Mort Brown

Morton W. Brown
Images of the Man


Mort and Sharon Brown

Mort Brown, born in 1908, carved out a place for himself with a lifetime of achievements in general aviation, which far exceeded his boyhood dreams.

In junior high, Mort ran across the AVIATION Magazine at a bookstand in the drugstore. It was a weekly magazine, so Mort became quite savvy on airplanes. Mort carried it to school; much to the dismay of the teachers. In Study Hall, Mort checked out what was going on in the world of aviation, as he had always dreamed of being a pilot.

Time permitting, Mort and his brother would walk or ride bicycles to the airport, about a mile away, to check out the airplanes, which were: Hisso Standards, Curtiss Orioles, DH4s, and an Italian pursuit airplane called an Ansaldo.

In 1927, Mort joined the U.S. Marines with the sole purpose of becoming a pilot. However, the Marines had other plans for Mort. Mort was assigned sea duty on the U.S.S. California, which included being stationed in Nicaragua to prevent a political coup in the Banana Republic.

After receiving his honorable discharge in 1931, Mort attended Eddie Martin’s School of Aviation, Santa Ana, California. Mort received instruction on: aircraft engines, construction, meteorology, aerodynamics, and air navigation. Mort soloed in a Travelair 4000, which had a 110 HP, 7 cylinder Warner radial engine. After obtaining his personal and transport license in 1933, Mort gave student instruction in San Diego. Times were hard for an inexperienced pilot during The Depression, so Mort returned to his hometown, Denver, Colorado. Even in Denver pilot jobs were scarce, so Mort began passenger hopping from the Denver Municipal Airport in 1935.

Mort met Dwane Wallace, President of Cessna Aircraft Company, through his employer, Ray Wilson’s Flying School, who became a Cessna dealership and distributor. As repayment for referring some customers to Dwane, Mort was allowed to demonstrate his flying ability in the latest version of the C-37 in a free-for-all air race.

In December, 1937, Mort became Sales Manager for Cessna, coinciding with the production of Cessna’s newest C-38 airplane, The Airmaster. With the development of the Cessna T-50 first twin engine, Mort was promoted to Chief Pilot of Production Flight Test. Responsibilities over the years included routine flight testing all Cessna series ranging from: the Airmaster, T-50s, the 100, 200 and 300 series.

During Mort’s 35 years with Cessna, it has been calculated that Mort was responsible for releasing over 85,000 airplanes through Production Flight Test, of which Mort personally logged over 14,000 first flights on these airplanes. Mort has accumulated over 20,760 actual flight hours on various airplanes. Mort has also been inducted into the Legion of Honor and the Hall of Fame for the OX5 Aviation Pioneers for his contributions to the aviation industry.

Mort was awarded the FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award on August 29, 2006, in front of his friends and aviation peers. In receiving the award, Mort commented:

“Success in testing airplanes is like success in any other activity. It depends on a person doing their job. The FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award represents every assembler, rivitor, mechanic, inspector, engineer and others unnamed for successfully doing their jobs, to produce air worthy airplanes.

“I was doing my job as the test pilot. After I acquired the base knowledge and skills of flying, I had to continue to learn and grow with the aviation industry, just like the rest of the team. No one was allowed to rest on their laurels. We have achieved man on the moon by building on the series of failures and successes throughout aviation history.

“I am humbled before my aviation peers, friends and family for all of their efforts put forth on my behalf to present me with the FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award. Thank you, and kudos to everyone in the aviation industry for their dedication and support over the years, for the milestones we achieved together as a team.”

Wright Brothere Master Pilot Award Mort Brown

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