Porch is Wright Brothers Master Pilot
Boyd L. Porch, Kadoka, was presented the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), September 8, during a South Dakota Pilots Association (SDPA) meeting in Spearfish.
The FAA honored Porch for 50 accident free years of flying and presented him with a plaque and a blue ribbon package of his accomplishments and records over his flying career. The SDPA presented Porch’s wife, Pat, with a plaque and the FAA presented a pin for her support of him being a pilot.
“I was really pleased when they handed me the plaque. I was expecting a piece of paper,” said B. Porch, a veterinarian in Kadoka.
There are many stringent requirements to earning the award. The main one are the pilot must have 50 years of documented United States piloting experience, the entire time holding a Civil Aviation Authority or FAA pilot certificate. B. Porch’s three letters of recommendation from fellow pilots were written by Southwest Airlines pilot Brian Brost, Sioux Falls, and Vern VanderMay and Marsha Sumpter, both of Kadoka. Porch was told by Steve Hamilton, with the SDPA, that there are only about 30 such recognized pilots in South Dakota.
“The whole process has been a lot of fun,” said P. Porch. “It was a great experience to look back over all the flying experiences.” Back in 1994, she gave Boyd a gift certificate to the River of No Return Flying School in Challis, Idaho. Boyd wrote in his flying history that since that time, he has flown into the mountain strips of Idaho three times, including a camping trip with his wife to a remote airstrip at the confluence of Moose Creek and the Selway River. He wrote that it was very beautiful and exciting for a flatlander like himself.
“Some guys can’t get their wives to go with them, but Pat was always willing and did a lot of traveling with me. We’ve flown quite a little bit,” said B. Porch. Such trips include to Denver, Colo., Saulte Ste. Marie, Mich., Missoula, Mont., and Wichita, Kan. Times, though, have changed a bit. “We used to not have them, but now Global Positioning Systems are wonderful. You just follow the line,” explained Porch.
“Got into a snowstorm down by Martin one time, that was kind of scary,” exclaimed B. Porch, “but I’ve been pretty cautious about flying. Two things can be dangerous – horses and airplanes – they both can hurt you if you’re not careful. There was a time when there was no vet in Philip and I was pretty much the only one between Chamberlain and Rapid City. That was the excuse, but the truth could come out,” joked B. Porch, who admitted he just loves to fly every chance he gets.
A brief summary of Porch’s piloting history was read at the presentation by Steve Hoogerhyde, FAA safety team program manager – operations. “In 1958, Boyd and his brother took flying lessons in Martin, S.D., and after only eight hours of instruction they both soloed around the Martin Airport.
“Boyd’s brother purchased a Piper J-3 with an 85 horsepower engine for only $850. On one occasion, Boyd flew to Brookings, ran low on fuel and landed in a farmer’s pasture near Plankinton to purchase five dollars of fuel from the farmer. The farmer may have thought Boyd was an escapee from the school for juvenile delinquents at Plankinton with a story as unbelievable as that, until he saw the plane sitting in the pasture. The following summer, the plane was traded to Cecil Ice for a 135 HP Super Cub.
“After completing college at South Dakota State University in pre-veterinary medicine, Boyd was accepted into Iowa State University, and after receiving his degree, he set up practice in Murdo, S.D.
“In 1975, Boyd began wheat farming and realized that it was not practical to own a Cessna 185 and a four-wheel drive tractor concurrently. He bought and sold several aircraft until 1994 when he purchased a Piper Pacer from Cecil Ice. To this day, Boyd and his wife still travel extensively to attend Piper conventions and visit children, grandchildren and friends.
“Flying has been an important part of Boyd’s life and he considers himself fortunate to have flown for his own veterinary practice. He has been flying for 53 plus years and has never had an accident. Boyd is hoping to fly for many more years.”