National Aviation Hall of Fame reveals enshrinee "Class of 2007" at First Flight celebration
The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) will reveal the names of its enshrinee Class of 2007 tonight at a dinner celebrating the 103rd Anniversary of the Wright Brothers first powered flight. Noted test and fighter pilot, Colonel Joe Kittinger, USAF (Ret.), a 1997 enshrinee of the NAHF, will make the announcement to open his keynote address at the event.
The NAHF, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, was founded in Dayton in 1962 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1964. Its mission is to honor America’s outstanding air and space pioneers, which it does through a 17,000 square-foot public Learning Center featuring interactive exhibits, a youth education program, and its annual enshrinement ceremony.
The NAHF Learning Center and the adjacent National Museum of the United States Air Force will serve as the venue for the first flight anniversary dinner and program. The annual event is hosted by Dayton-based Aviation Trail, Inc. (ATI), a non-profit organization promoting over forty partnering aviation sites and venues. The Wright’s milestone flight took place on December 17, 1903, however ATI chose to hold this year’s banquet on Friday, December 15th, instead.
The incoming class of inductees is a diverse group of individuals including an astronaut, shipping mogul, historian and two world record holders. Their formal enshrinement will take place in Dayton - The Birthplace of Aviation – on Saturday, July 21, 2007, where they will join the 190 legends of flight already honored in the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Often referred to as “America’s Oscar Night of Aviation,” the NAHF enshrinement events in July will attract hundreds of industry leaders, government and defense officials, former enshrinees, and aviation enthusiasts worldwide.
The Class of 2007 is: Walter J. Boyne, former Director of the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum, aviation historian and best-selling author; Steve Fossett, globetrotting adventurer who holds numerous world records in balloons, gliders and powered aircraft; Evelyn Bryan Johnson, a flight instructor who has logged more flight hours, trained more pilots, and given more FAA exams than any other pilot; Sally K. Ride, America’s first woman in space aboard NASA’s STS-7 Shuttle mission; and Frederick W. Smith, a former USMC combat pilot and innovative founder of FedEx, a $32-billion global transportation, business services and logistics company.
Walter J. Boyne joined the Air Force in 1951 and earned his wings a year later. He flew as a B-50 and B-47 combat crew member 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, Colonel Boyne retired and joined the National Air and Space Museum as an assistant curator in 1974 and was eventually appointed as its Director. From 1983 to 1986 Boyne oversaw many aspects of museum operations and pioneered numerous projects to provide the highest level of aerospace education and information. Boyne began a prolific research and writing career in 1962. Since then, he has written more than 500 articles, 28 non-fiction books and 4 novels, all focusing on aviation, with several books appearing on the New York Times Bestseller list.
Steve Fossett is one of the world’s greatest adventurers and holds 116 records in five different sports, many of them historic “firsts.” A successful career in financial markets was well served by Fossett’s competitive, adventurous spirit. Seeking a break from work, Fossett resumed the sporting adventures of his youth that grew into a record-breaking passion. He holds aviation records in jet and piston powered aircraft, gliders, dirigibles and balloons. After five previous attempts to become the first to circumnavigate the earth solo in a balloon, Fossett successfully completed the flight in 2002. Fossett became the first to fly around the world solo, non-stop and unrefueled, at the controls of the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer in March 2005. He followed up in February 2006 with the longest distance, non-stop aircraft flight in the GlobalFlyer. In August 2006, Fossett and his co-pilot, Einar Enevoldson, set a world glider altitude record of 50,671 feet.
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 a FAA-designated pilot examiner, she has administered over 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 has also served as the manager of Tennessee’s Moore-Murrell Field. An active member of the Ninety-Nines, Johnson flew in five Powder-Puff Derbys and took part in an international race from Washington, D.C. to Havana, Cuba. Johnson has received hundreds of honors including induction in the Flight Instructor’s Hall of Fame, Women in Aviation’s International Pioneer Hall of Fame, and both the Tennessee and Kentucky Aviation Hall’s of Fame.
Sally K. 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 with the crew of STS-41G, in 1984. Her scheduled third mission to space was cancelled by the Challenger accident in January 1986. She was the only person to serve as a member of both the investigation board for the Challenger accident and for 2003’s Columbia accident. Dr. Ride is the author of five books, 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 Fed Ex, was flying a crop-duster at age 15 and quickly developed both his piloting skills and a keen business acumen. While attending Yale University he wrote an economics class term paper outlining his concept for company guaranteeing delivery of time-sensitive material overnight. Upon graduating, Smith enlisted and served two tours in Vietnam with the Marines, including flying more than 200 ground support missions and earning a Silver Star, Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. After honorable discharge as a Captain in 1969, Smith 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 FedEx is an industry leading $32-billion, 250,000-employee company serving over 220 countries and territories around the world.
Advance reservations for the NAHF’s 46th Annual Enshrinement Dinner & Ceremony on July 21, 2007, can be placed by calling 937-256-0944 ext.10. Seats are $150 per person and a portion of each seat purchased is deductible as allowed by law. For more information visit the NAHF website at www.nationalaviation.org or call 937-256-0944 ext.10.