CAF honors 3 for service

Wed, 12/23/2009 - 10:22am
By: Carolyn Cary

Three longtime employees in the field of aviation were honored recently by the Dixie Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, stationed in Peachtree City.

Dave Becker, Fayetteville, Elmer Koldoff, Peachtree City, and Ray “Pop” Wilson, Marietta were given high honors bestowed upon them by the Federal Aviation Administration. They each had served over a half-century of service in the industry. Becker and Koldoff held FAA certification as airframe and power plant mechanics and are only the 14th and 15th Georgia residents to receive the maintenance award.

Dave Becker’s aviation career began as an Air Force mechanic. He had served as Crew Chief on the PT-26 Cornell and the C-45 Expediter.

After military discharge he was graduated from the Spartan School of Aeronautics. He was employed by Northwest Airlines as a DC-6 mechanic, Republic Aircraft, then moved to Eastern Airlines. Here he had a 29 year career, progressing to lead mechanic and aircraft inspector. Following retirement he continued plying his skills at Georgia Tech and Raytheon Aircraft.

Capital Airlines first drew Elmer Koldoff, which later became part of United Airlines. He remained here until retirement, progressing through the ranks of line mechanic, aircraft inspector, maintenance planner, maintenance foreman and into management positions as operations manager and station maintenance controller. Transferred by United to Atlanta in 1989, he retired 10 years later with responsibility for Aircraft Maintenance in Atlanta, Orlando, and Tampa.

Ray “Pop” Wilson received the prestigious “Master Pilot” award for his 50 years as pilot with an unblemished record.

A native of Augusta, he began flying J-3 Cubs as teenager earning his private and commercial licenses. He became a contract pilot for Georgia Pacific doing charters and was graduated to a full time pilot position with the company.

He earned an Airline Transport Pilot rating, the highest pilot license given by the FAA while at Georgia Pacific. He flew many aircrafts from the Beechcraft D-18 to the large corporate jets. At retirement, he was the Regional Chief Pilot for Georgia Pacific.

He currently serves as the Dixie Wing Operations Officer, in charge of all aircraft operations, as well as the Air Operations Officer for the Great Georgia Air Show.

The Dixie Wing Commemorative Air Force is located at Falcon Field in Peachtree City, at 1200 Echo Court. Their Web address is

It has grown to over 200 members and houses historic airplanes including the P-51 Mustang, the SBD Dauntless, the dive bomber that won the Battle of Midway and under restoration at this time is a Bell P-63 King Cobra.

It has an excellent education program for children on field trips while studying World War II.

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