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The Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame (MAHOF) honors these men and women for their outstanding contributions and achievements to aviation and/or space. They had a vision and followed their dreams with determination and triumph.
The MAHOF is committed to recognizing these enshrinees as role models, as they inspire today's youth to follow their own vision and achieve excellence, no matter what their field of choice.
Talbert "Ted" Abrams was born in Tekonsha, Michigan on August 17, 1895. His lifelong interests in aviation centered on experimental aircraft, commercial airline services and aerial photography.
Abrams served in the Aviation Section, United States Marine Corps, and the United States Air Corps from 1917-1919 during and after World War I. He married and started the ABC Airline (Always Be Carful) in 1922. He left the airline industry and founded Abrams Aerial Survey Corporation in 1923. He made his first aerial survey for the Michigan State Highway Department in September of 1925 using aerial cameras that he himself developed.
Since its start in 1923, the company annually completes precision aerial surveys and remote sensing for thousands of highways, transmission and pipe lines miles for states, counties, cities, and industry. Abrams himself has lived, worked, and traveled in 96 countries.
Abrams has received many honors, one of which was his initiation into the OX-5 Aviation Hall of Fame. He is especially proud of the fact he has Federation Aeronautique International Pilot License No. 282, signed by Orville Wright, and the United States Transport Pilot License No. 599. Abrams also received three honorary degrees for his contributions to aviation and to society.
Abrams was enshrined on December 17, 1987 for his long and illustrious career in developing the state-of-the-art aerial photography adopted and used around the world today. He is very proud and pleased to have had the wonderful lifelong experience of being able to make the contributions he made for a great country like the United States.
Colonel John Amundson was born on January 31, 1935, in Decorah, Iowa. After graduating from high school, he studied at the University of Minnesota for a year before entering the U.S. Air Force Aviation Cadet program. In May 1956, he completed U.S. Air Force flight training in May 1956 and was commissioned a second lieutenant. He completed advanced flight training in the B-47 nuclear bomber. He served as B-47 Aircrew Commander with the 310th Bombardment Wing, Schilling Air Force Base, Salina, Kansas, until 1965, with tours of duty in Alaska, Guam, England, Spain, and North Africa. During his B-47 tour, he earned a bachelor s degree. In 1957, he married his wife, Margaret. Their five children and their many grandchildren and great-grandchildren have been of the utmost importance to him.
In early 1965, then Captain Amundson was assigned as a pilot of the Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. In 1967, he was named Chief, U-2 Branch, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. He had U-2 tours of duty in Alaska, the Continental U.S., and Vietnam. One of the U-2 aircraft he flew now hangs in the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
In 1971, Amundson earned a master s degree in computing science from Texas A&M. He was then assigned to Strategic Air Command Headquarters at Offut Air Force Base, Omaha, Nebraska. While at Offut, he was assigned as a C-131 pilot, in addition to his managerial duties with data systems. He was assigned temporary duty in Thailand to assist with U-2 operations in Southeast Asia, until his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel required him to stop flying.
In 1977, Amundson graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, where he was promoted to Colonel. He retired from the Air Force in 1980, after 25 years of service, having last served as Director of Data Systems at Defense Logistics Services at the Federal Center in Battle Creek. The Air Force awarded him the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Bronze Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Legion of Merit.
As a civilian, John Amundson used the GI Bill to obtain additional flight ratings, and then served as Director of Flight Operations for three different companies, including the Stryker Corporation. He was chief pilot for the Air Zoo and flew Air Zoo fighters at air shows, including flying the Grumman F8F Bearcat in the historic Cat Flight . In addition, he was the FAA Designated Pilot Examiner for the Air Zoo s Ford Trimotor, and logged more than 500 hours in that aircraft. Colonel Amundson has flown more than 13,000 hours, including 1,200 hours as an instructor in 85 types of aircraft. In 2010, the Federal Aviation Administration honored him with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for his more than fifty years of safe flying. Colonel Amundson is a life member of the Air Force Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the Flying Octogenarians, and is a long-time member of ye Anciente and Secret Order of Quiet Birdmen, Kalamazoo Hangar.
Colonel John D. Amundson was enshrined in the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame on April 21, 2018, for his significant contributions to both military and civilian aviation.
Col. Norman C. Appold was born in Detroit, Michigan on April 3, 1917 and graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in chemical engineering. After completing his studies, he voluntarily joined the U.S. Army Air Corps immediately before Pearl Harbor.
He graduated from the Aviation Cadet Training Program in 1942, commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. After completing pilot training, he served as a B-24 pilot in the 376th Bomb Group Association, completing 63 missions.
Appold was involved in Operation Tidal Wave, code name of the historic low-level attack of oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania on August 1, 1943. This was the first large-scale, low-level strike by heavy bombers against a well-defined target of World War II up to that time. B-24's of the 8th and 9th Air Forces undertook the 2,400 mile flight from Benghazi, Libya. Due to heavy defenses and the low altitude of the raid, casualties were high, with 53 of 178 B-24s lost, and 440 crew members killed and 220 captured or missing.
Appold, piloting G.I. Ginnie, leading four other aircraft through intense ground fire, bombed the Concordia Vega refinery and successfully returned to Libya. Appold received the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroism that day.
After retiring from the Air Force in 1963, Appold joined the Lockheed Missiles and Space Company where he was instrumental in the development of the C-5 and C-141 aircraft. He retired from Lockheed as a Vice President in 1984. In addition to the Distinguished Service Cross, Appold was awarded the Silver Star, Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, an Air Force Commendation Medal, as well as numerous service awards. Appold was enshrined in the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame on April 19, 2008.
