Developer of Sterling Ranch Earns Prestigious Aviation Award

Harold Smethills

Among the most respected aviation awards, the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award has been presented to Harold Smethills by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for his stellar record as a pilot and his service and support of aviation. Less than one percent of active pilots nationally can be considered for the award. 

Smethills, a retired Colonel in the Colorado Air National Guard, has been a private pilot flying for 55 years. He also served as chairman, vice chairman and board member of Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum Denver Colorado 2005-2012. He and his family are the co-founders of the very successful Sterling Ranch in Douglas County, a 21st-century master-planned community providing residents with an innovative and amenity-rich place to call home.

The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award is among the highest honors presented to pilots by the FAA. It is named in honor of Orville and Wilbur Wright who were two American aviation pioneers credited with inventing, building, and flying the world’s first successful motor-operated airplane. To be eligible for the award, candidates must meet a long list of criteria that includes at least 50-plus years of experience in safely piloting aircraft.

Smethills and his wife Diane, multi-generation Colorado natives, were inspired to bring Sterling Ranch to life as a legacy project for present and future generations to enjoy. With his extensive experience in real estate and business, Smethills is no stranger to innovation. Today, he remains active in the day-to-day operations at Sterling Ranch, alongside his son, Brock. 

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