enthusiast and active pilot for over 26 years, Marilyn Copeland has volunteered
her efforts wholeheartedly for advancement of flying, aviation safety
and aerospace education. Early efforts to establish aerospace education
in the public schools of Kansas were successful as well as activities
to promote aviation education throughout the state, nation and world.
she is serving her 1Oth year on the Board of Trustees of the Wichita Aeronautical
Historical Association, having served as President for two years as well
as Wright Brothers Celebration co-founder and dinner chairman for several
years. Efforts to promote the Kansas Aviation and Space Museum have been
never ceasing, including active participation in the City-County Task
Force Feasibility Study.
She is a
member of the Board of Nominations for the National Aviation Hall of Fame
in Dayton, Ohio, International Convention Chairman of the 99s for 1988,
and Vice President of the Auxiliary to the American Dental Association.
She has served on the Boards of the World Aerospace Education organization;
World Aviation Education Congress in New Delhi, India; Augusta
Airport Advisory Board; Board of trustees of the Amelia Earhart Birthplace
Restoration in Atchison, Kansas; and international President of the 99s,
women pilots organization for two years. Honors include the prestigious
Jimmie Kolp Award, Who’s Who in Aviation and Aerospace, 1983; and Personalities
in America, 1985.
her husband, Dr. John Copeland chose Wichita as their home due to their
interest in aviation. He has encouraged her to participate in aviation
activities including twelve Trans-continental air races as well as co-owners
of the Copeland Airport. Volunteer efforts have included; charitable flying
career seminars, safety seminars, flying for aviation organizations, International
99s Convention in Wichita in 1971 and tria 14 National Flying Dentists
Meeting. Their daughter, Dr. Jo Laiae Aansen, is a student pilot and son,
David, a commercial pilot.
Dickerhoof was born in Norway, KS on January 3, 1398. In the early 1920’s
he bought and restored a Canuck in which he taught himself to fly by lifting
off and landing repeatedly until he felt confident enough to circle the
field in Chanute. Later that same day he carried his first passenger,
In the next
few years Dickerhoof barnstormed, flew passengers, bought, sold and repaired
airplanes and helped convince Chanute City Officials that aviation was
here to stay. In 1932, he was appointed Airport Manager by the City and
began to devote all of his time to aviation. The condition of the airport
and the facilities there continued to improve and services grew. A large
hangar was built (which is still in use today), the runway was paved,
flight instruction and charter service was offered.
in conjunction with the Chanute Junior College, Dickerhoof started a course
to promote civilian flying. The first class and 10 primary students. Soon
a secondary program was added. These courses continued to grow in number
and importance as World War II became a reality. Under a contract with
the Government, the Civilain Pilot Training Program (CPT) trained pilots
and instructors who in turn trained more pilots needed by the Military.
Dickerhoof built a second large hangar to nouse his growing fleet of training
aircraft and at one time had 24 Waco UPF-7’s in use. By the end of the
program in 1945, the CPT school was the largest secondary instructor’s
school in the United States, having graduated several thousand pilots.
war, Dickerhoof continued as Airport Manager and Fixed Base Operator until
selling his business to a former student and instructor.
typifies the early aviation pioneer who was foresighted and instrumental
in developing aviation in Kansas.
a native of Duluth, 1414, developed an interest in aviation at the age
of 11 when his family moved to 4hittier, CA. His first airplane ride occurred
on May 29, 1927, one week after Charles Lindbergh’s historic landing in
his pilot’s license in 1932, Mr. LeVier toured the country as a stunt
pilot barnstormer and instructor. In 1939, he joined Douglas Aircraft
as a mechanic on the B-19 project, became a co-pilot for Mid-Continent
AirLine in 1940 and later that same year signed on with General Motors
as a test pilot. This position brought LeVier to Wichita in the summer
of 1940 to fly the Cessna C-165 Airmaster equipped with a General Motors
LeVier hired on with Lockheed to ferry RAF Hudson Doinbers to Montreal.
As a Lockheed test pilot he became the first person in the world to fly
1,000 mph in a jet. He piloted the famed U-2 through its initial series
test flights; was the first pilot to fly the XP-80A; T-33A; T-33B; F-90;
T2V-1; F-80R; and the Saturn, an experimental propeller-driven transport.
He was also co-pilot on the first flight of the Constitution.
over 10,000 hours of flight experience to his credit; won the Pacific
International Air Race and the Greve Trophy in the Cleveland National
Air Races in 1938; took second place in the Thompson Trophy Race in 1939
and 1946; and piloting the P-38, won the Sohio Race in 1947.
