April 18, 2017
On Friday April 7th, The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) recognized and honored Lee Lauderback with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award Program (MPA). This award is given to pilots who have conducted 50 or more consecutive years of safe flight operations. Lee Lauderback was nominated for the award by aviator and golf legend Arnold Palmer just weeks before his death in September 2016. Lee’s list of accomplishments and ratings are extensive along with his impeccable safety record. Lee is also EAA Warbirds of America 2013 Hall of Fame inductee and a member of the exclusive Society of Experimental Test Pilots.
Lee started his flying career at 14 years old flying gliders, preparing him to earn his private pilot’s license when he was 16 years old. By the time Lee was 24 years old, he was Mr. Palmer’s chief pilot. For 17 years, Lee flew “Arnie’s” Lear 24, Citation series jets and MD 500D Helicopter before starting Stallion 51 Mustang Flight Operations in 1987 with his business partner at the time, Doug Schultz, along with the maintenance expertise of his twin brothers Peter and Richard Lauderback. . In the 30 years that Lee has been Stallion 51’s chief pilot, he has taught hundreds of pilots how to operate the legendary Mustang safely, flown tens of thousand of hours in all types of aircraft and accumulated more hours flying Mustangs than anyone in history. Lee has expanded his aviation knowledge and experience to include flying the F-15 Eagle, F-16 Viper, F/A-18 Hornet and test flown the Hawker Beechcraft T-6 Texan II. He also has over 2000 hours in sailplanes and has competed in many soaring contests and has held several sailplane records.
In honor of Lee Lauderback’s and Stallion 51’s three decades of Mustang excellence, the USAF Heritage Flight Program has re-qualified Lee so he can join them one more time to fly in the USAF