Friday, November 14, 1986
recognized as the First Lady of Aviation, Olive Ann Beech, Chairman Emeritus
of Beech Aircraft Corporation, has the distinguished honor to be named
the first Kansan inducted into the Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame.
citing Mrs. Beech was signed by Governor John Carlin during a short ceremony
in the State Capitol November 5. In a letter to Mrs. Beech announcing
her selection, Gov. Carlin Wrote: “Your selection… signals recognition
of your contribution to the quality of life in Kansas. Your civic and
community involvement has enriched the lives of countless Kansans. We
are all grateful for your efforts.” The proclamation will be displayed
in Topeka until a permanent location for the Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame
co-founded Beech Aircraft Corporation with her husband, the late Walter
H. Beech, in Wichita in 1932. She served Beech Aircraft as Secretary-Treasurer
and a Director from its founding until Mr. Beech’s death in 1950. Mrs.
Beech then served as Chairman and President until January, 1968, and as
Chairman until 1982, when she became Chairman Emeritus. During the 50
years she served as an officer of the company, Beech Aircraft grew from
fewer than ten employees to more than 10,000, and from a dream to sales
exceeding $900 million.
In 1980 Mrs.
Beech was presented one of aviation’s most distinguished awards, the Wright
Brothers Memorial trophy, bestowed annually by the National Aeronautic
Association through the Aero Club of Washington, D. C.
she was inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio, joining
her late husband who has been so honored in 1977. Later that year, the
Wings Club awarded Mrs. Beech the 1981 Distinguished Achievement Award
for her contributions in helping to develop the world’s foremost general
during commencement ceremonies, The Wichita State University conferred
on Mrs. Beech the honorary degree of Doctor of Business Administration,
honoring her for her “lifetime career and premiere role in American aviation.”
Mrs. Beech was inducted into the National Business hall of Fame, the only
Kansan to receive this honor.
Mrs. Beech was honored as an inductee of the Business Hall of Fame of
Junior Achievement of Wichita.
18, the National Business Hall of Fame will open its permanent Chicago’s
museum of Science and Industry.
Charles Spalding, J. C. Penney, Thomas Alva Edison, and Mrs. Olive Ann
Beech are the laureates to be featured in a holographic display that will
welcome more than four million visitors to the museum annually.
is retired from the day-to-day business operation in which she was involved
for five decades, Mrs. Beech continues her long devotion to aviation and
the company she co-founded as a Director of Beech Aircraft Corporation
and Chairman of Beech Aircraft Foundation.
has two daughters, Suzanne Mellor Beech (Mrs. Thomas Warner) and Mary
Lynn Beech (Mrs. William L. Oliver, Jr.)
1914, Beech served as an instructor in the aviation section during World
War I. Then he joined the Swallow Airplane Manufacturing Company and rose
to General Manager in 1924, he formed Travel Air manufacturing Company.
As President and General Manager. he used its biplanes to win the 1925
and 1926 Ford reliability tours. In 1927 its cabin planes made tne first
commercial flight from California to Hawaii, and won the Dole Air Derby.
Then a “Model R” won the 1929 Thompson Trophy Race. In 1930, he became
a Vice-President of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation.
the Beech Aircraft Corporation in 1932 and becoming its President. Beech’s
popular Model 17 “Staggerwing” cabin biplanes were used to make a flight
around the world, set many air records, and win the 1936 Bendix Trophy
Race. In 1938, his Model 18 “Twin Beech” transport was introduced for
executive and feeder airline use and soon made Beech a leader in the general
aviation field. During World War II, the “Staggerwing” served as an ambulance
transport and communications plane, and the “Twin Beech” as a transport,
photography plane and trainer with U.S. and allied air forces. In addition,
Beech produced the AT-10 trainer and developed the “Grizzly” attack bomber.
In all, the company built 7,400 planes for the war effort. In 1946, Beech
introduced the unique V-Tail “Bonanza,” which was an immediate success.
One set a record 4,960 mile solo flight. Other postwar Beech aircraft
included the “Twin-Squad” feeder airline, the r-34 “Mentor” trainer and
the versatile “Twin Bonanza,” also used by the military.
Beech was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame on July 23,
1977, for outstanding contributions to aviation by his outstanding contributions
to aviation by his creation of innovative aircraft, of design excellence
that served private and business flying in peace and the nation in war
and in the Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame on 13 November 1988 for extraordinary
aviation contributions to the great State of Kansas and the United States
Wells of Topeka, who received his pilot’s license in 1922, helped form
the Kansas Wing of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) in the early 1940’s. He
held the rank of Major in the Civil Air Patrol and continued his involvement
with aviation until his death in October 1987.