Achiever, visionary, showman, historian and pilot extraordinaire, Bill Barber was a man for all aviation seasons and a model of unfailing professionalism and talent.
Destined to spend a lifetime in the cockpit, Barber's illustrious career got off to an early start in 1936 with his first solo flight in his native Minnesota at age 11. Later, he became a commercial airline pilot and logged more than 30,000 hours of pilot-in-command time.
Having deep respect and affection for the bygone barnstormer era, Barber soon set his sights on becoming a top-tier stunt pilot. Over an airshow career that spanned 25 years, he developed a soaring repertoire of acts that thrilled audiences coast to coast. He entertained hundreds of thousands with dead-stick sequences, a rope ladder pickup, car-top landings, team aerobatics, skywriting, wingwalking and comedy crowd-pleasers.
Barber was an inveterate collector of showplanes. His diverse fleet included a Clipped Wing Cub, Curtiss Flacon, Bucker Jungman, Pitts Special S-IS and a powerful Black Wasp Boeing Stearman known as the "Black Baron." Amazingly, Barber one performed 14 different aerobatic airshow acts during a two-day Chicago show, shifting between aircraft of varying flight characteristics with ease and earning a well-deserved reputation as "Aerobatic Flying's Renaissance Man."
His renowned spread to include the international arena. In 1962, he captained the first United States Aerobatic Competition Team in Budapest. Barber shaped the future of airshow entertainment and competition by serving as the first United States representative to the International Aerobatics Rules meeting in Paris. Invited by ranking Washington, D.C. officials, he also played a pivotal role in the formation of the Aerobatics Division of NAA.
Barber was awarded the Wilkenson Sword of Excellence and has been inducted into the Airshow Hall of Fame and the Aerobatics Hall of Fame. In his honor, the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship is presented to an outstanding airshow personality each year at EAA's AirVenture Show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin-the world's premier aviation event.
An authentic, modern-day hero, Bill Barber's legacy endures as one of the most colorful chapters in the long and glorious history of aviation. He was enshrined in the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame on October 11, 2003.
Lt. Cyrus K. Bettis was born January 2, 1893 in Carsonville, Michigan.
Bitten by the flying bug early on, he received his pilot license in 1916 from the O. E. Williams Flight School, attending alongside fellow Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame Enshrinees Elwood J. Junkin and Clayton J. Brukner, who would eventually co-found the WACO aircraft company.
Bettis left his longtime position as manager with the Michigan State Telephone Co. on February 3rd, 1918 intent on joining the U.S. Army as a flying cadet. He began military flight training at the University of Illinois school of Military Aeronautics, and completed it at Call Field, Wichita Falls, TX in September, 1918. Assigned to patrol the Mexican border, he proved to be an exceptional pilot and was reassigned to serve as a flight instructor in the Philippines. In addition to his training duties, it was here that he became one of the first pilots to fly an aircraft at night. Rising to the rank of first lieutenant, he was transferred to Selfridge Field, Mount Clemens, MI in 1923 to join the army s elite 1st Pursuit Group, where he was eventually selected to represent the U.S. Army in the National and International Air Races. Hugely popular at the time, air races served as a test bed for new aircraft designs and innovations, and the racing circuit drew notable aviators such as James Jimmy Doolittle, Amelia Earhart, and Glenn Curtiss. Pilots and manufacturers from around the world competed to push the limits of aircraft speed and durability, and news of the latest victories made international news on a regular basis. Piloting a Curtiss R3C single-engine biplane, Bettis won the John L. Mitchell Trophy Race in Ohio on Oct. 4, 1924, setting a course record of 175.41 mph that would stand for the next six years. Eager to follow up this win, he entered the Pulitzer Trophy Race the following year. Considered the marquee event of the National Air Races, the Pulitzer Trophy race was founded by publishing magnates Ralph, Joseph Jr., and Herbert Pulitzer to encourage the development of faster and more reliable military aircraft. Consisting of 4 laps around a circuitous 32-mile course, pilots had to stay below 400 feet while completing tight turns just outside of tall pylons marking the edges of the course. There was little margin for error, and crashes and mishaps were commonplace as both pilots and machines were pushed to the limits of endurance and engineering. Competing against the world s best military pilots at the time, Bettis, a relative newcomer, piloted his Curtiss R3C through the course at a blistering 249.34 mph, setting a new World Record and earning him the Pulitzer Trophy. This new record also earned him the coveted Mackay Trophy, which was established by Clarence H. Mackay, an industrialist and aviation enthusiast, and presented annually by the National Aeronautic Association to recognize the most meritorious flight of the year .
On August 23rd the following year, Bettis was piloting the lead plane in a flight of First Pursuit Air Squadron aircraft returning to Selfridge Field from Philadelphia. Flying though heavy fog, the wing of his plane struck a tree in the Jack s Mountain region of Pennsylvania. Knocked unconscious in the resulting crash, he awoke to find he had numerous injuries, including a broken leg and jaw. Concerned rescuers would be unable to locate him in the dense woods, he crawled through the night, eventually reaching a road where he was discovered by two young boys. Sadly, he died a week later at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C. after contracting meningitis. An airport in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania was named Bettis Field in his honor. When Westinghouse bought the land in 1949, they also paid tribute to him by naming their new facility the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory.
