The National Aviation Hall of Fame held its 46th Annual Enshrinement Dinner and Ceremony in Dayton, Ohio, on July 21. Five pioneers of air and space joined the 190 legends of flight previously honored. Walter J. Boyne, Steve Fossett, Evelyn Bryan Johnson, Sally K. Ride and Frederick W. Smith personally accepted enshrinement before an audience of nearly 1,000 guests. Brian J. Terwilliger, producer and director of “One Six Right,” served as the master of ceremonies.
“This year’s historic enshrinement was an ideal example of how, for over a century now, so many unique threads of aviation have woven together to make a rich and beautiful tapestry,” Kaplan said.
Walter Boyne joined the Air Force in 1951. He flew as a B-50 and B-47 combat crewmember in the Strategic Air Command and later was a nuclear test pilot with the 4925th Nuclear Test Group at Kirtland AFB, flying both the B-47 and B-52. After serving in Vietnam, Col. Boyne retired and joined the National Air and Space Museum as an assistant curator, in 1974, and was eventually appointed director. From 1983 to 1986, he oversaw museum operations and pioneered numerous projects. He’s written more than 500 articles, 28 nonfiction books and four novels, all focused on aviation. Several of his books appeared on the New York Times Best Seller List.
Steve Fossett is one of the world’s greatest adventurers and holds 116 records in five different sports. He holds aviation records in jet and piston-powered aircraft, gliders, dirigibles and balloons. He became the first person to circumnavigate the earth solo in a balloon, in 2002, and was the first to fly a powered aircraft around the world solo, nonstop and un-refueled, at the controls of the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, in March 2005. He followed up in February 2006 with the longest distance, nonstop aircraft flight. In August 2006, Fossett and his copilot, Einar Enevoldson, set a world glider altitude record of 50,671 feet. Also Read Steve Fossett: Always “Scouting for New Adventures”
Evelyn Bryan Johnson was looking for a respite from running a business when she decided to take up flying as a hobby in 1944. She began teaching others the same day she received her instructor rating in 1947. As an FAA-designated pilot examiner, she has administered more than 9,000 check rides. Johnson is recognized for logging more hours—60,000-plus—than any woman on earth, and was the 20th woman in the U.S. to earn a helicopter pilot’s license. Since 1953, she’s served as the manager of Tennessee’s Moore-Murrell Field. An active member of the Ninety-Nines, she flew in five Powder-Puff Derbies and took part in an international race from Washington, D.C., to Havana, Cuba. She’s received hundreds of honors, including induction into the Flight Instructor’s Hall of Fame, Women in Aviation’s International Pioneer Hall of Fame and both the Tennessee and Kentucky Aviation Halls of Fame.
Sally Ride earned a PhD in physics from Stanford in 1978, the same year she was selected for astronaut training. She served in mission control as capsule communicator (CAPCOM) for the second and third shuttle missions. As a flight engineer, Dr. Ride became America’s first female astronaut aboard STS-7 Space Shuttle Challenger, launched in 1983. She returned to space in the same role aboard Challenger in 1984, with the crew of STS-41G. Her third scheduled mission to space was cancelled because of Challenger’s accident in January 1986. Ride is the author of five books, the president and CEO of Sally Ride Science and an advocate for improving and emphasizing science education for young girls.
Frederick W. Smith, founder and CEO of FedEx, learned to fly at age 15 and quickly developed both his piloting skills and his keen business acumen. While attending Yale University, he wrote an economics class term paper, outlining his concept for a company that could guarantee overnight delivery of time-sensitive material. Upon graduating, Smith enlisted in the U.S. Marines and served two tours in Vietnam. He flew more than 200 ground support missions and earned a Silver Star, Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. After honorable discharge as captain in 1969, he purchased an aircraft maintenance company and refocused operations on buying and selling used corporate jets. In 1971, at age 27, Smith created the Federal Express Corporation and soon began offering delivery service in 25 cities. Today, the $35-billion global transportation, business services and logistics company has 280,000 employees and serves more than 220 countries and territories around the world.
This year’s recipient of the 2007 Milton Caniff Spirit of Flight Award was the Flying Physicians Association. Dr. Stephen Towle, FPA president, accepted the award on behalf of the organization at the NAHF President’s Reception and Dinner on July 20. The FPA was officially formed in 1955. The organization of physician pilots promotes safety, education and human-interest projects relating to medicine and aviation, while enjoying the fantasy of flight.
The 2007 Crossfield Award was also presented that evening. The late Scott Crossfield established the $1,000 cash award for teachers in 1986 to recognize excellence in grade school aerospace education. This marked the first time NAHF administered the award. Sally Crossfield Farley, Crossfield’s daughter, represented the family at the award ceremony. The recipient was Marcus Petitjean, a middle school teacher from the school system in Russia, Ohio.
Each year the Dayton Air Show presents the Zoe Dell Nutter Award to someone in the Dayton community who selflessly and prominently promotes the region’s aviation history. The 2007 recipient was Amanda Wright Lane, great grandniece of Orville and Wilbur Wright. In addition to serving as the Wright family spokesperson and a tireless promoter of aerospace heritage, Wright Lane serves on the board and committees of several aviation organizations, including the National Aviation Heritage Foundation. Don Kinlin, past chairman of the air show and air show and NAHF trustee, presented Lane with her award.