He flew submarine
patrols for the CAP in the Gulf Coast area for about six months in 1943
and then returned to Kansas to set up the CAP courier service for the
2nd Air Force. Other highlights of his career included building and operating
the Lawrence, Kansas, Airport; then building and managing Billiard Airport
in Topeka, Kansas; flying the first airmail from Topeka; instrumental
in developing the first aeronautical courses at the University of Kansas
in Lawrence; and developing the Airport Management training school at
Topeka’s municipal airport.
include the War Department’s Meritorious Achievement Award in 1946, Department
of the Air Force Certificate of Honorable Service Award in 1948, and the
Kansas Commission on Aerospace Education Certificate of Dedicated Service
to Education and Aviation Award in 1982.
This is by
no means a complete list of Mr. Well’s accomplishments or awards-there
really is no area of aviation where he has not been active. William H.
Wells epitomizes the early aviation pioneer and proves the effect one
person can have.
to fly in 1921, Amelia Earhart accumulated an impressive number of hours
in the air before becoming famous as the first woman to fly across the
Atlantic as a passenger in 1928. Embarking upon an extensive flying career,
she made the first recorded woman’s solo flight across the continent in
1929 and participated in the first Powder Puff Derby of the National Air
Races. After setting numerous speed records, she began a career in commercial
aviation and helped promote women’s interests in air travel. In 1933 she
became the first woman to pilot an Auto giro, setting an altitude records
and also making a solo exhibition tour across the country.
Amelia Earhart became the first woman to complete a solo flight across
the Atlantic, flying from Newfoundland to Ireland. A participant in the
National Air Races during the 1930’s, she was the first woman to make
a non-stop transcontinental flight in 1932 and set several non-stop transcontinental
speed records. In 1935, she made the first solo flighty from Hawaii to
California. She also made a solo goodwill flight from Los Angeles to Mexico
City, and then on to Newark, New Jersey. In 1937, she planned a flight
around the world with a navigator. They flew across the United State,
the Atlantic, Africa, and southeast Asia before disappearing on a flight
to Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean.
Putnam was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame on December
17, 1968, for outstanding contributions to aviation by her dedicated promotion
of the interests of women in flying, setting of numerous records in the
air, and pioneering in transcontinental and transoceanic flights. Amelia
was born in Atchinson, Kansas, July 1897.
As a former
president of Beech Aircraft Corporation in Wichita, Frank E. Hedrick believed
that a person should do any jc)o assigned better than the job had ever
been done before. Tnat philosophy took him through the ranks of Beech,
where he started working in 1940 as an assistant coordinator, to the presidency
in 1968 were he oversaw the greatest growth of the company’s aircraft
Hedrick’s presidency, Beech Aircraft sales attained record highs for nine
consecutive years, reaching $907 million in 1981. Company employment increased
from 5,700 in 1971 to more than 10,000 in 1981. Hedrick oversaw the entry
of the company into the commuter aircraft market with the introduction
of the Beech 99 Airliner in 1968. Mr. Hedrick also led the development
of the Beech Aero Club which established flying clubs across the country
and offered an attractive package of flight instruction, aircraft, and
social activities to pilots and their families.
served on the Governor’s Task Force on Effective management in 1973, which
was charged with the task of changing the state’s management system. Changes
recommended by the Task Force resulted in the State of Kansas saving more
than ~10 million.
was a founder and lifetime member of the General Aviation Manufacturers
Association and served as a director and chairman of the board. He served
as past chairman of the Aviational Alliance of Businessmen, past director
of the National Aeronautic Association and the National Association of
manufacturers. As an honorary member of the National Aviation riall of
Fame, Mr. Hedrick served on the organization’s Board of Nominations and
in 1976 he was honored at the Reading Air Snow as “General Aviation Man
of the year by Ziff-Davis Publishing.
retirement in 1982, Mr. Hedrick was active as an officer and director
of Beech’s major subsidiaries and organizations. After his retirement,
he continued on the Beech and Raytheon Company boards of directors and
as president of the Beech Aircraft Foundation, a charitable organization.