For his fearless and adventurous pursuit of advancement and excellence in aviation, Cyrus Bettis extols the virtues of the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame.
Maj. Gen. Richard L. Bodycombe was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1922 and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. He earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science from the University of Michigan in 1948 and 1952, respectively.
In May 1944, he was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant after completing flying training at Turner Field, Georgia. After he completed training in B-24 Liberators, he reported to the 782nd Bombardment Squadron, 465th Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force in Italy.
Bodycombe earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal and the Purple Heart as a Liberator pilot during World War II. After hostilities ceased in Europe, he separated from the Army Air Corps and returned to the U.S. However, he was recalled to active duty in 1949 and assigned to the 60th Troop Carrier Group at Wiesbaden Air Base in Germany to participate in the Berlin Airlift where he flew C-47s and C-54s. When Operation Vittles concluded, he was assigned to the 7167th Special Air Missions Squadron at Wiesbaden for the remainder of his three-year tour of duty.
Bodycombe served for one year as aide to Maj. Gen. Harry A. Johnson, commander, 10th Air Force at Selfridge Air Force Base in Michigan. His next assignment was the 63rd Troop Carrier Wing, which was being organized at Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma. He served as a C-124 aircraft commander in the 52nd Troop Carrier Squadron and later, when the 63rd Troop Carrier Wing transferred to Donaldson Air Force Base in South Carolina, he became assistant operations officer for the 63rd Troop Carrier Group.
In 1955, he was selected as a founding faculty member of the U.S. Air Force Academy. Following that key assignment, Bodycombe began a career in the U.S. Air Force Reserves that resulted in his selection as a major general, and eventually in his appointment as commander of all U.S. Air Force Reserve federal forces. He retired from the Reserves in 1982 and pursued a civilian flying career that ultimately resulted in his selection as Ford Motor Co.'s chief pilot.
In 1983, Bodycombe joined a small group of dedicated Detroit-area residents who formed the Yankee Air Museum. One of their primary goals was to obtain a flyable B-24 bomber that was built by the Ford Motor Co. in its World War II factory at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Michigan. In the following years, the Yankee Air Museum prospered and began collecting flyable vintage military aircraft including a B-17, B-25 and C-47. Bodycombe became director of flight operations as the organization began to fly its aircraft in air shows throughout the Eastern and Southeastern regions of the country.
Bodycombe's flying hours total more than 21,500 with qualification in more than 50 types of military and civilian aircraft. He currently resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He and his wife, Karin, have three children: Brian, Peter and Christopher.
William E. Boeing Sr. was born in Detroit, Michigan on October 1, 1881. His interest in aviation was sparked by an air meet he attended in 1910. Boeing learned to fly in 1915, and subsequently purchased a Martin seaplane. It was flown to Seattle in October of that year and finding it to be quite unsatisfactory; Boeing set out to build a better one.
Boeing was joined by Conrad Westervelt, an engineering officer in the Navy, who had the task of collecting and analyzing every bit of technical information available. On July 15, 1916, Boeing piloted the first two flights of the new B & W seaplane. Pacific Aero Products Company was established in 1916 which became Boeing Airplane Company a year later.
The company did well during World War I building trainer-type seaplanes for the Navy, but in the aeronautical drop that followed the war the company even manufactured household furniture and boats to stay alive.
Boeing never doubted that he was on the right track. In 1921, the company's first break came when it received a large contract for pursuit planes from the Army. In 1927 they received the Chicago-San Francisco airmail route. Boeing's newly formed Boeing Air Transport service flourished, and to it was added other airlines under the banner of the Boeing system, later United Air Lines.
Knowing that progress could be best made by pooling industry resources and know-how, Boeing teamed up with Frederick Rentschler of Pratt and Whitney to form the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation. Boeing served as company chairman until 1934.
United Aircraft and Transport Corporation grew to become a leader in the manufacture of multi-engine aircraft, commercial jet transports, and space vehicles. In 1934, the year of his retirement, Boeing received the Daniel Guggenheim Medal and was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
Boeing was enshrined on October 26, 1991 for his contributions to the production of both military and commercial aircraft as a leader in America's aeronautical progress in the early years of flight.
William Francis Bos was born in Muskegon, Michigan on May 22, 1933. Bill received a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in Aerospace Engineering. After graduation in 1956, he went to work for Lear Inc., Aircraft Engineering Division, Santa Monica, California designing various systems for the Learstar, including a complete electrical flap actuating system.
He went on to Chrysler Corp., Missile Division in late 1956 as an analytical engineer where he established design criteria for ballistic missiles, analyzed stability of the suspension system for the Redstone missile transporter, and was responsible for the aerodynamics and aeroballistics analysis in the preliminary missile design department. While at Chrysler, he was assigned to the Army Ballistic Missile Agency in Huntsville, Alabama as part of Werner von Braun's rocket team, conducting design analysis of the aerodynamic heating of reentry bodies, including the first ablative nose cones to survive reentry.
In 1960 he joined Bendix Systems Division as a senior Engineer responsible for aeroballistics studies and systems analysis for several missile systems.
In 1962 he was appointed to the NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. as the Technical Assistant to the Director of Launch Vehicle and Propulsion Programs, responsible for advancing the state of the art in launch vehicle program design for cost effectiveness. Bill served as Executive Secretary of NASA Launch Vehicle and Propulsion Advisory Committee from 1962 to 1964. In 1965, he became Launch Vehicle Program Manager at NASA Headquarters, Office of Manned Space Flight. Bill has also published four papers on launch vehicles. In 1968, he returned to Bendix Systems Division as a Senior Staff Engineer.
