Valdosta aviation legend honored

Mar. 11—VALDOSTA — Loyd Montague's long history in aviation includes menial jobs, flying helicopters in Vietnam and poisoning.

That last came as a result of 15 years of agricultural flying in the Mississippi Delta.

"I decided to try something else after I got poisoned pretty bad," he said.

Friday, Montague was honored for his long service to the aviation community when he was awarded both the FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award and the FAA Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award.

A large crowd of family and friends, as well as local dignitaries including Valdosta Mayor Scott Matheson, were on hand in the general aviation terminal of Valdosta Regional Airport for the presentation.

The Wright Brothers, Wilbur and Orville, are famed as the fathers of powered flight, making the first successful powered airplane journey at Kitty Hawk, N.C., in 1903.

Less well known is Taylor, an influential mechanic who worked with the Wright Brothers and built the first aircraft engine.

Only 8,406 people have earned the Wright Brothers award, while 3,471 have received the Taylor Award. A mere 373 have received both awards.

Among the criteria for both the Wright Brothers and Taylor awards is a requirement for at least half a century of aviation experience.

Among Montague's achievements was earning his way to a commercial pilot's license at age 18 and becoming an FAA designated manufacturing test pilot.

He has served as test pilot and director of research at American General Aircraft Corporation and was vice president of Tiger Aircraft in West Virginia.

Tiger was the latest in a series of companies to manufacture the AG-5B Tiger touring and training aircraft.

More recently, he served as the vice president of True Flight Aerospace in Valdosta.