Frank Hedrick died on June 4, 1987 in Wichita at the age of 76, but will
always be remembered for his achievements and accomplishments in the field
Cessna, whose 250-year American lineage stemmed from French and German
ancestry, was born in Hawthorne, Iowa, December 5, 1879. At the age of
two, he traveled the long overland journey with his parents to Kingman
County, Kansas, where they settled on a homestead along the Chicaska River.
boyhood his aptitudes revealed visionary creativity and mechanical talents
that found instant outlets in the dire necessities and rugged demands
of pioneer life. In this environment he became a self taught expert in
developing and improving farm machinery and farming methods for producing
food and for services that were non-existent. As the family increased
to nine, the challenges and opportunities presented themselves in an extended
world of the early automobile.
the owner of a first horseless carriage, he followed avidly the trends
in improvement and in this way became a mechanic salesman and in time
operated an automobile sales agency in Enid, Oklahoma.
be the Wright Brothers and early airplanes that really caught his imagination.
By now, having business experience, he was impressed by the lucrative
prospects for Exhibition Flying. In 1911, he had built his own monoplane
and through a series of attempts by trial and error, taught himself to
he moved his family to an acreage near his childhood home in Kingman County,
Kansas, and built a metal shop for his operations. During the cold Kansas
winters he built a new, improved airplane each year in preparation for
another season of contracted Exhibition Flying at county and state fairs
and public celebrations throughout the mid-West and south into Florida.
Over miles of country roads he often pulled his trusty monoplane on a
trailer between exhibitions.
he built four monoplanes at the Jones Six Plant in Wichita, Kansas, using
the planes for pilot training. In 1925 he became the initial president
and first major financier for the Travel Air Manufacturing Company for
production of aircraft. Two models, the “City of Oakland” and the “WOOLAROC,”
set Trans-Pacific records in 1927.
Air Company in 1927 he developed his favored cantilever wing monoplane
on his own later forming the Cessna Aircraft Company and becoming its
president and chief engineer in 1927.
of his Model “A” series monoplane began in 1927 and was followed by a
series of improved models, as well as a variety of racing planes and primary
gliders designed with the help of engineer son, Eldon. After the plant
was closed by the depression he and his son, Eldon, formed the Cessna
Aeroplane Company, a 50-50 partnership. Thereafter they built the CR-1
Racer which placed in three events of the 1932 National Air Races. Their
CR-3 Racer set an international speed record in 1933.
was re-elected president of Cessna Aircraft Company in 1934, the Model
C-34 was designed. It won the second and third year title of “The World’s
Most Efficient Airplane” for permanent possession of the trophy. Previously,
in 1931, Eldon Cessna had won this trophy at the first competition in
a Model AW Cessna. These three consecutive wins gave the Cessna Aircraft
Company the permanent possession of the trophy offered for this event
at the National Air Races in 1936.
In his later
years Clyde and his wife, Europa Dotzour Cessna, resided at the country
place near Rago, Kansas, where they lived after their marriage June 6,
1905. This became a center throughout his life for his farm-related businesses,
which underwrote much of his aviation enterprises and retirement
For his insight
and outstanding contributions to AVIATION, Clyde Vernon Cessna has achieved
the honor and respect of his fellow countrymen and others throughout the
world where today half of general aviation aircraft carry the name CESSNA.
Wallace began in 1934 to build Cessna Aircraft Company into the world’s
largest manufacturer of general aviation aircraft. With Wichita, Kansas,
as the center of its worldwide operations, Cessna became one of the Kansas’
largest employers, creating tens of thousands of jobs throughout the state
and the nation.
A first class
aeronautical engineer and one of the first graduates from Wichita State
University with a degree in aeronautical engineering, Wallace provided
leadership and expertise from the Cessna C-34 Airmaster, which he designed,
through the Cessna Citation III Program. During his aviation career he
has. been intimately involved with aviation safety, design engineering
and quality control of aviation products.
received many distinguished awards including the Wright Brothers memorial
Trophy in 1981. Throughout his lifetime, he continued to fly and build
aircraft. He and his wife, Velma, have been generous in their support
of educational, medical, charitable and civic organizations that benefit
present and future Kansans. Through his unwavering insistence on integrity,
hard work and respect for his fellow employees, colleagues and competitors,
Wallace set a standard for the entire aviation industry to follow.