Returning to Muskegon in 1970, he established Bos Engineering, P.C., a consulting firm. His many clients included the British Aircraft Corporation, for whom he designed the flight path optimization program for the Concord supersonic aircraft.
William F. Bos was enshrined on October 19, 1996 into the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame for his outstanding contributions to the United States aerospace program, to supersonic flight and for his dedication and love of space flight and aviation.
John F.X. Browne is a world renowned pilot and traveler. His exploits have literally taken him to all the continents and all four corners of the earth.
Browne started his flying instruction at Detroit City Airport in 1962. He earned his instrument rating in 1965 and his air transport rating in 1970. In 1971 he received Category II ILS approach authorization, the first one issued in the Central Great Lakes Region for light aircraft.
He is holder of 23 World Records on International Flights in light aircraft (Piper Aztec) including flights around-the-world, over the north pole, and transpacific.
During these flights he has crossed the Atlantic six times, the Pacific three times (north, central, and south), as well as crossings of the Indian and Arctic Oceans with landings and over-flights on all continents except Antarctica.
Browne was enshrined on December 17, 1987 for outstanding contributions in developing the knowledge required for access by general aviation in international travel. His accomplishments were many and varied. His continued travel, notably to Antarctica in 1987, the only continent he has not landed on, will be yet another accomplishment. Browne, with his diligence and foresight, has indeed assisted all of those in aviation by proving that flying is safe, enjoyable, and possible on the international level. To this end, this award is most solemnly and respectfully dedicated.
Clayton J. Brukner was raised in Battle Creek, Michigan, and it was here where he met Elwood J. "Sam" Junkin, a lifelong associate with whom Clayton shared a love of aviation. After graduating from high school in 1915, the pair became involved with the O.E. Williams Aeroplane Co. in Fenton, Michigan, where Brukner learned the mechanical aspects of airplanes.
In 1917, Brukner and Junkin headed to New York to work at the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Corp., followed by work at the Aeromarine Plane and Motor Co. in New Jersey. It was here that they met Harold C. Deuther, George E. "Buck" Weaver and Charlie Meyers. Between the fall of 1919 and the spring of 1920, the DBJ Aeroplane Co. was formed by Deuther, Bruckner and Junkin in Lorain, Ohio.
In 1920, Deuther returned to his home in New York and Weaver again joined the group. They established a formal company called the Weaver Aircraft Co. The first airplane built by the group was a high-wing parasol called the "Cootie." The aircraft was damaged on its first test flight and rebuilt as a biplane. In 1921 the Weaver Aircraft Co., known by the acronym WACO, built its first practical airplane, the Waco Model 4.
In 1922, Weaver left the Weaver Aircraft Co. as Brukner and Junkin moved operations to Medina, Ohio. In 1923 the Weaver Aircraft Co. closed its doors, moved to Troy, Ohio, and reorganized as the Advanced Aircraft Co., with Brukner as president and plant manager.
In 1927 the Model 10 was introduced and became the leading aircraft registered in the United States with more than 1,200 aircraft sold. In 1929 the company again reorganized and became the Waco Aircraft Co.
From 1929 to 1938, with Brukner at the helm, the Waco Aircraft Co. outsold all other competitors two-to-one. Wacos, consisting of both open and closed cockpit biplanes, were found in 36 countries, making it the most successful aircraft company in the United States.
Following World War II, the Waco Aircraft Co. made the decision to stop producing aircraft. Brukner sold the company to Allied Industries in 1963 and it closed its doors for good in 1965.
Brukner passed away on December 26, 1977. He was enshrined into the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame on May 21, 2011.
Pete Burgher was born July 18, 1932, in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Later becoming a pilot, world traveler, author, and aviation record holder, Pete's love of aviation started at age six when he rode shotgun for his uncle delivering new Luscombe aircraft to customers in the eastern states. He received his private pilot's license in 1960, and holds additional ratings of commercial pilot with instruments and multi-engine land and sea. He has a total of 7,000 accident-free hours.
Pete's professional career started at Santa Barbara College in 1950, where he majored in political science. He went on to earn a Master's Degree from Columbia University in 1956, and from there began work at the international accounting firm of Arthur Young and Company, where he was made partner in charge of Michigan offices in 1972. He retired from Young and Company in 1979.
In 1980, Pete purchased Marelco Power Systems in Howell, Michigan. During the ensuing years, Pete's interest in aviation continued to develop, eventually leading him to become the Acting Chairman of the Rhode Island Governors Air Transportation Development Committee, chairman of the Michigan Aeronautics Commission from 1975-76, and the AOPA's regional representative from 1985-1994. Pete also founded the Flight Freedom Foundation Inc., to preserve and protect the general aviation system in 1994.
Pete has set 56 world class and U.S. National records flying his MX-1 Ultralite from Detroit to St. Petersburg, Florida during the week of July 25-31, 1982. He also set a world record flying his twin Comanche from Fort Myers to New Orleans in October, 1991.
Peter H. "Pete" Burgher was enshrined on October 14, 1995 for his lifelong dedication to general aviation, the community, and education.
Lt. Gen. Richard A. Burpee was born October 3, 1932 in Delton, Michigan. After graduating from high school in 1951, Burpee went on to earn an undergraduate degree in 1959 and a Master's degree in Public Administration in 1965. His professional military schools include: Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College, National War College, and Advanced Management.
