Front Porch Blog

Susan Lapis, Volunteer Southwings Pilot, Given Prestigious Aviation Award

Image courtesy of Southwings

Earlier this month, Volunteer Pilot Susan Lapis was awarded the 2012 “Distinguished Volunteer Pilot” award from the National Aeronautic Association and the Air Care Alliance as part of their Public Benefit Flying Awards Program.

For over a decade, Susan has been giving flyovers of mountaintop removal coal mining sites through her work with Southwings where she has been a volunteer pilot since 1999.

Susan and Southwings have made an incredible contribution to the fight to end mountaintop removal coal mining by giving individuals the unique ability to see the destruction of Appalachia from the air. Check out this video where Susan talks about the importance of these flights and why she has volunteered so much time to make them happen:

Video courtesy of the film Deep Down.

The Public Benefit Flying Awards were created in 2003 to recognize significant contributions by people and organizations who voluntarily put their aviation skills, talents, and equipment to use to the benefit of our of Nation. They are the most important aviation awards of this nature in the United States. The NAA recognized Susan “for her enormous contributions using her aviation skills to protect the natural heritage, communities and ecosystems of the Southeast.”

Photo courtesy of the National Aeronautic Association

Susan is a 1000-plus hour instrument-rated pilot who flys a Cessna 182. She lives in Bristol, VA, with her husband Jim. They have two grown children, Beth and John.

Raised in the Blue Ridge mountains of Cashiers, N.C., Kate has contributed to numerous climate, coal and clean energy campaigns throughout her career at Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network and now Appalachian Voices. She oversees our national grassroots organizing efforts as our Campaign Director.

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