Duncan Aviation pilot David Moll has earned The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award from the FAA. From flying some of the most complex corporate business jets to doing aerobatics in the Pitts, Moll says in his 51 years of flying that he has experienced the best career he could have imagined.
The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award is the most prestigious award the FAA issues to pilots certified under Title 14 of the Code of Regulations (14 CFR) part 61. This award recognises individuals who have exhibited professionalism, skill and aviation expertise for at least 50 years while piloting aircraft as ‘Master Pilots’.
When asked what made him want to start flying, Moll said: “My father had an airplane, and at 16 you wanted to try as many things as you can. We didn't have cell phones or iPads; you actually had to go out and do something.”
Moll first soloed on June 17, 1968, three days after his 16th birthday. In the autumn of 1970, he enrolled in the aviation programme at Mankato State College (MSC) in Mankato, Minnesota. In 1971, he enrolled in the MSC Flight School, and 51 years later, Moll has logged a total of 11,600 hours of flight time.
Moll started at Duncan Aviation in September of 1976 after earning his Learjet type rating in Lincoln, Nebraska, at the local FAA office. While at Duncan Aviation, he received a wide variety of experience. Some of the aircraft he flew included a Cessna 206, a Mooney, an Aztec, a Baron 55 and 58, a Bonanza, the Cessna 310, 402, 414, and 421, and the Learjet 23, 24, 25, and 35. Moll even flew President Carter's mother, Lillian Carter, during the last week of the Carter campaign in 1976.
“One of my highlights was flying a Learjet 35 from Lincoln to Saudi Arabia with Harry O'Conner, the corporate chief pilot for Northrop, as my co-pilot,” Moll says. “His knowledge of flight operations outside the US was phenomenal, and quite a learning experience for a 26-year-old.”
In 1978, Moll left Duncan Aviation to pursue his flying career with other companies and in other locations. His experiences included a chief pilot's position in Atlanta, Georgia, being president of both the Denver Aerobatic Club and the Midwest Aerobatic Club, and flying the Governor of Nebraska. He always kept ties with Duncan Aviation, and brought many aircraft to the company as a customer. He also married a long-time Duncan Aviation team member, Nancy McKinney, in 2004. Then in February 2019, Duncan Aviation's director of flight operations Lou Gray hired Moll to fly a Learjet 31A that the company manages.
“I met Dave 15 or more years ago, and he was as relaxed and laid back as he is now,” Gray says. “Dave has been a great fit in our department not only supporting the flight line but offering support and assistance to our scheduling and maintenance staff. We are glad he is back on the Duncan Aviation team.”