KITTY HAWK, N.C. – Nov. 19, 2022 – The First Flight Society announces 4 new Honorary
Members for 2022: Record holder Zara Rutherford, military pilot Nicole Malachowski, airplane collector
Jerry Yagen and artist Gregory Kavalec.
Zara Rutherford became the youngest female pilot to fly solo around the world and the first person to
circumnavigate the earth in a microlight aircraft. She was just 19 years old when she began a 5-month
journey that started in Kortrijk, Belgium, in August 2021, and ended back there in January 2022.
Nicole Malachowski was the first female pilot selected to fly as part of the USAF Air Demonstration
Squadron, better known as the Thunderbirds. She is a retired United States Air Force Colonel. Nicole
became a speaker and advocate on behalf of patients with tick-borne illnesses.
Gerald “Jerry” Yagen is the founder of the Military Aviation Museum in Pungo, Virginia and founder of
Centura College and the Aviation Institute of Maintenance schools. He has played a major role in keeping
aviation history alive in the US.
Gregory Kavalec is an artist who is responsible for many of the paintings In the First Flight Society’s Paul E
Garber Shrine. His latest painting will be unveiled on December 17th at Wright Brothers National
The Honorary Member program launched in 2020 to enhance the public visibility of luminaries like these
who have achieved national recognition in aviation. First Flight Society will recognize them in Society
Media during their lifetime. In turn, FFS offers them the chance to attend the December 17th Luncheon in
Kitty Hawk, NC and be honored along with that year’s Honoree. Previous FFS Honorary Members include
General Charles McGee, Colonel Gail Halvorsen, Patty Wagstaff, Rob Holland and Sean D Tucker.
This year’s honoree is General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., the first black General in the United States Air Force.
Davis was commander of the famed Tuskegee Airmen in World War II. He will be inducted into the Paul
E. Garber First Flight Shrine at Wright Brothers National Memorial on December 17, 2022.
More information about FFS Honorary Members can be found at www.firstflight.org.
More information about the Wright Brothers Day event can be found at www.wrightbrothersday.org.