If it’s got 2 wheels, 4 wheels, 4 hooves or a couple of wings, Cecil McBride can drive, ride or fly it. If it swims like a fish, he can probably catch it. The multi-talented pilot, motorcycle rider, fisherman and horse rider spent his working career with the Virginia Cooperative Extension and much of his play career in the skies or cruising back roads.
Mr. McBride learned to fly in the U.S. Air Force after graduating from Virginia Tech [class of 1954]. He has operated his own charter service and served as a crew member for the Virginia executive airplane. These days, he flies one of the Hokie Flying Club planes, a group he organized in 1965 and of which he is the oldest and only charter member. At age 84, this personable 6-foot-2, white-haired gentleman is still enjoying flying, though much of it is instructing and check rides, certifying pilots for licenses. The license plate on his hot little convertible is FAADPE for Federal Aviation Administration Designated Pilot Examiner. Aspiring pilots come from as far as 100 miles away. His current two-wheel choice is the Honda Shadow. He loved his Gold Wing, but as they got bigger and he got older, he downsized. An informal motorcycle group meets for breakfast every Saturday, whether or not they ride. The license plate on his truck is FISH-FLY.
To him, his greatest claim to fame is having taught his granddaughter, Maria, to fly. She solo’d at 16 and got her license under his watchful examiner eye at age 17, the youngest it can be issued. And every time he flies, Mr. McBride takes a moment of silence in the air in awe of God’s creation.