At 91 years
of age, Concordia native Charles Blosser was the oldest certified pilot
in the United States. He purchased and learned to fly his first aircraft,
a Lincoln Standard with a WWI OXX6 engine, in 1923. The same year he was
issued his pilot’s license.
was a leader in the f ield of aviation by making planes more accessible,
more acceptable and more desirable to people. He promoted flying by doing
airshows in the 1920’s and ’30’s when people were anxious to see the sight
of a plane in flight. He worked for American Eagle Airplane Co. as a salesman
and helped in establishing dealerships across the U.S. His job also involved
participating in goodwill tours, visiting large cities to acquaint people
with flying and planes.
On May 24,
1930, Mr. BloSser and his wife, Isabell, dedicated Blosser Field, which
was located on a portion of a 160-acre farm he purchased just south of
Concordia. Blosser Field was shown on aerial government maps after that
time as an approved airport. Several years later, Blosser Field was combined
with a new city airport and became Blosser Municipal Airport.
Mr. Blosser was honored by the Concordia Chamber of Commerce and other
civic groups for his heroic services during the Republican River flood
in June of that year. During a Four-day period, Mr. Blosser flew over
flooded areas assisting floodstricken victims. He acted as a spotter for
rescue boats, dropped food to stranded individuals and acted as a shuttle
service by flying people back and forth across the flooded river. Twenty-eight
people were rescued during that time largely due to the spotting efforts
of Mr. Blosser. He also was instrumental in making Kansas a member of
the National Bureau of Reclamation and in working with the late Sen. Frank
Carlson and Federal Bureau Reclamation in getting flood control along
the Republican River.
was a true aviation pioneer; supported by his wife of 68 years, Charlie
promoted aviation in Kansas throughout his life.
pilot, combat flight instructor – they were all titles achieved by Ronald
E. Evans during a distinguished career in aviation that lasted over 30
years. Evans died April 7, 1990 of a heart attack at age 57.
was born in St. Francis, Kansas, graduated from Highland Park High School
in Topeka and received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering
from the University of Kansas in 1956. In June 1957, he completed flight
training after receiving his commission as Ensign through the Navy ROTC
program at the University of Kansas. He then received a Master of Science
degree in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School
honored by being one of 19 astronauts selected by The National Aeronautics
and Space Administration (NASA) in April 1966. He served as a member of
the astronaut support crews for the Apollo 7 and Apollo 11 flights and
as a backup command module pilot for Apollo 14. on the Apollo 17 missions
Evans served as the command module pilot.
was notified of his selection to the astronaut program, he was on sea
duty in the Pacific – assigned to the VF-51 fighter squadron and flying
an F-8 Vigilante jet fighter bomber aircraft from the carrier USS Ticonderoga
during a period of seven months in Vietnam combat operations.
He was a
combat flight instructor for F-8 Vigilante jet fighter bomber aircraft
with the VF-124 fighter squadron from January 1961 to June 1962 and prior
to this assignment participated in two Western Pacific Operation Area
(WESTPAC) aircraft carrier cruises while a pilot with VF-142 fighter squadron.
Evans accrued 4,041 hours of flight time during his military career.
presented the Mission Space Commander Superior Achievement Award in 1970
and was the winner of eight Air Medals, The Vietnam Service Medal and
The Navy Commendation Medal with combat distinguishing device.
Director of The Kansas Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, accepted the award for
Ronald E. Evans.
In the late
1950’s, William P. Lear, Sr. envisioned a small private jet airplane for
business travelers that would equal the performance of commercial jetliners.
He was impressed with the Swiss fighter known as the P-1 6 and set up
a team of engineers in Switzerland to design what later became the Learjet
– a generic name today associated with fast, reliable business jet transportation.
from Switzerland to Wichita in 1962 and the following year occupied a
new building at the Wichita Municipal Airport where he and his dedicated
team of engineers built the first prototype. It flew nine months to the
day he occupied the Wichita plant on October 7, 1963, and became the first
small jet to reach the market in volume production.
quickly established an international reputation and became a “best seller”
overnight. It set a number of high performance world records and was widely
accepted as the ultimate in business jet travel. Learjet ultimately brought
thousands of jobs and added international prestige to Kansas.
aviation felt the impact of William Powell Lear Sr., long before he became
a state resident in 1962. Lear started in aviation in 1919, servicing
U.S. mail planes. During ~4orld War II, every U. S. fighter, bomber and
transport carried some piece of Lear equipment. Since the 1930’s Lear
designed airborne communications and navigation systems have enhanced
the operating performance of civil and military aircraft worldwide, including
those produced in Wichita.
born in Hannibal, Missouri, June 26, 1902. The Lears have four children;
John, a jet pilot; Shanda, Mrs. Gian Carolo Bertelli of Lugano, Switzerland;
David, President of Lear Vision Eyewear; and Tina, wife of Harry Jackson,
the western sculptor. Lear died May 14, 1978, in Reno, Nevada but he lived
to see the Learjet become a world leader in business and utility aviation.