Entering the Air Force in December, 1953, Burpee received his wings and Second Lieutenant commission at Bryan Air Force Base, Texas in March, 1955. He served as an instructor pilot at Bryan AFB and Reese AFB until June, 1962. He then was selected as an exchange officer with Royal Canadian Air Force for two years. In January, 1967, he began F-4 qualification training and was assigned to Cam Ranh Bay Air Base, Vietnam where from August, 1967 until September, 1968 he flew 336 F-4 combat missions.
Upon returning to the United States he was assigned to HQ, U.S. Air Force. In 1971, he served as FB-111 Aircraft Commander at Pease AFB and Commander of the 509th Bombardment Wing until April, 1975, when he was appointed Director, Training for Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, SAC HQ. In January, 1977 he became commander of the 19th Air Division, Carswell AFB. He returned to SAC HQ in June, 1979 as Inspector General and in June, 1980 became SAC Deputy Director for Operations. Then in February, 1981 he was transferred to HQ, USAF as Deputy Director Operations, then as HQ USAF Director of Operations from July to June 1982.
In August, 1983 General Burpee became Commander, Air Logistics Center, Tinker AFB, then Director of Operations, Joint Chiefs of Staff, then finally as Commander, 15th Air Force where he ended his 37 years of service after his retirement in 1990. His military decorations include National Defense and Air Force Distinguished Service Medals, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star, Air Medal with 14 Oak Leaf Clusters and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
Lt. General Richard A. Burpee was enshrined into the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame on October 10, 1998 for a long and illustrious career in military aviation where he played a significant role in the defense of our country.
Gilbert A. Cargill was born in Oberlin, Ohio on June 4, 1916. He had at all times encouraged minority youth to enter aviation as a career while striving to set an example by maintaining the highest level of professionalism and safety.
He graduated from Oberlin College in 1937 with a major in mathematics and a minor in physics and soon began teaching in Cleveland. In 1941 his childhood dream of obtaining his pilot's license was finally allowed to become a reality through the government sponsored Civilian Pilot Training Program. In August, 1941 Mr. Cargill obtained his long awaited pilots license and continued on to receive his commercial license with an instructor rating in October 1942. In January 1943 he moved up to military flight instructor, flying Stearman PT-17s and AT-6s. In 1967, he moved to Troy, Michigan to become a flight instructor, and in October of that year he began teaching mathematics at Aero Mechanics High School. For many years he taught ground school to students after school on his own time.
In October 1972 the FAA appointed Cargill to be the first black designated pilot examiner in Michigan. He was appointed a safety counselor in 1975 and was subsequently honored in 1981 by the Great Lakes Regional FAA for outstanding support of the Safety Counseling Program. In September 1975 he obtained his coveted ATP certificate.
He was appointed to the Michigan Aeronautics Commission in 1985 by the Gov. James Blanchard, serving as chairman in 1988, and was reappointed for a second term. He has also been an active member of the Negro Airmen International (NAI) for many years, including serving two years as national president.
In June 1987 Cargill and a friend, John McFarlin, made a historic flight from Detroit to London, England in a Cessna 210 in a total flight time of 25 hours.
Cargill was enshrined on October 13, 1989 for his unending and tireless commitment to the advancement of aviation through education of the next generation. He died July 16, 2004 in Shaker Heights, Ohio.
Walter J. Carr was born on January 15, 1896 in Ladd, Illinois. As an "early bird" in aviation, he had a multi-faceted career as a designer of aircraft, test pilot, instructor, and military officer, logging more than 20,000 hours of flight time.
Trained as a railroad engineer, Carr first became interested in aviation when he helped repair two planes at a county fair in 1912. He entered the Chicago Flying School, receiving federal license 442, and after graduation entered the exhibition circuit, performing at fairs and other events throughout the country.
When World War I broke out, Carr joined the aviation section of the Army Signal Corps and served as a flight instructor. After the war, he continued barnstorming began to design and build aircraft for the Paramount Aircraft Manufacturing Company of Saginaw. He also helped operate the Detroit, Saginaw, and Northern Airway. The depression put the company in receivership, but he was soon back in business, operating a skywriting service. In 1932, he designed and built the "Carr Special," a long-wing monoplane with OX-5 engine in which he won 22 races in two years. In 1937, he test piloted the "Explorer" aircraft built by Abrams Aerial Survey Company.
While serving as chief test pilot for Barkley-Grow at Detroit City Airport in the 1930s, Carr was chosen by Eddie Stinson to fly the first tri-motor to China and form the first Chinese airline. He flew the Canton to Hanoi route for a year before returning to the U.S.
Carr joined the Michigan Aeronautics Commission in 1942 as a pilot and inspector, but when World War II broke out the 45 age limit was waived so he could return to uniform. When the war was over, he returned to the MAC where he remained until his retirement in 1962.
In 1967, at the age of 71, Carr took over the controls of a Lear executive jet and flew it at 535 miles per hour at an altitude of 28,000 feet.
Carr was enshrined on November 7, 1991. He was a legend in Michigan aviation and his contributions to the development of aviation were many.
Lt. Cdr. Roger B. Chaffee was born February 15, 1935, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Introduced to aviation by his father, a former barnstorming pilot, Chaffee's early interests were model airplanes and science. Graduating from high school in 1953 with his sights on an engineering career, he entered the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corp (NROTC) at Illinois Institute of Technology, later transferring to Purdue University from which he received a degree in aeronautical engineering. It was here, in his last semester, he began flying.
