Saturday at the Lehighton American Legion Post, 80 years of aviation was celebrated in Lehighton. It was highlighted with the presentation by the FAA of the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award to Byron Arner, who was an aviator for 60 years.
Arner also was former manager of the Carbon County Airport which is also called the Jacob Arner Memorial Airport after his father. He conducts a flying school at the airport and is an historian on local aviation.
Bill VanArtsdalen, pilot and program manager of the FAA Safety Team, heaped praise on Ahner for his safety record. He told about the FAA respect for the safety performance at the airport in general.
Arner's son, Jake, told how his father flew many years for the former Eastern Airlines, safely transporting over one million passengers while logging over two million miles.
At the Legion event, it was noted that many pilots soloed at the local airport and went on to work for major airlines. At least 15 of them were in attendance Saturday.
Jake remarked, "At one time Lehighton had more aviators per capita than any other community in the world."
Anyone who knows Byron Arner knows safety has always been a priority whether it was while he was flying, training, or running the airport.
Back in 1992, one of his pilots, Glenn Millen, now a pilot for a major airline and head of the national pilots' union, had an incident in which his plane's landing gear didn't function properly.
There was init