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Local Pilot, 73, Reaches Aviation Milestone

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They say that most people earn their wings in heaven, but Larry Ferren, 73, was born with his. When he took his first solo flight 50 years ago, he only dreamed of achieving a lifetime of flying. But family and friends are celebrating this weekend, as Ferren reaches an aviation milestone. 

"We flew to Youngstown, Ohio on our first date, and we've been doing it ever since," said Barbara Ferren, Larry's wife.

"I was three days old the first time I flew. I was born December 22, and on December 25, I made my first flight," said Jennifor Bobbins, Larry's daughter.

Thousands of flights and even more family memories, all in the care of Ferren, who says he was born to fly.

"I took my first airplane flight in 1947. I was six years old. I fell in love with it then, and I've been there ever since," said Larry.

"He actually soloed in 1964. It's been 50 years," said Bobbins.

Since then, Ferren has worked as a been a professional pilot, an A and P mechanic, and a flight instructor. He taught hundreds of students, but as some remember, even with an expert instructor, it wasn't always clear skies.

"I was flying, got 300 feet in the air, and the engine quit. If you're gonna go down in an airplane, it's nice to have somebody there beside you like that," said Skip Glasscock, a former student of Ferren's who has been his friend for years.

But for each bumpy ride, Ferren said there have been countless others that he'll never forget.

"Flying with celebrities is a lot of fun. Mel Tillis and his band, Charlie Daniels and his band, Ella Fitzgerald..." said Larry.
His flight hours have certainly paid off in the books.

"The FAA gets certified documents, and then they will present him with the Wright Brothers Award, which is very prestigious," said Bobbins.
Now that Ferren's retired, one might think he'd prefer to relax, right here on terra firma. But he doesn't plan to stop flying anytime soon.

"You know the old story, pilots never die, they just fly away," said Larry.

As Ferren applies for the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, he'll have logged nearly 32,000 hours.