At the ripe young age of 90, Cecil McBride’s still flying
Dan Casey Feb 18, 2023 2
Once, Cecil McBride flew in the co-pilot’s seat of an Air Force helicopter that made an emergency landing in a Japanese schoolyard — during a blizzard. The unplanned stop so unnerved some pupils, they bailed out of the schoolhouse windows, he recalled.
On another occasion (while on vacation) McBride surveyed the Exxon-Valdez oil spill from high above Prudhoe Bay, while flying winter provisions to a remote Eskimo village in Alaska. More or less, he hitched a ride on the float plane after meeting its pilot. That was the most fun flight of his life, he said.
After his retirement as a Virginia Tech agriculture professor, McBride remained with the university as a pilot for its “Hokie Bird” airplane. Ex-football coach Frank Beamer was just one of his regular passengers.
Earlier, for a decade, McBride co-owned a Blacksburg-based charter service that had two small aircraft. Blacksburg Aviation used to fly Virginia Tech dignitaries to Washington or Richmond and automotive bearings from the New River Valley to Detroit.