Tennessee aviation legend honored
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.
May 27, 2005