As long as Winn Baker of Brunswick, Georgia, can remember, flying has been "all I ever wanted to do." Born in to an aviation family, Winn learned to fly from his father, Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame legend Francis Anderson "Sam" Baker, at the tender age of eight years. Winn soled in a Piper Vagabond on his 16th birthday, and received his private pilot's license exactly one year later. In 1955, days after his 19th birthday, he was awarded his commercial license. By age 22, Winn added an instrument rating, Flight Instructor Certificate and a multi-engine rating to his resume.
Between his duties as a flight instructor and charter pilot for his family's company, Baker Flying Service, Winn worked as a commercial pilot for local scheduled carrier Golden Isles Airline and corporate pilot for a Brunswick manufacturing company. After earning an ATR (now called ATP) in 1961 in a Piper Apache, Winn followed with his first type rating in a DC-3 the next year. Within his first decade as a licensed pilot, he had flown Bonanzas, T-Bonanzas, all Cessna models, Pipers, Aero Commander and DH Dove aircraft, as well as his own beloved Vagabond, which he still owns.
In October 1963, Winn applied to Delta Airlines. He began flight school with 6,383 hours of flight time and was on the line by January 1964. A long and distinguished career was launched, with Winn filling all cockpit positions, beginning as Flight Engineer and ending as an International Captain on the 767 until his retirement in 1996. He continues to fly today as an instructor, having taught over 300 people to fly, as well as a charter and demonstration pilot encouraging aviation business development in Georgia.
In 2005, Winn received the Master Pilot Award from the FAA, recognizing 50 consecutive years of flying without incident, accident, or violations. He has flown innumerable aerial search-and-rescue missions. Winn's skill and knowledge of coastal waterways and topography have saved a number of lives. He has also participated in population counts for endangered coastal and maritime species. Winn is also an active advocate of historic aviation. He is one of three Captains in the nation chosen to fly priceless vintage DC-3 and Travelair 6000 aircraft to events for the Delta Air Lines Heritage Museum.
Winn Baker is "a pilot's pilot," his passion for flying spans a lifetime, with over 40,000 hours in the air covering every aspect of civilian aviation in Georgia, from general aviation pilot, Captain for a major airline, business promoter, and instructor to historic aircraft expert and humanitarian.
In recognition of his lifetime as a mentor, advisor, and ambassador for aviation in Georgia, Samuel W. “Winn” Baker was enshrined into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame on April 27, 2013.