Completing Navy flight training in 1959, he received assignment in the overhaul and repair of the A3D twin-engine jet photo reconnaissance plane and became one of the youngest pilots ever to fly in the A3D. Aerial flights taken during his flights over Florida's Cape Canaveral and Cuba were later used to map the area which became the launching center for the United States space program and to prove the existence of Russian missile bases in Cuba.
Chaffee was accepted in October, 1963, as one of the 14 people in the third group of astronauts in the United States space program. After completing training, he was selected for the first manned flight of the Apollo project in NASA's effort to progress toward the goal of landing a man on the moon by 1969. A tragic loss, he died on January 27, 1967, with two other astronauts, when the Apollo I spacecraft caught fire on the launch pad at Cape Kennedy, Florida.
A Navy pilot with more than 2200 flying hours, mostly in jets, Chaffee was awarded the Navy Air Medal and NASA Distinguished Service Medal.
Chaffee was enshrined on October 22, 1994 for his contributions to the United States as a pilot, engineer, and astronaut. He is noted for his leadership and dedication to the advancement of the United States space program.
Dr. John A. Clark, Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1923 and grew up in Royal Oak. After graduating from Royal Oak high school in June, 1941, he attended Lawrence Institute of Technology for a short time. With the outbreak of World War II, John, like many others of his generation, enlisted in the Army Air Corps in August, 1942, and was called for active duty in February, 1943. After completing military schooling and basic and multi-engine flight training in April, 1944, he was transferred to the Las Vegas Army Air Base to train as a B-17 Bomber copilot. It was here that John met his future wife, the late Marie Mountain Clark, who was serving as a Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP). After completing B-17 training, John and his crew picked up a new B-17G in Nebraska, and made their way across the Atlantic to join the 100th Bomb Group, Eighth Air Force, known at the Bloody 100th due to their heavy combat losses, at Thorpe Abbots, East Anglia, England. Between October, 1944, and March, 1945, John completed 32 combat missions over Europe. He kept meticulous notes and records of all briefings, as well as a diary of his combat missions, all of which were incorporated into a book in 2001 titled An Eighth Air Force Combat Diary . He concluded his wartime service rated as a First Pilot, with over 600 hours in the B-17G, 300 of them in combat.
Following separation from the U.S. Army Air Force in July, 1945, he married his late wife Marie, and enrolled in the University Of Michigan s College of Engineering. John continued to fly during his undergraduate years, serving as a pilot on a variety of aircraft with the 107th Bomb Squadron of the Michigan Air National Guard. He was also employed as a Research Associate by the U of M Aeronautical Research Center at Willow Run Airport, conducting studies on Ramjet engines for aircraft and missile applications. He graduated in 1948 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering, left the Michigan Air National Guard, and began work as a Research Engineer with United Aircraft Corporation in East Hartford, CT, where he worked to solve cooling problems with Ramjet engines. While there, he developed a proposal for the measurement of the static temperature of high-velocity gas flows in aircraft gas turbine exhausts, which he pursued as his Master s thesis topic at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). John received both his Master s and his Doctorate (Sc.D)
degrees from MIT in Mechanical Engineering by 1952 and joined the faculty as an assistant professor. In 1957, he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan, and was soon promoted to Chairman, Department of Mechanical Engineering. In his time spent at MIT, U of M, and throughout his later career, John worked on a wide variety of initiatives, including the establishment of a flight research program with the U.S. Air Force, research involving the
propulsion systems of the Saturn Rocket, and research on heat transfer, thermal dynamics, and solar energy. Dr. Clark s broad national and international career in research and consulting also included serving as a member of President-elect Ronald Reagan s transition team for energy. Highly regarded in this field, Dr. Clark has authored over sixty technical papers and book contributions and has received numerous awards and honors from both the
scientific and academic communities.
Because of his great contributions to aviation through both his service to his country as a pilot in World War II and in the advancement of aerospace science and technology through his research, John A. Clark embodies the virtue and qualities extolled by the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame.
Danny Clisham announced at his first air show entirely by chance in October 1965, . Danny was in Elkins, WV as a ferry pilot for Bill Barber in an air show produced by Johnny Skyrocket Morgan. The show hired a local TV color man as its announcer who was quickly over matched for the job. Danny climbed on to the hay wagon to offer help, but instead, the TV anchor handed the microphone over to Danny and raced away. On that day, a legend was born.
Danny immediately raised the game of the air show industry by viewing himself as an entertainer first and a pilot second. He decided that a suit and a boutonniere were appropriate so air show announcers were viewed more as Masters of Ceremonies. Years later, Danny would begin wearing his signature white suit.
In fifty years of air show announcing, Danny has seen just about every dynamic and static act in the industry and watched as air shows have increased in terms of entertainment value, skill and professionalism. He has seen show producers, skywriters, wingwalkers, pilots, ground acts, designers and builders all leave their mark on the air show industry. Danny has also watched the crowds at air shows grow exponentially as forward thinking show directors added sponsorships, corporate chalets and events within the event to attract more attendees, loyal attendees who come back to the shows year after year. The crowd makes all the difference, according to Danny. The spontaneous applause of a crowd held in rapt attention to an act is the most exciting and energizing thing that can happen at an air show.
