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    50 years of purpose- Fort Novosel flight instructor receives FAA Master Pilot Award

    50 years of purpose- Fort Novosel flight instructor receives FAA Master Pilot Award

    Photo By Brittany Trumbull | Fort Novosel leadership from the 110th Aviation Brigade and Amentum stand near a...... read more read more



    Story by Brittany Trumbull 

    Fort Novosel Public Affairs Office

    FORT NOVOSEL, Ala.--No names are as synonymous to aviation history as Orville and Wilbur Wright, pioneers in the discovery of flight. The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) most prestigious award began in 2003 and was rightfully titled in their namesake.

    The award is reserved for U.S. aviators reaching 50 years of accident-free flying and has been awarded 8,410 times.

    Director of Amentum Rotary Wing Flight Training, Todd Marshburn, spoke highly of Rutland’s contributions to the Federal Aviation Administration over the years.

    “This is what 50 years of aviation looks like,” Marshburn said, while pointing out the crowded room.

    “Does anyone know what he has done in these 50 years and over 21,000 flight hours? An ROTC program at Murray State University, Army Flight Training in 1975, a platoon leader with the 118th Aviation Company in Hawaii. He found his love for the sea and served with the U.S. Coast Guard until 1982 and served as a civil servant for 3 full decades. He has taught every rank up to colonel, and on every training aircraft besides the one that he initially learned on. In 2012, he joined Amentum as a contractor where he has remained a steadfast instructor since.”

    Marshburn continued by listing the achievements of the highly decorated Rutland.

    “Steve has served on the FAA safety team for 25 years. He has been awarded Flight Instructor of the Year for Alabama/Northwest Florida three times, Master Flight Instructor 11 times, National Association of Flight Instructors, Order of St. Michael, Master Army Aviator, Naval Aviator. What more can I say?” asks Marshburn.

    “And he’s still doing it today. The amount of people here today is proof of his legacy and inspirational to all of us. It is a proud day not just for Amentum but for Army Aviation, this achievement is truly incredible.”

    Rutland received his official award from the FAA, reminiscing on 50 years as an accident-free aviator.

    “I know I have been very fortunate to fly for this many years and this many hours. I know God has watched over me many times. Over the years I have had 4 engine failures and I have precautionary landed more times than I can count and 11-12 bird strikes, but it all came out well in the end.” said Rutland.

    Decades of experience training Army Aviators carries a depth of wisdom for the next generations to lean into.

    “An old instructor pilot once told me that you need four things in life. You need two things to believe in, and God and country have been two good things for me. He said you need someone to love and someone to love you. I’ve been married to my lovely bride now for 52 years this August. I have no idea how she has been able to put up with me all these years but I’m grateful she has,” expressed Rutland.

    “He also said you need enough to live on. I can say we have had some lean times over the years. We started out in college together and worked our way through that,” continued Rutland. “Back in the early 80s flight instructors didn’t make a whole lot here, but we always got by. And he also said you need a purpose in life.”

    Rutland paused to reflect on his purpose before concluding.

    “I can tell you that for 50 years aviation has been that purpose for me, and most of all Army Aviation. Of all the pilots I have worked with and flight instructors that I have flown with, all the students I have trained, the officers and supervisors I have worked for, maintenance people that keep the aircraft flying, administration people that keep me out of trouble, the ATC people that keep us safe, the fuel handlers, everyone from top to bottom, they have all been far more than good enough for me. I hope and pray that I have been and continue to be good enough for them,” said Rutland.

    After expressing his gratitude for everyone that has crossed his path, Rutland closed with continued hope for the future.

    “Who knows. Maybe we can all do this again in the next 50 years!”

    To read more on this prestigious award, head to -

    For more photos from the ceremony head to our FLICKR link here



    Date Taken: 03.05.2024
    Date Posted: 03.06.2024 16:31
    Story ID: 465524

    Web Views: 69
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