LeVier was named Director of Flight Operations at Lockheed-California,
a position he held until his retirement in 1974. He remains a consultant
to the company on flight safety.
to flight safety, LeVier founded Safe Action in Flight Emergency, Inc.,
in 1984, a non-profit organization that encourages emergency maneuvering
flight training for civilian pilots.
his wife, Neva Jean, live in LaCanada, CA. Their two daughters, Toniann
and Marilyn are both pilots.
L. Aikins took a few flying lessons in 1962 to become familiar with the
aircraft when she flew with her husband, she became hooked on flying.
Over the next few years she earned her private pilot license, obtained
the instrument and multiengine ratings and her flight instructor certificate.
She was one of the first women in Kansas to earn the Airline Transport
In 1964 and
1966, Ms. Aikins was awarded first place honors in the Antique Airplane
Association’s aerobatic competition after accelerating her aviation career
in aerobatic flying. Another aerobatic award was received by Ms. Aikins
in 1966 from the Experimental Aircraft Association’s First Annual Precision
Aerobatic Competition. During that same year she also won the 4omen’s
National Aerobatic Championship competition in Reno, Nevada.
was also awarded first place in the 1964 and 1965 Powder Puff Derby and
second place in the Doll Derby in Dallas, Texas. Mary is active in the
Ninety-Niners, a women’s international flying organization and has held
several offices in the Kansas Chapter of that organization.
In 1971 Mary
was appointed by the Federal Aviation Administration as a designated Pilot
Examiner and has administered flight check rides to over 2,200 applicants
since that time.
25 year aviation career, Ms. Aikins has flown over 7,000 hours in the
air, given over 2,500 hours of flight instruction, ferried aircraft to
foreign countries, managed a fixed base operation at a small airport and
reared three children in the process. Recently, Mary Aikins was asked
by the red Turner t3roadcasting Company to fly with their film crew in
a production film promoting Kansas aviation industries which will be aired
nationwide this winter.
currently serves as Director of Flight Operations for Yingling Aircraft,
Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita and has paved the way for aspiring young
men and women who want to succeed in their aviation careers.
name usually brings up the subject of Cessna Airplanes, I am glad to share
with you the connection as it relates to me historically; especially because
of the fact that my father, Clyde V. Cessna, was a charter member of EARLY
BIRDS OF AVIATION.
participation in the aviation and aerospace industries started at the
age of 4 when my father assembled his own airplane in late 1910, and taught
himself to fly on the Great Salt Plains of Oklahoma.
He had visited
with the International Flyers of Oklahoma City, and hearing that they
had received $10,000 for a three minute exhibition flight, decided this
would be more profitable than being general manager of the Enid Overland
trials and mishaps, using his native ingenuity he mastered the art of
flying and flew exhibitions throughout Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas during
summer months from 1911 to 1917. He built a new Exhibition Plane each
winter in our Farm Workshop in Rago, Kansas, for use during the following
It was in
November 1916, as Exhibition Flying came to an end, that incentives attracted
Dad to set up a shop in Wichita at the Jones Six Automobile Factory. Several
new airplanes were constructed for student training in 1917.
1917 pilot training venture in Wichita was a financial failure, we returned
to farming and custom- threshing wheat in western Kansas. At 10 years
of age, I drove a 37,000 pound Rumely Air-Pull tractor for both farming
and custom-threshing operations. My mother did the cooking for our 12-man
wheat-pitching crew and our family in a portable 11cook shack. ” We found
custom- threshing to be very profitable until the combines replaced the
threshing machines in the nid1920s.
the Omaha Air Races in 1921; the St. Louis Races in October 1923; and
we flew our new OXX6-powered “New Laird-Swallow” to Dayton Air Races in
1924. On the return flight to Wichita we entered the “On-to-Wichita” Air
Race winning second-place prize money. This was my first racing experience.
30, 1924, my father and I drove the 45 miles to Wichita from our country
home to meet with Lloyd Stearman and Walter Beech to make plans for a
new air manufacturing company, later named Travel Air Manufacturing Company.