On July 22, 1978, Lear, holder of the Frank M. Hawks Memorial Award and
the Robert J. Collier Trophy, was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall
of Fame for his entrepreneurship in advancing aeronautical technology.
native, Julius Earl Schaefer was born in 1893. Known for his innovative
leadership skills and entrepreneurial abilities, he became an internationally
respected aviation executive.
West Point in 1914, Earl was a classmate of “Ike” Eisenhower. Five years
later he flew the first military airplane into Wichita. In 1927 became
sales manager of the new Stearman Aircraft Company and in 1931 he replaced
Lloyd Stearman as general manager.
Just as the
depression began to affect the aviation industry, Earl saved Stearman
with the promotion of a small fabric-covered bi-wing airplane known as
the Stearman Trainer, later the Boeing Kaydet. Subsequently, more than
10,000 Kaydets were manufactured in the Wichita production line and Schafer
earned his reputation as an aircraft pioneer.
In 1935 Earl
convinced the Fourth National Bank of Wichita to loan them sufficient
funds to meet payroll, thus saving the company, now Boeing Commercial
Airplane Group, from financial disaster. In the late 1930s he became general
manager of the Wichita Airplane Company that has become the number one
aerospace company in the world. Under Earl’s guidance Boeing constructed
more than 1,165 B-29s during World War II, and later led the company into
the “jet Age” with the development of the B-47 and B-52 bombers.
in the promotion of the Army Air Corp Bill in 1957, Earl lobbied Congress
to implement the bill that led to the Formation of the United States Air
November 15, 1991
was born March 12, 1907 in Coming, Iowa. While a student at Princeton
University, he purchased a surplus World War I Jenny. In only four hours
and twenty minutes he was soloing. From that start he was barnstorming
his way around the country offering $1.00 rides in his OX-5 Travel Air
at county fairs. After winning the 1929 Transcontinental National Air
Races, he served as test pilot and chief engineer for the Travel Air Company
in St. Louis, Missouri.
that the top wing obstructed a pilot’s view during turns, Ted designed
a bi-winged airplane that would-overcome this disadvantage by displacing
the top wing a few inches. With the production of Ted’s “Staggerwing”
airplane, came the Beech Aircraft Company of Wichita, Kansas, started
by Walter Beech in 1932. –
engineering were Ted’s forte. Credited to his talent is the famous Beech
model 18,, also known as the Model C-45, used by the United States government
as a navigation training and transport aircraft, and the Beech Bonanza
V-tail airplane. Ted Wells’ designs and engineering were the foundation
for quality aircraft from the 1930’s through the 1950’s.
26, 1898, Lloyd Stearman was born in Wellsville, Kansas. As a college
student he attended Kansas State College in Manhattan, Kansas and studied
engineering and architecture. Upon enlisting in the U.S. Navy Reserve
in San Diego, California, Stearman learned to fly Curtis N-9 seaplanes.
mid-1920’s Matty Laird, designer of the Laird Swallow airplane, hired
Lloyd as a mechanic, giving him his first exposure to airplane manufacturing.
In 1925, Lloyd and Walter Beech teamed up with Clyde Cessna to form the
Travel Air manufacturing Company, where he remained until 1927, when he
left to form his own manufacturing company. It was there that he built
the Stearman C-2B and C-3B, and designed other bi-winged models for mail
and cargo delivery, observation and training.
In the early
1930’s, Lloyd became president of Lockheed Aircraft Company and designed
agricultural aircraft. In 1948 more than 4,345 Stearman aircraft were
used in agricultural flying.
of his contributions to the aircraft industry, Lloyd Stearman was inducted
into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio in July of 1989.
as the commander of the space ship Discovery, General Engle was born and
reared in Chapman, Kansas. He earned a degree in Aeronautical Engineering
from the University of Kansas, where he received his Air Force ROTC commission.
He then entered the Air Force and won his astronaut wings on three flights
for exceeding 50-mile altitudes.
1966, the general was one of 19 astronauts selected for NASA space missions.