Air show announcing is one aspect of Danny s love for all things aviation. He spent his adult career as a professional airline pilot and retired from American Airlines with more than 30,000 hours of flight time. In fact, he holds a Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) speed record for a commercial route " a record that has not been broken for 30 years.
Danny, still an active pilot, owns three general aviation aircraft. He has also worked as an aviation consultant on movies and for television shows.
Induction into the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame is the latest in a lengthy list of honors that includes: Induction into the ICAS Foundation s Air Show Hall of Fame; the ICAS Sword of Excellence; the Clifford W. Henderson Achievement Award; Honorary Membership in The Canadian Forces Jet Demonstration Team; The Art Scholl Memorial Showmanship Award; General Aviation News & Flyer Readers Choice Award; and the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship.
Vice Admiral Thomas F. Connolly was born in October, 1909 in St. Paul, Minnesota. A 1933 U.S. Naval Academy graduate, he retired from the Navy in 1971 after 38 years of distinguished service.
As Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air Warfare) in the midst of congressional hearings concerning naval procurement of the F-111B fighter-bomber, he courageously upheld the tenants of naval aviation in the face of extreme opposition to urge its rejection. In its place, the mainstay carrier fighter of the past 25 years, the F-14 Tomcat was developed and named for Admiral Connolly.
After earning a Masters of Aeronautical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he became a test pilot and co-authored a university-level text book on airplane aerodynamics. He established the Navy's elite Top Gun test pilot training center, commanded two carriers, was Commander Naval Air Pacific, and the first flag officer assigned for Navy Space requirements and programs.
He was instrumental in developing the modern aircraft carrier program, the first operational navigational satellite system, the Navy's Pacific missile range, Sidewinder missile, and a naval ordinance requirements system.
Admiral Connolly's awards and honors include three Distinguished Flying Crosses and three Air Medals earned during World War II, two Legions of Merit awards, the Award for Achievement of the National Aviation Club, the Kitty Hawk Memorial Award, and, in 1998, he was inducted into the Naval Aviation Hall of Honor in Pensacola, Florida. In addition, competing as a member of the American team in the 1932 Olympics, he won a bronze medal in gymnastics for rope climbing.
Admiral Connolly, who died in Holland, Michigan in 1996 at the age of 86, was enshrined into the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame on September 25, 1999 for his outstanding contributions to naval aviation and space programs.
Mary Rawlinson Creason was born on November 20, 1924, in Greenwood, Delaware. Mary began flying prior to her 1944 graduation from Western Michigan College, and during her long aviation career she played a major role in aviation safety and education programs for the state of Michigan.
After Mary's initial solo in 1943, she went on to earn private, commercial, and airline transport pilot licenses. Rated on both single-engine land and sea and multi-engine land airplanes, she began teaching in 1964 and by 1995 had accumulated over 10,500 flight hours, 5,500 of which as a flight instructor. She has held positions as an air taxi pilot, flight and ground instructor, airport manager, fixed base owner and operator, airplane salesperson, aviation writer and publisher, and has volunteered as an FAA Accident Prevention Counselor. She continues to teach, write, and promote aviation education and safety. Early on in her career, Mary faced the hardships of discrimination against women pilots, an experience she attributes to her drive to excel in her aviation skills.
Mary began working for the state of Michigan's Bureau of Aeronautics in 1977 as Editor of Michigan Aviation, while also serving as an air transport pilot, coordinator of safety, and development of educational programs. Later she became Administrator of the Safety and Services Division and then Assistant Deputy Director. After her retirement in 1989, Mary was appointed by Governor Blanchard to the Aeronautics Commission and served as its Chairman in 1991.
Accepting a presidential appointment, Mary served as a member of the Womens/Citizens Advisory Committee on Aviation to the FAA from 1969 to 1974. She participated in many national and state air races, placing in the top ten four times in national races, and top five four times in the Michigan SMALL Race. She has received many awards, trophies, and citations during her long and illustrious career.
A catalyst for the promotion and advancement of aviation, aviation safety, and aviation education, the effect of Mary's involvement has spread through the thousands of students and associates with whom she has been in contact.
Mary Rawlinson Creason was enshrined on October 14, 1995, for her dedication to Michigan aviation for over 50 years.
Lt. James L. DeVosss attended elementary, high school, and junior college in Grand Rapids, MI, and graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS in Zoology and Chemistry. After joining the United States Air Force in 1967, he trained as an F-105 Thunderchief (THUD) pilot and was eventually deployed to fly combat missions over Vietnam and Northern Laos.
On June 16, 1969, DeVoss took off as flight lead on what he described as a "typical mission" , his 71st since arriving in Southeast Asia. DeVoss and his flight were to bomb roads and vehicles used as part of the "Ho Chi Minh Trail", the main supply route of the North Vietnamese Army. After dropping his bombs at their second target, DeVoss rolled in behind his wingman to cover him on his run. While there was heavy anti-aircraft fire in the area, DeVoss didn't recall feeling any strike his aircraft. "I didn't see or hear anything," said DeVoss. " I was on the radio telling the guys to rejoin so we could hit the post-strike tanker to get some gas and go home when, all of a sudden, the nose of the plane started to weave around real funny-like. I thought 'This can't be happening to me!', but it was..."