After serving as president and principal financier of Travel Air for the
first two years, he sold his stock and we organized the C41A-06
Cessna Aircraft Company-a Kansas Corporation, in 1927.
my Mechanical Engineering College courses, I became chief engineer of
Cessna Aircraft Company, doing the basic design work for 20 models of
Cessna Aircraft including the CW-6, DC-6A, DC6-B, CPW-6, FC-1,
GC-2, CS-1, MW1, ED-1, ED-2, CR-1, C’R-2, CR-3 and the C-34 Airmaster
in 1934 and also test flew.
long depression years of 1930 and 1934, the Cessna Aircraft Company was
closed down to conserve resources during which time my father and I rented
a factory building from the administrators of a bankrupt aircraft company
in Wichita, where I designed, built and flew racing aircraft CR1, CR-2,
CR-3 and the C-3. I also did charter flying, Barnstorming, and participated
in the National Air Races cross-country and closed-course-and in scores
of smaller race events throughout the nation. In my personal airplane,
as an individual entrant, I won the “Speed and Efficiency” Race at the
National Air Races of Cleveland in 1931, making the title of “The World’s
Most Efficient Airplane” possible for the Cessna Aircraft Company which
was not operating at that date.
1931 I won third place against 67 entrants in the Darbys from Clover Field,
Santa Monica, CA, and from New )(ork City to Cleveland. The eastern and
western divisions met at Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and raced together from
Bartlesville to Cleveland.
1930, 1 won the closed-course free-for-all race at Sky Harbor Airport
I entered the Cord Cup Race from Los Angeles Mines Field to Cleveland,
winning second place against a field of 36 entrants.
I retired (after 31 years of continuous employment) from North American
Aviation, Inc., as supervisor of planning for AT-6, P-511 F-86, X-15,
B-70; the first post WWII U. S. Rocket Engines and the first Apollo Moon
3-year terms as governor of the OX5 Aviation Pioneers Southern
California Wing, I served as treasurer three years, secretary one year,
and president one year.
recognition’s of which I am proud are:
Test Pilot Association presentation by 3ob Hope in Los Angeles in 1966.
for outstanding contributions to Aeronautical Science prior to
World War II.
Aircraft Association “Greats of Aviation Day” – 1975.
Aircraft Association, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, “Golden Age of Air Racing”
Pioneers Hall of Fame, San Francisco 1982.
induction plaques in the name of my father, Clyde V. Cessna, from the
National Hall of Fame at Dayton in 1975; and from the International Hall
of Fame at San Diego in 1983.
while serving a three-year term on the EAA Air I’lluseum Foundation Board
of – Trustees at Hales Corners, I served as national chairman of the fund-raising
served 5 years as Early Bird vice president and membership chairman. He
currently is acting president of Early Birds of Aviation, Inc. and is
serving a third year as National Governor of OX5 Aviation Pioneers Inc.
Eldon has also been active in OX5 Aviation Pioneers Southern California
Wing, Inc. He is a Candidate Nominator and Selector for International
Aerospace Hall of Fame.
was born May 5, 1907. He and his wife, Helen, currently reside in El Segundo,
Lear’s honors range from honorary law degrees from Pepperdine and Clemson
Universities to an appearance on “60 minutes,” from the SIR Award by the
Nevada Chapter of Contractors to the Kathryn Wright Award honoring her
as an outstanding woman in the field of aviation.
was the wife and confidant of inventor and aircraft designer, William
Powell Lear, Sr. She shared in his discouragements as well as his spectacular
triumphs with the Learjet Co. in Wichita. They were deeply dedicated to
served on several prestigious boards including: President Reagan’s International
Private Enterprise Task Force; the National Technological Assessment Board;
the Board of Directors of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University of Nevada.
When her husband died, Moya Lear assumed leadership of the Reno based
company to complete his unfinished project, the Lear Fan. Neither an engineer
nor a businesswoman, Moya Lear said she learned from her husband “by osmosis.”
At the plant she simply carried on to the best of her ability, surrounding
herself with loyal dedicated employees.
has always been an enthusiastic aviation advocate as well as a caring
person in her community.
was born on October 13, 1926, in Salina, Kansas. He completed ground school
and flight training at Bertrain Flying School in Greensburg and received
his private pilot’s license in 1947. He passed his commercial pilot training
at. Tulsa’s Ross Aviation in 1961. Seven months later he earned his instructor
pilot rating. He worked part time for Simpson and Whitney Spray Co., in
Liberal as a spray pilot beginning in 1962. In 1965 he purchased a new
Cherokee for charter and student work.
In 1969 The
Helton Flying Service was born and grew to a 3-plane operation by 1975
when Helton purchased a Cherokee Six for charter work and a Cherokee 140-for
student work. Helton donates time in-the Cherokee Six for medical emergencies.
also rated as a glider pilot and multi-engine instructor; he is CFI instrument
a class titled “The Theory of Flight” at the Seward County Community College
and at his home for seven years.
to update the Satanta Airport from a grass strip to a hard surface, personally
installing the lighting and rotating beacon. Bill Helton has 8,165 instructor
hours and 11,363 total hours.