He was back-up Lunar Module pilot for the Apollo 14 mission and then commanded
one of the two crews that flew the initial space shuttle Enterprise flight
tests. He test flew the space shuttle Columbia and was commander of the
Discovery, acknowledged as the most successful space shuttle to that time.
has flown more than 170 types of aircraft, including 34 different fighter
and attack aircraft. He has logged more than 13,000 flight hours, 9,500
in jets and 224 in space. His honors include many military and civilian
medals and awards. He was recently inducted into the “Walk of Honor” at
Edwards AFB as one of the “best of the best” test pilots.
from the military, he serves as an engineering consultant and simulation
evaluation pilot for the X-30 National Aerospace Plane. He is an avid
outdoor sportsman and wildlife conservationist, serving as consultant/
spokesman for the Sports Optics Division of Bausch and Lomb and the BEAR
Archery Company. He and his wife, Mary Catherine, have two children, Laurie
Max E. Bleck,
a native of Buffalo, New York earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical
engineering with an aeronautical option from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
and has done graduate work at the University of Buffalo. Throughout his
career, he has served the general aviation industry as engineer and leader,
particularly in Wichita, the “Air Capital of the world.”
began his career at Stanley Aviation in Denver, Colorado in 1951. He has
served as president and chief executive officer of Piper Aircraft, president
of Cessna Aircraft Company and president and chief executive officer at
Beech Aircraft Corporation. He is now president of Beech’s parent company,
the Raytheon Company of Lexington, Massachusetts. He has served as chairman
of the board of directors for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association
and has always been active in civic affairs, lending leadership and inspiration
whenever called upon.
was born and raised in Massachusetts, but has lived the past 50 years
in Wichita, retiring as a successful businessman. He has both Free Balloon
and Blimp pilots licenses signed oy Orville Wrignt and a degree in engineering.
He is an honorary life member of the Lighter-Than-Air Society and a past
lecturer for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
aviation career got off to a good start in 1930 working for the Goodyear
Zeppelin Corporation. He is the only American to have made 22 transatlantic
crossings in the passenger airships Hindenburg and Graf Zeppelin. He missed
only two flights of the Hindenburg – the “propaganda” flight ordered by
Hitler and its final flight.
a book entitled “The Golden Age of the Great Passenger Airships.” Because
the German writings on the subject were selective propaganda for the Nazi
state, this book constitutes the essential data on this phase of aviation
Citizen, Hal has served on the Wichita School Board, as mayor of the City
of Eastborough and has been active in the Boy Scouts Executive Council
and Rotary Club.
of Davenport, Iowa, Meyer graduated from Yale University with a BA in
1953 and received his Doctor of Law degree from Harvard Law School in
1961. He served with the US Air Force as a jet fighter pilot and also
with the US Marine Corps Reserve. He began his career as a trial lawyer
specializing in aviation for the law firm of Arter & Hadden in Cleveland.
Cessna as Executive Vice President in 1974 and was named Chairman and
CEO in 1975. Meyer is a commercial, instrument rated pilot with more than
13,000 hours of flight time including type ratings in all models of Cessna
Citation business jets.
tirelessly to gain passage of The General Aviation Revitalization Act
of 1994, writing letters, visiting members of the Congress and the United
States Senate, and contacting thousands of their constituents. He was
elected to an unprecedented third term as Chairman of GAMA (General Aviation
Manufacturers Association) to lead the charge and, as the only representative
of the business aviation community to serve on President Clinton’s Airline
public and emphatic commitment to re-enter the light aircraft market provided
a tangible and important foundation for the industry’s assertion that
a Statue of Repose would result in increased employment. Cessna is moving
forward aggressively, with plans for production of piston singles beginning
late this year.
by his wife and friends, Albin was born and buried near Leonardville,
Kansas. He was the first Kansan to successfully fly a plane in Kansas
built in Kansas. This feat took place on the west side of Berryton Road,
southeast Shawnee County on September 2, 1911.
a tractor airplane and in July of 1913 he took it to McCook, Nebraska
in his special Mitchell truck where it was assembled and became the first
airplane to fly over that city. Longren’s flying field for his rolled
plywood fuselage airplane was southeast of Pauline at the very spot where
the Kansas Air National Guard flys today.
