Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) was honored by the National Aeronautic Association on May 18 with the Circumnavigator Diploma for his recent solo flight around the world.
From being forced to turn back to California over the Pacific while en route to Hawaii to losing a cylinder over India, the journey in his Mooney M20M was not without obstacles. At one point during his mission, Pearce, who is a member of AOPA and the House General Aviation Caucus, came back to Washington, D.C., to fulfill his legislative duties and then returned to Europe to resume his trip.
AOPA President Mark Baker thanked Pearce for his service and support of GA and congratulated him on the flight. “Representative Steve Pearce is a strong advocate for pilots in Congress, and we congratulate him on his recent circumnavigation which highlighted the many contributions of general aviation and honored those who have fought to defend our country,” said Baker. “We thank him for his service and steadfast support for the freedom to fly.”
Pearce, a veteran U.S. Air Force pilot with 518 hours of combat flight and 77 hours of combat support, carried memorials made by Isleta Pueblo, a New Mexico native tribe, which he gave out along the way and hold an inscription that reads, “from the people of New Mexico for all families who suffer losses of war.”
NAA Director of Contest and Records A.W. Greenfield presented the award and said, “What makes this flight especially significant is that Congressman Pearce did this in honor of those who flew west to fight in Vietnam, but were not lucky enough to return.”
Scott Verstandig and Katie McMichael of AOPA’s government affairs team attended the presentation.