ORANGEBOURG, South Carolina
US Air Force veteran Carroll William Joye of Orangeburg loves to fly.
âI think it’s the greatest thing in the world that I have ever done, other than to give my life to God,â said the 82-year-old.
Joye does what he has loved for a long time.
He celebrated his 50th flying anniversary on July 18.
The feat was recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration on October 26.
The agency awarded Joye the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award. The award is presented to those who are 50 years or older of practicing and promoting the safe flight of aircraft. Joye has approximately 30,000 flight hours.
âIt means a lot to me,â Joye said of the honor. âIt means I’m over 50 and haven’t had a serious incident or accident. It’s a great thing.
Officials from the FAA South Carolina Flight Standards District Office, including FAA South Carolina Safety Team Program Director Lanny Cline presented the award to Joye virtually via Zoom .
âOur sincere congratulations,â said Cline.
A letter was read by Randy DeBerry, director of the FAA South Carolina district office, congratulating Joye on the award.
“Your professionalism as an aviator has contributed to the safety of our national airspace system and has enabled many Americans to travel safely by air for over half a century,” DeBerry wrote. “.
The letter was accompanied by a pin, an FAA Blue Ribbon certified package with Joye’s aviator records / achievements and an award certificate.
Joye’s recognition will be posted on the electronic honor roll online on the FAA Safety website.
Joye attended the award ceremony at Orangeburg Municipal Airport, where he was formerly a manager. He was surrounded by his family during the presentation.
During the award ceremony, Joye recalled her first solo flight from Madrid, Spain, more than 50 years ago.
âI couldn’t get my right leg to stay on the rudder pedals because it was bouncing up and down the whole time,â Joye said. âI was just nervous until my instructor got on the plane with me. Then it stopped. Everything was good. “
His instructor was called Barb Snowden, who was the director of the flying club at Torrejon Air Base.
âHe hired me and taught me how to fly,â Joye said. âI will be eternally grateful to him. “
Joye said he loves the idea of ââbeing in the air.
âI have been fortunate enough to fly very good sized jets and the smallest of planes,â he said.
Joye still enjoys the challenge of flying.
âYou are responsible for getting people from one place to another safely,â Joye said. And the weather can make flying difficult.
âIt’s good to be 40,000 and 50,000 feet in the air,â Joye said. “I can’t really describe it.”
Throughout her flying career, Joye has enjoyed flying “as many or almost as many small planes as I fly one of these big jets.”
When asked if he still flies, Joye replied, âOh yeah! “
âA friend of mine owns a twin-engine plane and I sometimes have the chance to fly with him,â he said. âI just fly and if I have to sit in the right seat, I do. I just like being there.
âMister. Aviationâ is how his wife Beverly describes it.
She called the recognition “awesome”.
âA lot of pilots don’t reach 50 and hang on to it. He’s still hooked in there. It is a great honor for him. This man loves to fly, âshe said.
Joye is originally from Orangeburg but has lived throughout the region including Branchville, Bamberg and Rowesville.
Joye’s love of flying began after joining the United States Air Force in 1957.
While in the Air Force stationed in Spain, he learned to fly and later became a flight instructor.
He served in the US Air Force for 22 years.
During his stay, he worked as an aircraft mechanic during the Vietnam War. He went to Arizona after Vietnam, working on F-100s and F-104s.
From there, Joye went to Ohio and helped develop the C-119 and C-130 gunships.
After retiring from the Air Force as a senior master sergeant, he began teaching as an auto mechanic instructor. He went on to work as a company pilot and flight instructor, which he still does.
Joye decided to become a flight instructor in order to earn money while continuing to enjoy flying.
âI never wanted to go to work for the airlines,â Joye said. âI still love to teach. “
Joye also worked for Belk Hudson for a time, piloting a Piper Navajo.
He recalled getting on the plane in Florida with Mr. Hudson and wondering about a certain switch on the plane’s panel.
âIt didn’t appear to belong to the plane,â Joye said. âWe couldn’t find it in the POH (pilot operations manual). We were talking about this thing and Mr. Hudson’s mic was shorted.
âThe controller over there was listening to everything we said,â Joye continued. âHe broke in and said, ‘You should learn how to fly this plane and know all the equipment it has before you get on board.’ It was funny.
Joye has already been recognized for her flying experience.
In the fall of 1995, named by former student Raymond S. Graule, Joye was named “Certified Flight Instructor of the Year” by the FAA.
In 2003, Joye was inducted into the South Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame by the South Carolina Aviation Association.
Joye has two daughters, two sons and two sons-in-law; 14 grandchildren; and several great-grandchildren. He attends Cope Baptist Church.