Susan, was one of his students. She received her license in 1970 and is
now working as an air traffic manager of the Miami, Florida center. Bill
and wife, Ima June have three other children, Kathy, Pam and Billie.
Rowley was born in Bristol, New York in 1911. At the age of 18 he obtained
his pilot’s license, after his solo flight in a Curtiss oriole.
his early days as a weather observation pilot and graduate meteorologist
for the Signal Corps, Elton left the service in 1934 to earn his mechanic’s
license and become a FBO (Fixed Base Operator). From 1937 to 1940 he served
as a project manager for the Curtiss Airplane Co. in Buffalo, New York,
and in 1943 he was appointed chief of the flight test department at the
Wichita-m-based Boeing Company. In this capacity Elton was instrumental
in the development of the B-29 and its subsequent modification to accommodate
the atomic bomb. While at Boeing, he was also chief of flight testing
for the B-47 Stratojet, the United States first jet bomber.
noteworthy contribution to aviation was his involvement in the development
of the nose-to-tail method of air refueling, which is still used by the
United States Air Force and the Kansas Air National Guard 190th Air Refueling
Group, Forbes Field, Topeka, Kansas.
(Pete) Reynolds, chief of engineering flight testing for Learjet, Inc.
ranks among general aviation’s top test pilots with more than 8,900 hours
of flying time, including 8,300 hours in jet aircraft. He is the only
professional general aviation pilot to be a finalist in NASA’s space shuttle
astronaut selection and holds a number of aviation ratings.
earned a B.S. in engineering sciences at Purdue University in 1966 and
an M.S. in mechanical engineering at the University of Colorado in 1968.
He served with the U.S. Air Force from 1968 to 1973 and received the Distinguished
Flying Cross and other prestigious medals for his service in combat.
he and former Apollo astronaut Neil Armstrong piloted a Learjet Model
28 to establish five world time-to-climb speed records for business jets.
Mr. Reynolds has overseen a number of test and certification programs,
including those for the Learjet Models 24 and 25, the first aircraft certified
by the FAA to fly at 51,000 feet altitude and the model 28/29, the first
business jets to fly in winglets, which today are widely used on both
commercial and general aviation aircraft.
of Colwich, Kansas, he is married and has two children.
Carpenter of Topeka served as a U.S. Navy pilot in the South Pacific during
World War 11, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross and other awards.
Since 1959, Carpenter has been the advisor and director for the Topeka
Boy Scout Aviation Explorer program. He also promotes the Aviation Explorer
program on a national level. Over the years, Carpenter has touched the
lives of over 1,000 young people, helping them to become familiar with
aviation. As a result, many have become licensed pilots and are pursuing
careers in the field.
the Topeka Aviation Explorer Post celebrated the United States Bicentennial
by flying 9,242 miles around the borders of the country, over-flying 34
states and landing in Philadelphia on July 4th. The flight was flown by
teenage Explorer pilots and financed wholly by contributions. Carpenter
is also a volunteer with the Combat Air Museum in Topeka and conducts
educational tours of the museum.
who joined Cessna in 1957, has made major contributions as an aeronautical
engineer, educator, public servant and an innovative researcher. As a
practicing aeronautical engineer he has worked as a designer for Cessna
and Boeing. His recent consulting activities include configuration and
flight control design for Learjet, Beech, Cessna, Bell Helicopter, SIAI-Marchetti
As an engineering
educator he has trained hundreds of undergraduates, supervised sixty Masters
and twenty-four Doctoral theses and authored twenty design focused textbooks.
Tnese textbooks are used at over twenty universities, as well as a reference
by engineers throughout the world.
has had a major impact on more than two generations of engineers. Roskam’s
design graduates are actively recruited by industry and are currently
working in advanced configuration design groups at Lockheed, General Dynamics,
Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas.
has served the country by participating on NASA’s Aeronautic Advisor Committee
that reviews all NASA aeronautics research and two national research council
Blanton Sr., began his aviation career in 1942 in the U.S. Navy Air Force.