In an old
wooden mill in Oakland, he designed, engineered and built his hard vulcanized
fiber molded fuselage bi-plane. The wings folded back so it could be towed
home and housed in a Model T Ford garage. With a three cylinder, 60 horsepower
radial Lawrence engine, it won contests and set records.
be remembered as one who “learned to dream and dare”, the words from a
poem in his scrapbook. The news media called his new Longren airplane
“the flyer of the air”, it was light weight, simple, strong, dependable,
practical, easy to repair and maintain,, had great performance, low priced
and a special beauty all its own.
the Henry Ford of the air when it came to design, engineering and quality
born in Ottawa, Kansas but, considers Salina, Kansas his hometown. He
graduated from Salina Central High School, received his Bachelor of Arts
degree in both physics and astronomy (graduating with highest distinction)
from the University of Kansas and a doctor of philosophy in astronomy
and astrophysics from the University of California.
spent three summers employed as a research assistant at the U.S. Naval
observatory in Washington, D.C. and at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory
in Green Bank, West Virginia. He attended graduate school at Lick Observatory,
University of California, Santa Cruz. The results of his research have
been published in major astronomical journals.
was selected as a NASA astronaut in January of 1978. Prior to STS-1 ,
he served as a simulator pilot for software checkout at the Shuttle Avionics
Integration Laboratory. For STS-2, 3 and 4, Hawley was a member of the
astronaut support crew at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
most recent space flight was STS-31, which launched on April 24, 1990.
During the 5-day mission, crewmembers deployed the Hubble Space Telescope
and conducted a variety of middeck experiments involving the study of
protein crystal growth, polymer membrane processing and the effects of
weightlessness and magnetic fields on ion arc. They also operated a variety
of cameras including both the IMAX in-cabin and cargo bay cameras for
earth observations from their record setting altitude of 380 miles. Following
76 orbits of the earth in 121 hours, Discovery landed at Edwards AFB,
California on April 29, 1990.
was born on a farm in Winnsboro, Louisiana. His father died when he was
10 years old, leaving his mother to raise him, along with his brother
and sister, on a 40-acre f arm. All three of them graduated from Winnsboro
High School. He married Julia Bryan, who passed away in June 1992 following
a lengthy illness. Their -children are Scott, who is employed by ‘The
Boeing Company, and Lionel Jr., who is a Lt. Colonel and test pilot in
the Air Force. Lionel married Jane Wilson in 1996.
high school graduation in 1943, Mr. Alford began his long career related
to aircraft and aerospace systems by joining the Army Air Corp as a pilot
cadet. He received his pilot wings in August 1944 and went overseas as
a B-17 pilot. After the war, he remained in Occupied Germany, flying missions
photographing Germany, France, and North Africa, and was released from
active duty in 1946. During the Korean war, his reserve unit was called
to active duty to fly the B-29 at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. He was selected
to upgrade to Jet Fighters, training in the Lockheed F-80, at Nelis AFB,
Nevada, where he received Combat Crew training. He was then sent to Korea,
where ne flew one-nundred combat missions. In 1952 the Air Force awarded
Lionel the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal, with three oak
leaf clusters. He then returned to the United States as an instructor
pilot to serve two years at McConnell AFB in Wichita. Lionel requested
release from the Air Force in 1954.
World War II and Korean War tours of duty, Mr. Alford enrolled at Louisiana
Polytechnic Institute, and graduated in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science
Degree in Mechanical Engineering. In 1965, Boeing selected Lionel at attend
Stanford University on a Sloan Fellowship in Business Administration,
and in 1985, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree by the
University at Alabama at Huntsville.
he joined the Boeing Company as a rest Pilot, responsible for all test
activities on the BOMARC test vehicle. In 1959, he became base manager
for the Boeing Atlantic Test Center. Later he was named base manager of
the Boeing Gulf ‘rest Section, Eglin AFB, Florida.
he became project test engineer for the Minuteman ICBM program, directing
test activities in Florida, Seattle, and at Vandenberg AFB, California.
In 1962 he became base manager at Boeing Pacific Test Center. In 1963,
he became project engineer of the Boeing Saturn V moon rocket program
at Huntsville, Alabama. In 1966 Mr. Alford was appointed Saturn program
manager at Kennedy Space Center. He was then named manager of Boeing Huntsville
in 1967. In 1968, he was Minuteman program manager, and in 1973, he became
Ballistic missile Division manager. In 1977, he came to Wichita, Kansas
as president of the newly designated Boeing Wichita Company. An article
in Fortune Magazine stated that “when Lionel D. Alford … agreed to become
president of Boeing Company’s anguished Wichita Division three years ago
(1977), his colleagues thought the f former test pilot had accepted a
suicide mission.” Alford Drought the division from near oblivion to a
$2 billion operation within six years, as employment more than quadrupled.
