Adrian woman Michigan’s first female master pilot
July 30, 2013
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  • The Daily Telegram (Adrian)
    Her first solo flight in 1959 put Hazel Jacobs on the path to make Michigan aviation history. Her latest achievement is becoming the first woman in the state to receive a Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award from the Federal Aviation Administration.

    “I couldn’t believe it. It’s really an honor,” Jacobs told The Daily Telegram of Adrian ( ).

    The FAA award was presented to her July 13. It came four years after her husband, Richard Jacobs, received the same award after he completed 50 years of safe flying and made significant contributions to the aviation profession.
    Hazel and Richard Jacobs both trained pilots while operating Jacobs?Flying Service at the Lenawee County Airport for more than 30 years, and both served as FAA safety counselors for the Detroit office. They retired in 1995.
    Hazel Jacobs came out of retirement in 2001 to return as manager of the Lenawee County Airport and oversee completion of a project to extend the 4,000-foot runway to 5,000 feet.
    The expansion made the county airport safer, and more inviting to business travel, Hazel Jacobs said.

    “Any town that has an inviting airport, they’re going to grow,” she said.

    Growing the aviation industry and improving safety have been a lifetime pursuit for Hazel Jacobs. She earned her first flight instructor license on March 17, 1966. In addition to a flight school and charter service, she was a Piper aircraft dealer, twice winning top Michigan sales awards.

    The pilots Hazel and Richard Jacobs taught included all seven of their children. Three of their sons went on to became professional pilots and remain in the aviation industry.

    Son Mark Jacobs, an FAA academy instructor and aviation safety inspector, was among those who nominated his mother for the Master Pilot Award. She taught safety first, Mark Jacobs said in his letter, making her a worthy candidate.

    Lenawee County Circuit Judge Timothy Pickard wrote in a nomination letter that Hazel Jacobs gave him his first flight in a Cherokee 180 and encouraged him to obtain a pilot certificate.
    “Aviation history has been enriched by her participation and it is a privilege for me personally to recommend Hazel Jacobs for the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award.”

    “Hazel Jacobs’ concern for safety has always been first and foremost on her mind,” said a letter from Adrian pilot James Path.

    The award is for those who demonstrate professionalism, skill and expertise by maintaining safe operations for 50 or more years, said a letter from James Gardner, manager of the FAA’s flight standards division for the Great Lakes Region.

    “This award acknowledges your exemplary service, professionalism, devotion to aviation safety and recognition by your peers,” Gardner stated.

    Hazel Jacobs received a separate award plaque from the the FAA office in Detroit, inscribed:
    “In recognition of your contributions to building and maintaining the safest aviation system in the world through practicing and promoting safe aircraft flight operations for more than 50 consecutive years.”