OMRO, Wis. (WFRV) – The Federal Aviation Administration awarded the distinguished Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award to a northeast Wisconsin pilot.

That pilot is Bill Hasenfus from Omro. An FAA official told Local Five News that less than one-tenth of one percent of pilots get the award.

According to the FAA’s website, the agency presents the award to pilots who have exemplified outstanding aviation safety for at least 50 years.

“I’m honored, I’m surprised for sure and as far as getting in front of people I wish they could have mailed it, but I am appreciative,” said Hasenfus.

The ceremony included a short video about the history of the award and the Wright brothers’ first flight and speeches from Hasenfus and some of his friends.

Hasenfus said his father got him into flying airplanes when he was young. When he was in Alabama, he first witnessed somebody jumping out of a plane and fell in love with skydiving.

Before he retired, Hasenfus owned a skydiving business in Omro for many years.

Over the years, he said he’s taught thousands of people how to fly airplanes and how to skydive.

“I learned so much from him over the years, it was awesome, it really was awesome,” said Hasenflus’ friend Shaun Wenzel.

The FAA created the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award in 2003 and since then about 7,500 pilots have earned the award. For a full list of recipients, click here.