Today, largely as a result of Alford’s initiatives, a major portion of
almost every Boeing commercial airplane (including threefourths of the
737) is build in Wichita, and the Wichita Division is responsible for
five percent of the total earnings of the state of Kansas. Without his
leadership and vision, the more than 20,000 employees at Boeing and more
than 1,000 Kansas suppliers might be calling another state their home.
In 1984, Alford became a senior vice president of The Boeing Company,
with responsibility for three operating divisions.
Associate Fellow in the AIAA, retired from Boeing in 1989. Since then
he has received the President’s medal from Wichita State University, and
the President’s award from Louisiana Technical University. He was recognized
with the 1982 Association of Christian and Jews award, he received the
Kansas Engineering Society Outstanding Citizenship award in 1990, and
he was named the Uncommon Citizen of Wichita in 1992 by the Chamber. He
has been director of the largest bank holding company in Kansas, the Fourth
Financial Corporation, from 19781995 and director of the Saint Francis
Regional Medical Center from 1979-1994. In 1984, he became the Founder
and President of the Kansas Food Bank Warehouse, which feeds the unfortunate
in 53 counties in Kansas, and was chairman of the WI/SE group, responsible
for economic development in Sedgwick County. Today, he is a director of
the Minority Business Council, a director of the Wichita Institute for
the Blind, and a director of Preferred Health Systems, an HMO in Wichita.
in 1983, Mr. Alford stepped forward to provide special leadership and
assistance during the times when WSU was seeking new authorization from
the Kansas Board of Regents to establish Ph.D. programs in Engineering
and the Sciences.
level industrial articulation of the needs for these programs in Wichita,
and his strong reluctance to accept a negative response, WSU wouldn’t
have been successful in it quest. The success of these programs today
is a tribute to his leadership and vision.
has had a unique and distinguished engineering career calling for executive
level leadership, in addition, he has made significant contributions to
the community and to the University. His contributions to progress and
to excellence make him an outstanding role model for students and practicing
“Matty” Laird’s four years in Wichita made a great and lasting impact.
It spawned more than two-dozen aircraft manufacturing companies in the
1920’s and 30’s in Wichita of which three remain. The following paragraphs
reflect only a portion of the many accomplishments of this esteemed aviator.
As a 14-year-old, this Chicago, Illinois lad saw his first airplane fly
in an exhibition in 1910, an experience that endowed him with a future
in aviation, part of which would have a lasting and profound effect on
By the age
of 15, Matty Laird had taught himself to fly in the first of a series
of self designed and built airplanes. By 20, the up-and-coming Laird had
gained considerable notice in his aerial. Exhibition flights as well as
for his prowess in airplane design and construction. Like most early-day
aviators in America, Matty flew his planes on exhibition barnstorming
tours, his experiences providing him with ways to improve his creations.
Financing of each new design was gained simply by selling his previous
effort, one such “customer” being a fellow barnstormer, William Burke.
In late 1919,
after being persuaded to move to Wichita by oilman Jacob M. “Jake” Moellendick
to manage Jake’s Wichita Airplane Company, Burke traveled to Chicago to
make Matty an offer he could hardly refuse. Burke had owned one of Matty’s
creations and was aware that he was at work on a new and viable design.
Burke’s offer to Matty had the desired effect. it resulted in Matty, his
brother, Charles and an associate in Matty’s business, packing up their
belongings, equipment, drawings and whatever else comprised the E. M.
Laird Company and moving the whole operation to Wichita. April 8, 1920,
an important milestone in the history of Aatty Laird and, more importantly,
the City of Wichita occurred with the maiden flight of Matty’s new design.
The plane was sleek in comparison to its war-weary counterparts. Its performance
on that initial flight was so impressive; that one witness, William Lassen,
of the Hotel family, remarked that the plane “flew like a swallow.” From
then on the Wichita- produced Laird planes were known as Swallows.
In his four
years in Wichita, about 43 Laird Swallows were produced. By 1923, Matty
yearned to once again ‘go it on his own.’ In October of that year with
$1500 cash and two Laird Swallows, he returned to Chicago where he operated
the E. M. Laird Airplane Company, producing a series of workhorse biplanes
known as Laird Commercials. Matty also earned great fame for a series
of custom-built racing planes he designed and produced. Laird reacers
included the Soluton and Super Solution, the latter winning the first
Bendix Air Race in addition to setting a transcontinental speed record
in 1930. His Laird-Turner Racer won the 1938 and 1939 Thompson Trophy
Races flown by famed racer Roscoe Turner.