MARCO ISLAND — The Marco Island CAP Senior Squadron recently announced that the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), in partnership with the Air Care Alliance, a nationwide league of humanitarian flying organizations, will honor Civil Air Patrol with a 2013 National Public Benefit Flying Award at NAA’s Fall Awards Banquet.
At that same banquet, Civil Air Patrol’s Mary Feik will be recognized with the 2013 Katharine Wright Trophy.
“These are prestigious honors,” said CAP National Commander Maj. Gen. Chuck Carr. “We are grateful that NAA and its affiliates have chosen to recognize our members, both collectively and individually.”
Civil Air Patrol is receiving the Outstanding Achievement in Public Benefit Flying Award for its historic response to Hurricane Sandy in 2012. In a press release announcing the Public Benefit Flying Awards, NAA cited CAP for “a remarkable level of support and information regarding damage, impact and surveillance, which was crucial to the recovery efforts as well as setting a new standard of service for future natural disasters.”
Feik, a colonel in CAP’s Maryland Wing, pioneered aviation maintenance during World War II, and for more than 60 years has worked in aviation, promoting aerospace education and inspiring generations of youth.
The Public Benefit Flying Awards were created to honor volunteer pilots, other volunteers and their organizations engaged in flying to help others, and those supporting such work. The Katharine Wright Trophy is named in honor of Orville and Wilbur Wright’s sister, who was a crucial supporter of her brothers’ timeless work in the development of the first airplane. The award is administered by NAA in partnership with The Ninety-Nines, the International Organization of Women Pilots.
Both the Outstanding Achievement in Public Benefit Flying Award and Katharine Wright Trophy will be presented Nov. 12 at the NAA Fall Awards Banquet in Arlington, Va.
Civil Air Patrol’s Hurricane Sandy response was one of the organization’s largest missions ever. Working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, several states and other relief agencies, CAP aircrews and image evaluation teams on the ground captured and processed a record 158,000 digital photos of Sandy’s destruction
“The photos were used in innovative ways that dramatically helped decision-makers and storm victims alike,” said Carr, who noted that members from 20 wings in CAP’s Northeast, Middle East and Great Lakes regions volunteered for the mission.
The aerial photo review process for the mission was streamlined through crowd sourcing, using 6,000 volunteers many of them CAP members to evaluate images placed on a website created specifically for that purpose. The effort helped FEMA and others respond faster and more effectively than ever before.
“This award calls special attention to the extraordinary efforts of our officers and cadets who offered their professional services in the wake of Hurricane Sandy,” said Carr. “We are so pleased that the National Aeronautic Association and Air Care Alliance have chosen to honor Civil Air Patrol for their service.” During World War II, while working as a civilian aircraft maintenance instructor for crew chiefs and mechanics in the U.S. Army Air Corps, Mary Feik became an expert on many military aircraft and is credited with becoming the first woman engineer in research and development in the Air Technical Service Command’s Engineering Division at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. She flew more than 6,000 hours as a pilot in fighter, attack, bomber, cargo and training aircraft.
Feik retired as a restoration specialist from the National Air and Space Museum’s Paul E. Garber Restoration Facility, where she taught the restoration of antique and classic aircraft and participated in aircraft refurbishment and the construction of reproduction World War I aircraft.
Since 1982 Feik has shared her experiences in aviation history with today’s youth as a member of Civil Air Patrol, and more than 24,500 CAP cadets have earned the esteemed “Mary Feik Achievement Award.” At her own expense she has traveled throughout the United States speaking to countless groups on her career in aviation and has added greatly to the process of educating young people about careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
“Mary Feik is terrific,” said Carr. “Her achievements in aviation are many and her influence, particularly among our cadets, is exemplary. We congratulate her on this latest honor.”