Two CAF Dixie Wing Colonels Receive Wright Brothers’ Master Pilot Awards from the FAA
Two Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Dixie Wing colonels received the Wright Brothers’ Master Award from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) this month, recognizing more than 50 years of piloting aircraft.
FAA FASTeam Manager Mike Mullaney presented the awards to Major Gen. (Ret.) George Harrison of Peachtree City, Ga., and Ronald Gause of Smyrna, Ga., during the Dixie Wing’s monthly member meeting at the Dixie Wing headquarters. Harrison currently serves as director of strategic initiatives for the Georgia Tech Research Institute in Atlanta.
The Wright Brothers’ Master Pilot Award is widely considered the most prestigious award the FAA presents to pilots, specifically recognizing senior aviators who as safety-minded professionals have contributed more than 50 years to piloting aircraft. It is named after brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright, the designers, builders and pilots of the world’s first powered airplane – the Wright Flyer that first flew at Kitty Hawk, N.C., on Dec. 17, 1903.
“The careful dedication, technical expertise and outstanding contributions these men have made in the field of aviation safety have been invaluable in furthering the mission and goals of the FAA,” Mullaney said.
Harrison and Gause each received a certificate, gold lapel pin and an official copy of their airman records as maintained by the Airmen Records & Certification branch in Oklahoma City, Okla. Also, their names will be recorded in the Aviation Safety Roll of Honor at the FAA headquarters in Washington, D.C. Gause will hold scroll number 120 and Harrison will have 121, representing the State of Georgia.
Federal Aviation Administration's FASTeam manager Mike Mullaney congratulates Ron Gause, right, and Major Gen. (Ret.) George Harrison, left, after presenting their Wright Brothers' Master Pilot awards, recognizing each of their careers spanning more than 50 years of piloting aircraft and promoting aviation safety. Both are members of the Commemorative Air Force Dixie Wing and the awards were presented at the Wing headquarters in Peachtree City, Ga.
Gause, a native of Conway, S.C., started his formal flight training in Chicago and renewed his efforts at Dobbins Air Force Base Aero Club after relocating to Georgia. He first soloed in 1962 in the club’s Beechcraft T-34A Mentor, similar to an aircraft that is near restoration at the Dixie Wing. He later affiliated with the USAF Reserves, which brought a chance to serve as a check airman on the same T-34.
Gause owned and operated South Fulton Airport from 1985 to 2000, where he also managed a full-service FBO with fuel, maintenance, parts, paint shop and flight training through a Cessna Pilot Center. During those years he owned or flew Cessna models 152, 172, 177, 182, 210, 310 in addition to a Curtis C-46 and Howard Aero-500 executive transport aircraft. He has flown more than 45 different aircraft types in his career, including the North American T-6, Beech C-45 Expeditor, Douglas C-47 Skytrain, P-51 Mustang and Fairchild C-123 Provider. He currently holds an SIC type rating on the World War II B-17 Flying Fortress for the Liberty Foundation and is a flying sponsor for the Dixie Wing’s T-6. In his 54-year career he has amassed nearly 2,000 accident/incident-free flight hours.
Harrison is a native of South Carolina’s upstate region, and is a 1962 graduate of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. He began undergraduate pilot training at Moody AFB near Valdosta, Ga., and first soloed in 1962 at the controls of a Cessna T-37 twin-engine jet trainer. Harrison received his silver Air Force pilot’s wings in 1963 and was assigned to the 557th Tactical Fighter Squadron at McDill AFB in Florida, flying the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II.
During that tour of duty he took a temporary assignment to Southeast Asia and flew his first combat sorties as a forward air control pilot in the O-1F/L-19 Cessna Bird Dog. He returned to the F-4 and operated with the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing from Cam Ranh Bay air base in South Vietnam.
Over his 54-year aviation career, Harrison has flown 95 military and civilian aircraft types, including 530 hours in combat missions all over the world. During his 35-year military career he commanded the 4485th Test Squadron, the 479th Tactical Training Wing, the USAF AirWarfare Center and Joint Task Force Southeast Asia. He also served as director of operations for the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa. Before retiring from the Air Force in 1997, he was commander of the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center at Kirtland AFB, N. Mex. His military awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Vietnam Service Medal with four bronze campaign stars, and the Kuwait Liberation medal.
As an avid civilian aviator, Harrison is a certified flight instructor in single and multi-engine aircraft, instruments and gliders, and is involved in flight standardization and other duties for the CAF Dixie Wing. He currently has four separate type ratings on his Airline Transport Certificate. He is involved with the Civil Air Patrol glider/sailplane program and has published several works on military aviation. He serves as director and executive vice president of the Air Warrior Courage Foundation and director of the Aero Club of Atlanta. Harrison became an at-large member of the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame board in 2005.