Flying High

Kyle receives Master Pilot award

Submitted photos Former Randolph County resident Lester J. Kyle Jr., above right, shown with his wife, Terri, was honored with two aviation awards recently, including the Wright Brothers Master Pilot award.

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Lester J. Kyle Jr., formerly of the Dailey/Beverly area, has been awarded two of aviation’s highest awards from the Federal Aviation Administration.

David McVinnie, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, traveled to Vero Beach to present Kyle with the honors, acting on behalf of the FAA.

The Wright Brothers Master Pilot award is issued for 50 years of safe flying in a professional manner with no accidents. The second award was for helping to build one of the safest professional aviation communities in the country.

Kyle left West Virginia at the age of 17 to join the U.S. Marines. After his tour of duty he lived in Richmond, Virginia. He later moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to pursue his aviation career at Spartan School of Aeronautics.

After graduation he opened his own flight school, as well as started his own real estate company and began buying and renting homes.

In 1984 he gave it all up to fulfill his lifelong dream of living in the sunshine state of Florida, where he worked for Piper Aircraft Corporation, training in the new aircrafts they sold. In 1990 Kyle left Piper to start his own aviation training business, which he continues to run today at 78 years of age.

Though Kyle never completed a high school degree, he did complete several aviation and real estate schools, and through hard work and dedication he became a self-made millionaire.

He is a member of AOPA, MMOPA and AOA, all aviation organizations. He no longer owns any real estate around Randolph County but still makes it back to the area to display one of his collector cars at the Mountain State Forest Festival.