Pilots: Evelyn Johnson" (November 1999 Pilot) and " 50 Years in the Right Seat" (September 1999 AOPA Flight Training).]

May 27, 2005