“They were having some sort of a model airplane competition and with the airplanes they put notes on them,” Hupman said. “It was one of my prized possessions.”
His interest continued, but not until the age of seven or eight did he know flying would be his career.
Hupman explained that he sat with the pilots during a trip to a Cleveland Brown’s football game and enjoyed every second of it.
After completing training in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, his first solo flight was on Sept. 13, 1968 at 20 years old.
For 30 years, Hupman owned and operated a commercial charter business, Sunbird Air Services, Inc. Now he does corporate flying and is a designated pilot examiner for the Sinclair program at Wright Brothers Airport.
ENTERTAINMENT: Springfield native, Justin Chambers, leaves medical drama TV show
“I enjoy all of it. I thoroughly enjoy working with the students doing their check rides,” Hupman said. “It keeps me grounded and gives me an opportunity to watch them grow professionally.”
He was nominated for “50 plus years of consecutive good service in lots of areas, his aviation service has impacted lots of people in the local area, and we felt he was deserving of the award - very much so,” Jim Frederick, a Champaign County Pilots Association club member said.
“It has been a wonderful career - one in which I have met so many wonderful people,” Hupman said. “A lot of those friendships still exist to this day.”