82-Year-Old Veteran Honored by FAA for 50 Years of Flying

by Courtney Blackann

Sometimes your passions find you. This is true for Air Force veteran Carroll William Joye. And Joye absolutely loves to fly. He was honored recently by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for 50 years of flying. And the vet is extremely honored.

“I think it’s the greatest thing in the world that I ever did, other than give my life to God,” the 82-year-old said of his hobby. “It means a whole lot to me.” Further, Joye added, “It means I have gone 50 years and have not had a serious incident or accident. It is a big thing.”

Joye was awarded with the  Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award – an honor for 50 years of safe practices in aviation.

The pilot also has 30,000 hours of flight time, which is no easy feat. After being presented the award (which was done in a Zoom call) the South Carolina branch of the FAA shared a note with Joye.

 South Carolina FAA District Office Manager Randy DeBerry congratulating Joye for the award, Yahoo! News reports.

“Your professionalism as an airman has contributed to the safety of our national airspace system and has enabled safe air travel by many Americans for more than half a century,” District Office Manager Randy DeBerry wrote. “Congratulations on a very successful aviation career.”

When Joye looks back on his many flights, he remembers being proud of his purpose and accomplishments in the field. His first solo flight was out of Madrid, Spain – surely a memorable spot to earn those solo wings.

The vet shares this of the experience:

“I could not get my right leg to stay on the rudder pedals because it was bouncing up and down the whole time. I was just nervous until my instructor got back into the aircraft with me. Then it stopped. Everything was good.”

Air Force Veteran Remembers Storied Career

During his 22 years in the Air Force, Joye first worked as an airplane mechanic. He eventually worked on F-100s and F-104s. And then he helped develop the large cargo planes C-119 and C-130 gunships in Ohio.

Though he was more than capable as a pilot, Joye said he didn’t have a desire to work for the airlines. Rather, he enjoyed – and still does enjoy – teaching others.

Joye’s family was very proud to learn of his award and he even had a presentation ceremony at the Orangeburg Municipal Airport – a place he once managed. The veteran has four children, two stepsons, 14 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.

The aviator still loves to fly and will anytime he’s able. He is one Air Force veteran who knows how to live fully and passionately. Congrats to Joye on his accomplishments!