For Talbot County’s Rick Clarke, the acknowledgment that he had achieved 50 years of flying came somewhat as a surprise to him. One woman asked a simple question to him at Easton’s Airport Day not too long ago on how long he had been flying which made him actually do the math on that.
And since Rick had started in 1962, it was a simple calculation to solve. For fifty years, first as a teen, then with the armed services, and then finally with United Airlines, it turned out to be five decades in the sky. In due course, it was suggested he notify the FAA of this milestone and they awarded him the prestigious Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award this year.
The Spy thought it was a valuable opportunity to talk to the extremely knowledgeable aviator, about this remarkable arc of time. For unlike the automobile, which has not fundamentally changed how it operates since it became available to American families in the early part of the 20th Century, the act of flying itself has been radically altered by the use of technology, advancement of safety, and the extraordinary commercial market it has become.
The Spy found Rick in the conference room at the Easton Airport terminal a few weeks ago to talk about his experiences but how these fundamental changes in aviation have changed along with him.[/su_spoiler]