By Gary Brossett, EAA Lifetime 375866
On May 2, 2023, members of Chapter 677 in Columbus, Georgia, came together to recognize two of their longtime members, Kenneth Sines, EAA 453045, and Jack Phillabaum, EAA 555580. They were awarded the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Awards for 50 years of safe aviation flight experience.
Ken graduated from the Army Officer Rotary Wing Aviator Course on December 15, 1961, with 111 hours of flight time in the Hiller H-23D. He was certified as a rotary wing aviator and the Army Aviation Badge on April 13, 1962.
During his 24-year Army career, he qualified in the OH-23D; CH-34A and C; OH-13E, G, and H; CH-47A and B; UH-1C and D; and TH-13T helicopters, and accumulated 2,887 hours, including 753 combat hours in Vietnam. He was awarded the designation of Senior Army Aviator on April 18, 1969. His military decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Bronze Stars, 28 Air Medals, and the Meritorious Service Medal.
He entered fixed-wing flight training at the Fort Benning, Georgia, Flying Club on September 12, 1965, and earned a private pilot ASEL certificate on June 3, 1966.
In 1992, he purchased a Piper PA-28-140 and became our chapter’s Young Eagles program leader from 1994 until his retirement in March 2019. He flew 2,155 area youths in his 25-year run. Of the more than 40,000 volunteer pilots in the program, only 13 pilots in the 30-year history of the program have flown more youths.
After retirement, he has continued to volunteer as chapter Young Eagles coordinator and flightline safety lead at our past 23 Young Eagles rallies.
Jack began initial flight training in a Cessna 140A on December 15, 1951, and soloed January 6, 1952. He completed the Army Aviation Tactics Course on November 6, 1954, with 207 hours of training in the L-19A Bird Dog, L-20A (DHC-2 Beaver), and LC-126C (Cessna 195) aircraft.
During his Army career, he qualified in fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, including the L-19A, L-20A, LC-126, H-13, H-19C, H-23D, TC-19D, H-13 on floats, and H-34, and accumulated 3,294.9 hours, including 142 combat hours in Vietnam. He was awarded Designated Instructor Pilot on October 19, 1959.
On December 10, 2004, he earned an experimental amateur-built repairman’s certificate and received his airworthiness certificate on his homebuilt Bushby Mustang II (N117MJ). He flew this aircraft until his retirement on May 3, 2020.
In 68 years of flying, he’s accumulated more than 4,400 flying hours, including 636.3 hours as an instructor.
Both Ken and Jack continue to be model volunteers in our chapter.