Don’t let the title fool you. This is a prestigious award conceived for an honorable purpose… to improve relationships and communications between airport users, operators and city officials. And each year’s trophy is nothing short of a masterpiece crafted by AOPA member “Capt.” David L. Swindler, the PIC of Navion “Ar Farce One”. Swindler is also the award’s founder. Presentation takes place at EAA #419’s Annual Christmas Banquet by Murfreesboro’s Mayor, The Honorable Tommy Bragg, MBT’s most avid public supporter. I have witnessed a number of these presentations. They rival aviation hall of fame induction from the Mayor’s formal introduction to an always emotional acceptance by the winner.
This years MBT Airport Bun of the Year award winner was Murfeeesboro native, Mr. William Kenneth Robinson, former Operations Manager of the Arnold Engineering Development Center’s Jet & Rocket Test Center. Since retiring in 1991, he has been restoring and flying an Aeronca Champ. Robinson joined the USAF in 1947 and cut his teeth in the new world of jet propulsion as an engine mechanic stationed at Keesler, Chanute and Andrews AFB’s. Employed later by Capitol Airways, he worked on lots of round engines that powered DC-3’s, C-47’s, C-54’s and DC-4’s.
Begun in 1995, this ABY award has now been presented to 20 lucky winners, each receiving Swindler’s magnificent collectable wire model of an airplane, space vehicle or engine the recipient might own or love. I will never be MBT’s Airport Bum of the Year, but I lust for one of Dave’s extraordinary models, crafted with a depth of caring, love and dedication to general aviation so many of us feel and long to express.