DeVoss fought to stay in the air but found his controls unresponsive. Suspecting a hit to the aircraft s hydraulic system, he increased his speed to stabilize and began to run through the checklist for ejecting. After jettisoning his wing tanks to reduce weight, the aircraft nosed over unexpectedly and began rapidly gaining speed. As the pilots in DeVoss' flight screamed "Get out! Get out!" over the radio, he surveyed his situation and found he had well exceeded safe ejection speed. With no alternative, he was forced to "punch out" at over 700 miles per hour. As he left the aircraft, the shock of the high-speed wind broke his left arm and both of his legs. Badly injured, thinking his left arm had actually been torn off, he maintained consciousness and continued to follow the ejection sequence as he'd been trained. While his parachute deployed successfully, he found he was unable to control his descent and was impaled by bamboo shoots when he hit the ground. Despite this, he was still able to administer basic first aid and deploy his emergency beacon and radio. He contacted his flight, who began to coordinate search and rescue efforts while flying cover over his position.
When a pilot goes down in combat, their rescue is considered "all hands", meaning every available resource is diverted to the effort. One of the rescue units responding to DeVoss' emergency was trained in the use of film equipment, and the entire mission was recorded. The Air Force determined Lt. DeVoss' survival was due largely to his precise adherence to correct emergency procedures, and the film of his rescue was used in an Air Force rescue training film titled Faces of Rescue, which is still in use today.
For the past 45 years, DeVoss has shown the film and lectured for countless groups and organizations free of charge, emphasizing the depth of training of each U.S. Air Force Pilot, and his own personal patriotic dedication to our country and our military forces. Lt. DeVoss was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Air Medal with oak leaf clusters, Air Force Presidential Citation, the National Defense Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal. Unable to continue to fly due to his injuries, DeVoss was employed by the Amway Corporation from 1972 through 2015, and was responsible for the creation and initial management of nine American-owned, locally operated Middle and Eastern Europe affiliates of the company.
For his selfless dedication and sacrifice, James DeVoss embodies the virtues of the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame.
Beaumont "Pard" Diver was born in Deerfield, Michigan in 1912 and began his career in aviation when he started working at Meyers Aircraft Co. in Tecumseh in 1940. While there, he helped design and build the Meyers OTW, 145 and 200. He also signed the airworthiness certificates for all three aircraft and made them official airplanes.
Diver made the creation and restoration of many one-of-a-kind projects possible. If parts were not available, he would fabricate them. He excelled in aircraft aluminum and was known for his ability to make just about any part necessary to keep the plane flying.
Diver worked at Meyers Aircraft Co. for more than 50 years, and in 1990 was honored by Michigan Aviation Magazine. The magazine acknowledged the five decades of expertise Diver devoted to the design and construction of the exclusive handmade Meyers single-engine biplanes and thousands of experimental aircraft parts.
On August 11, 1990, Diver passed away while working on an airplane he helped build and patent. He was the last of the original FAA licensed Meyers repairmen. After his passing, the Al Meyers Airport in Tecumseh was officially renamed the Meyers-Diver's Airport. Diver often said he was thankful for living in the time of history that he did. The advances in his lifetime amazed him as he went from flowing behind two mules before the advent of electricity, to his own ride on the Concorde jet, breaking the sound barrier.
Diver is warmly and fondly remembered not only in Southeast Michigan, but around the world wherever there are aviators who had the privilege of working with him. He had an interest in people and learned everything important about those he worked with. His love for his family, friends and country shined through unmistakably. His trademark red baseball cap became the accepted garb for Meyers Aircraft Owners Association members, who known how reliable and safe their airplanes are, thanks to Diver's careful and painstaking efforts.
Beaumont "Pard" Diver was enshrined into the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame on May 21, 2011.
Urban Leonard Ben Drew was born in Detroit, Michigan on March 21, 1924. He entered the U.S. Army Air Force in October, 1942 and graduated as a 2nd Lieutenant and received his pilot's wings in 1943. Lt. Drew arrived in England aboard the Queen Elizabeth in May of 1944 and was assigned to the 375th Fighter Squadron, 361st Fighter Group, based at Bottisham, Chambridgeshire. During his tour with the "Yellow Jackets," Drew completed 75 missions, the last of which on November 1, 1944. He rose to the command of "A" flight of the 375th Squadron and rotated to the U.S. in December of 1944.
Among his victories, most notable were the two Messerschmitt ME-262 jet aircraft shot down on October 7, 1944. This made Ben Drew the first allied airman to destroy two German jets in aerial combat. On September 18, 1944 Drew helped destroy, with the aid of two wingmen, the largest aircraft then in existence, a Luftwaffe Blohm & Voss BV-268 six-engine flying boat at Lake Schaal in Northern Germany.
After completion of his European tour, Drew served with the 413th Fighter Squadron, 414th Fighter Group, flying P-47N-5s from Iwo Jima in the Bonin Islands. After the war, Drew helped reconstitute the Michigan Air National Guard, serving with the 127th Fighter Group. He completed his military service as a Major with the following record: Six Luftwaffe aircraft destroyed, one damaged (air), one destroyed (ground). His decorations include the Air Force Cross, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, and 14 Air Medals.
In 1983, at a Pentagon ceremony, Mr. Vernon Orr, then Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, presented Major Drew the Air Force Cross 39 years after he downed two ME-262 jet fighters.
After 1953, Mr. Drew was heavily involved in commercial aviation. He was a principle with several air cargo and charter operations. He brokered aircraft internationally and provided the C-47 aircraft and flight crews for the filing of the movie "A Bridge Too Far."
Urban "Ben" Drew was enshrined in the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame on September 25, 1999 for his long and dedicated aviation career as a pilot in war and in peace. He passed away April 3, 2013.