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6 08, 2014

David Sinton Ingalls

Inducted in 2011

First Ace in U.S. Navy History

1899 – 1985

DAVID SINTON INGALLS was the only United States Navy Flying Ace in World War I, and thus, he was the first ace in U.S. Navy history.

Born to a life of privilege in Cleveland, Ohio, at 17 years of age Ingalls was a pre-med student at Yale where he enjoyed tinkering with aircraft, and enlisted as a member of the First Yale Unit, a group of aviation pioneers. As such, he became a member of the US Naval Reserve Flying Corps and obtained his pilot license.

On March 17, 1917, Ingalls enlisted into Naval Aviation and was called to active duty in April of that year. After aviation training, Ingalls was sent to Europe where he was attached to British squadrons throughout the war. Flying Sopwith Camels in attacks on the Germans, Ingalls scored six victories to become the Navy’s first ace. He […]

6 08, 2014

Betty Skelton Frankman Erde

Inducted in 2010

First Lady of Aerobatics; Aviation and Automotive Pioneer

1926 – 2011

Betty June Skelton, the only child of David and Myrtle Skelton, was born in Pensacola, Florida on June 28, 1926. An independent child, she played with model airplanes instead of dolls. Later she devoted her playtime to sitting on the back steps of her home watching Navy cadets from the nearby Naval Air Station flying overhead executing maneuvers in bi-planes. Finally, at the age of nine, she convinced her parents she wanted to become a Navy flyer.

Betty’s father, a railroad conductor, shared her interest in flying, and the three Skeltons began visiting the airport every spare moment. A young Navy Ensign began teaching the entire family to fly. Betty was the last to solo. She was twelve years old..

During World War II the Skelton family was active in the Civil Air Patrol. The young pilot legally soloed on her […]

6 08, 2014

Frank Purdy Lahm

Inducted in 2009

One of first trainees for military aircraft

November 11, 1877 – July 7, 1963

Frank Lahm spent two years at Michigan Military Academy preparing for West Point, where he entered in June 1897 and subsequently served in France. Upon his return to the United States in 1903, Lieutenant Lahm was stationed at West Point as an instructor in French. The son of a balloonist, he trained at West Point, served in the cavalry, and transferred to the signal corps in 1907. A pioneer aviator, he trained with Wilbur Wright, and in 1909 became one of the army’s first two certified pilots.

Lahm’s father had joined the Aero Club of France and owned the balloon the “Katherine Hamilton,” named in honor of his daughter. In the summer of 1905 young Lahm completed the requirements of six ascensions, including one at night and one alone, to win his Federation Aeronautique Internationale license as […]

6 08, 2014

Frederick E. Humphreys

Inducted in 2009

One of first trainees for military aircraft

September 16, 1883 – January 20, 1941

After attending the Pennsylvania Military Academy, he won an appointment from New York to the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduated and was assigned to the Corps of Engineers. After assisting in bridge construction, he was deployed to Cuba during the Pacification Expedition, and a year later, returned to attend the Engineer School. While at the school, he was detailed to the Signal Corps.

“Aeroplane No. 1, Heavier-than-Air Division, US Aerial Fleet” was officially accepted by the US Army on August 2, 1909. 800 pounds of bamboo, wire and cloth, and a 30 hp engine connected to propellers by bicycle chains had cost the government $30,000. Included in the contract was the requirement for the Wright brothers to train and certify two military officers as pilots. These were to be Lieutenants Lahm and Foulois; the […]

6 08, 2014

Herbert D. Kelleher

Inducted in 2008

Co-Founder, Southwest Airlines

1931 –

Herbert Kelleher is a Founder of Southwest Airlines Co., and served as Executive Chairman from March 1978 to May 2008 and as President and CEO from September 1981 through June 2001.

Southwest commenced service with three airplanes in 1971 and today operates a fleet of more than 527 airplanes performing over 3,400 flights per day. Kelleher’s company has been profitable for 35 consecutive years and has never furloughed an employee. For 11 years in a row, FORTUNE magazine recognized Southwest Airlines in its annual survey of corporate reputations, and among all industries in 2007, FORTUNE has listed Southwest Airlines as number five among America’s Top Ten most admired corporations.

