Aero Man: Professor Sunshine

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






When he’s not teaching physics, Dr. Gabriel Sunshine, a strong-hearted military man, is defying gravity; flying up to 4-10,000 feet above the Earth in a 6-seat Twin-turbo charged engine Piper & Beechcraft aircrafts.

He’s been doing both for a long time: A professor at NYIT for 45 years, with a M.S. and Ph. D. in Physics from NYU, he’s been flying for 55 years—a record of airborne endurance that is now earning him a distinguished award; one named after the legendary brothers whose work first enable men to fly.

On May 3rd, Mr. Sunshine will be given the FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, which is given to individuals who have safely and continuously flown for 50 or more years. Professor Sunshine will be given this award at a local safety meeting of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, which will be held at The Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City.

Even now, Mr. Sunshine is still flying a two-engine aircraft every week or two at the Republic Airport, which is located in East Farmingdale, Suffolk County. This airport only focuses on business, private and corporate trips for their flights. There are no commercial flights or airlines at the Republic Airport. Mr. Sunshine has flown a variety of single-engine, two-engine and four-engine planes during his time in the U. S. Air Force. He has flown a total of 20-25 different kinds of planes throughout his life. Mr. Sunshine used to own a twin-engine airplane at the Republic Airport but sold it a few years ago.

As many as 100 students and faculty at NYIT have flown with Mr. Sunshine during the past twelve years at the Republic Airport, including Edward Guiliano, President of NYIT, and Harriet Arnone, Vice President for Planning and Assessment at NYIT. Dr. Stanley M. Greenwald, Chairman of Environmental Technology and an NYIT professor in the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences, accompanied Sunshine on a flight in and around the World Trade Center in the Spring of 2001. “I enjoyed the flight. It was exhilarating because you are above the New York buildings and landmarks,” says Mr. Greenwald. As for Prof. Sunshine’s flying skills, Greenwald says, “He is an excellent pilot with lots of experience.” Mr. Greenwald has gone on several flights with Mr. Sunshine. His most memorable flight was his trip to the World Trade Center in around April / May 2001. They flew half way up the tower of the World Trade Center, where Professor Greenwald took a multitude of pictures.

Professor Sunshine has a long and distinguished record not only as a pilot but a military man, which is where he earned his wings. A retired Colonel and jet fighter pilot for the U. S. Air Force. He first enlisted in the U. S. Air Force in 1956. Mr. Sunshine received primary training at Stallings Air Base in North Carolina and basic training at Bryan Air Force Base in Texas to get his pilot wings in May 1957. He was then assigned to Moody Air Force Base in Georgia for advanced pilot training. Later in December 1957, Mr. Sunshine was assigned to the 87th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Lockburne Air Force Base in Ohio. In 1959, Mr. Sunshine left active duty to continue graduate studies in Physics at New York University. As time passed, he joined the 335th Troop Squadron of the 514th Troop Carrier Wing at Mitchel Air Force Base in New York.

While serving on reserve from 1968-1973, Mr. Sunshine used a four-engine jet to fly as high as 50,000 feet in the air to go back and forth between the United States and Vietnam every few months during the Vietnam War. On these trips, Mr. Sunshine transported supplies such as jeeps, tanks, and even six helicopters to U. S. troops. During the last six months of this time, Mr. Sunshine evacuated soldiers from Vietnam by first transporting the soldiers to Guam to give shots and then bring them to the United States. “It was very exciting to go to Vietnam, knowing the war was coming to an end,” says Mr. Sunshine. This, according to Mr. Sunshine, was the biggest accomplishment he achieved while serving in the U. S. Air Force. Mr. Sunshine is proud of his achievements in the U. S. Air Force. His office shows numerous pictures of aircrafts he piloted during his time of service. Mr. Sunshine says if he could go through his experiences in the U. S. Air Force again, he would. “It was a wonderful experience. If I could change anything, I probably wouldn’t do anything differently,” says Mr. Sunshine.

As time went by, Mr. Sunshine went from being Operations Officer of the 335th Squadron, to being Commander of the 702nd Military Airlift Squadron. Then he went from being promoted to Vice Commander, to becoming Chief of Staff. Finally as Colonel, Mr. Sunshine provided extra service as an Air Force Academy Liaison Officer from 1974 to 1981. In 1986, Mr. Sunshine retired from the U. S. Air Force.

Mr. Sunshine’s hard work as an Air Force fighter pilot has earned him a prestigious award that few pilots have been given. But Mr. Sunshine has also been a part of giving awards to other hard working individuals in the U. S. Air Force. In the May 2007 USAF Academy Graduation Awards Ceremony, Mr. Sunshine presented a number of awards to the most deserving pilots in the U. S. Air Force. These awards included the Saber Award, the Falcon Award, and the Spring and Fall Wing Commander Awards. These awards are given out every year to individuals who show exceptional performance during their prior year of service. To learn more about these awards and the individuals that worked so hard to get them, you can go to www.aviatorspost.org

Mr. Sunshine’s military days as a jet fighter pilot are not the only fun part of his life. During his job as a professor, Mr. Sunshine is enjoying his time teaching students taking Physics classes at NYIT. “It’s a lot of fun to play a part in the next generation of students to solve problems using logical reasoning,” says Mr. Sunshine. Through his teaching profession, Mr. Sunshine can also be a part of students’ lives by teaching them how to approach things logical to handle a given situation.

When a person goes through an amazing experience, the first thing they want to do is tell someone about it. When a person hears about an amazing adventure that someone had, it makes that person want to go out into the world and have their own adventure to share with the people they care about. Mr. Sunshine has been through life-altering experiences in the U. S. Air Force that he will never forget. Even now, Mr. Sunshine is still able to keep his memories as an Air Force fighter pilot alive through his flights at the Republic Airport. Mr. Sunshine has worked hard and earned his well-deserved award for his outstanding performance.

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Aero Man: Professor Sunshine

    Features

    Study Shows College Students Lack Financial Literacy, Postponing Financial Independence After Graduation

  • Aero Man: Professor Sunshine

    News

    Henry C. “Hank” Foley takes over as Fourth President of NYIT

  • Aero Man: Professor Sunshine

    News

    2017 NYIT Honorary Degree Recipients

  • Aero Man: Professor Sunshine

    Showcase

    Clyde Doughty and Jack Kaley inducted in ECC Hall of Fame

  • Aero Man: Professor Sunshine

    Features

    Professor Kevin Horton releases his first children’s book: Cee Jay and Bugsy

  • Aero Man: Professor Sunshine

    Features

    13 Reasons Why: The Show That Strikes the Core

  • Aero Man: Professor Sunshine

    Showcase

    The March Madness Comes to a Conclusion

  • Aero Man: Professor Sunshine

    News

    April: Autism Awareness Month

  • Aero Man: Professor Sunshine

    Features

    Back to the Rulebooks

  • Aero Man: Professor Sunshine

    News

    From Right Field to West Wing: Tom Joannou’s Journey to Washington D. C.

Aero Man: Professor Sunshine