Kelleher himself has received numerous awards and honors, including the U.S. Chamber Business Leadership Hall of Fame; CEO of the Year and one of history’s top three CEOs, Chief Executive magazine; CEO of the Century, Texas Monthly magazine; […]

6 08, 2014

Dr. Richard T. Whitcomb

Inducted in 2007

“Area Rule” & “Winglets” Impact us Today

1921 – 2009

A graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a BS in mechanical engineering (high distinction) in 1943, Dr. Whitcomb went to work for NACA – now NASA – at Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory from 1943 until his retirement in 1980. During his 37 years at NASA, he celebrated many accomplishments. One that most of us can relate to is the “area rule” that allowed aircraft to break the sound barrier, which earned hi the 1954 Collier Trophy. Another is “winglets” devices used at the wingtips, normal to the wingspar, extending both upward and downward, which reduce wingtip vortices and the induced drag such vortices create, improving the aerodynamic efficiency of the wing and seen frequently in modern airliners, in which they reduce fuel consumption.

In addition to the Collier Trophy, Dr. Whitcomb is the recipient of the USAF Exceptional Service Medal 1955, […]

6 08, 2014

Tony Jannus

Inducted in 2006

American Flyer

1889 – 1916

Anthony Habersack Jannus was born in 1889 in Washington, DC. Tony Jannus was just twenty-one years old when he taught himself to fly and soloed in a Rexford Smith biplane at College Park, Maryland. Quickly becoming a skilled aviator, Jannus moved to St. Louis in 1911 to serve as the chief pilot for the Benoist Aircraft Company.

On March 1, 1912, Jannus and his passenger, Albert Berry, did something that had never been done. Although Berry was a parachutist, experienced in jumping from balloons, no one had ever jumped from a moving airplane. With Jannus at the controls, Berry dropped from the airplane at an altitude of fifteen hundred feet. His history-making jump was perfect. Later that year Jannus received worldwide newspaper coverage for his record-setting, 1,973-mile flight from Omaha, Nebraska, to New Orleans, Louisiana. In the process, the flight provided thousands of people with their […]

6 08, 2014

Captain Albert Berry

Inducted in 2005

Legends of Aviation

US Army Captain Albert Berry made a tethered jump from a Benoist Headless airplane over Kinlock Field near the site of the present Lambert Field in St. Louis, Missouri in march of 1912.

On 1 March 1912, Berry jumped from a Benoist pusher biplane from 1,500 feet. The 36 foot diameter parachute was contained in a metal canister attached to the underside of the plane – when Berry dropped from the plane his weight pulled the parachute from the canister. Rather than being attached to the parachute by a harness Berry was seated on a trapeze bar.

Asked if he would ever repeat the performance, Berry replied: “Never again! I believe I turned five somersaults on my way down…My course downward… was like a crazy arrow. I was not prepared for the violent sensation that I felt when I broke away from the aeroplane.”

6 08, 2014

Tiny Broadwick

Inducted in 2005

Legends of Aviation

1893 – 1978

“Tiny” Broadwick, remembered as the “First Lady of Parachuting,” holds a place in The Guinness Book of World Records for her achievements as a parachutist. Georgia Ann Thompson, married at twelve, was a mother at thirteen, and soon was abandoned by her husband. At fifteen, Georgia, a cotton mill worker in Henderson, attended a carnival in Raleigh. There, she watched as Charles Broadwick jumped from a balloon and descended by parachute. It was a life-changing event for her, and Broadwick secured permission for the teenager to join his “World Famous Aeronauts.” Soon after, she became Broadwick’s adopted daughter. At just over four feet, Georgia was nicknamed “Tiny,” and was billed as “The Doll Girl.” She thrilled audiences by jumping from a swing attached to a balloon. As the novelty wore off, the Broadwicks moved their act to flying machines. In 1913, soaring in a […]

6 08, 2014

Tuskegee Airmen

Inducted in 2004

Legends of Aviation

In spite of adversity and limited opportunities, African-Americans have played a significant role in US military history over the past 300 years. They were denied military leadership roles and skilled training because many believed they lacked qualifications for combat duty. Before 1940, African Americans were barred from flying for the US military. Civil rights organizations and the black press exerted pressure that resulted in the formation of an all African-American pursuit squadron based in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1941. They became known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

“Tuskegee Airmen” refers to all who were involved in the so-called “Tuskegee Experiment,” the Army Air Corps program to train African-Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft. The Tuskegee Airmen included pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors, and all the personnel who kept the planes in the air.

The military selected Tuskegee Institute to train pilots because of its commitment to […]