Too young for Officer Pilot, he flew co-pilot as an enlisted Seaman for
He is Founder,
President and Chief Engineer of Javelin Aircraft Company of Wichita, which
has just entered its 40th year as the worlds leading manufacturer of special
aircraft fuel systems. He is presently a Wing Governor of the Kansas OX-5
Club of American as he has been many previous years and is a past president
of the Wing. David was a regular passenger in 1936 at age 5 after his
father purchased a small airplane. When he was 11 he was building free
flight model airplanes by the score, many of his own creation. His sole
ambition was to be an aeronautical engineer.
of this year, Blanton was inducted into the OX-5 Aviation Pioneers Hall
of Fame being honored for his decades as a pilot, flight examiner for
airplanes and sailplanes, his work manufacturing auxiliary fuel tanks,
pioneering auto pilot for small planes and automobile engine conversions
for homebuilt aircraft.
U. L. “Rip”
Gooch serves as a Senator for the 29th District in Wichita. While attending
Tennessee A & I University in Nashville, he enrolled in a local flying
school’s aviation course, completed the program and embarked upon what
has thus far been a 48-year career in aviation. He has numerous pilot
ratings and certificates and is an FAA designated pilot examiner.
on the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Aviation Advisory Committee,,
has been a member of the Aviation Museum Task Force, Wichita Airport Authority,
Negro Airmen International, Tuskegee Airmen and Black Army Aviators.
He has given
youth, particularly African-American youth, an opportunity to explore
aviation up-close and personal. He operates a scholarship fund in memory
of his son, Kerry Gooch. For two weeks every summer, he takes selected
youth off the streets and gives them the opportunity to travel to Tuskegee,
Alabama. There they participate in an aviation program that includes a
solo performance at the controls of a Cessna aircraft.
pride and motivation is what Rip Gooch does. He takes great strides to
insure our youth understand and play a viable role in the future of aviation.
Max Ary once
dreamed of a facility in which the history and future of space exploration
would be available to the people of the Midwest, and that with such a
facility he could share his fascination and love for the grand adventure
of space exploration.
Mr. Ary began
his professional career in 1968 as a student assistant at the Hutchinson
Planetarium. While there, he developed his lifelong interest in the areas
of astronomy and the space sciences. Following graduation from college,
he was selected as the Director of the Noble Planetarium becoming, at
age 21, the youngest person to direct one of the nation’s primary planetarium
Mr Ary returned to Kansas for the purpose of developing the first comprehensive
space museum to be built in the central United States – the Kansas Cosmosphere
& Space Center. The facility houses one of the largest collections
of American space artifacts in existence, and maintains the only permanent
space artifact restoration center in the world.
Mr. Ary has
been recognized as one of America’s leading experts in the history of
manned spaceflight, one of the foremost authorities in space artifact
research, preservation, restoration, and public education development,
and has become a nationally known speaker on America’s space program.
He has acted as a consultant to NASA and the Smithsonian Institution,
as an educational consultant to foreign governments and as a technical
consultant to numerous television and movie producers. He has also played
a major role in the design and development of eight additional space museums
throughout Europe, Asia and North America.
many awards, Mr. Ary has received the Sullivan Medal for Outstanding Science
Education. The Triebech Trophy for exhibit design, the National Engineering
Achievement Award. He has served on the Board of Directors of various
organizations and currently serves as President of the International Space
Boyd has made numerous facets of aviation his life’s work. Born and reared
in New Jersey, he is a veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam. He served 28
years with the USAF as a Management Engineer and Jet Fighter Radar Intercept
Officer, retiring in 1971 as a Major.
USAF retirement, he worked in the Wichita community in various management
and director positions, as well as Weapons System Analyst for Boeing Military
Airplane Company. Mr. Boyd also served the aviation communities of Kansas
as Director of the Division of Aviation of KDOT, gaining recognition for
KDOT as one of the outstanding state aviation agencies in the United States.
is an outstanding administrator, innovator, and inventor. He organized,
published and implemented the Kansas Aviation Honor Award Program, the
Kansas State and Regional Disaster Airlift Plan, and designed the Kansas
State Aviation Directory. He helped draft the legislation which created
the Kansas Dept of Civil Air Patrol, and proposed an “Adopt an Airport”
education program. Among his many inventions are: Dial-a-Base (a high-speed
map), Astro Navigator (a navigation game), Astronomy Chart Apparatus (star
chart device), and Collision Avoidance by Airborne Radar Intercept.
is a Tuskegee Airman (Cadet Class 1945-G), a pilot and the first full
time African American State Aviation Director in the United States.
Clinton nominated Linda Hall Daschle as Deputy Administrator for the Federal
Aviation Administration, he cited an 18 year long career in aviation that
has ranged from weather observer to airline industry executive.
second woman to hold the post of Deputy Administrator, Ms Daschle’s responsibilities
include helping to administer the 53,000 – person agency’s nearly $9 billion
budget. The FAA’s mandate includes certification of aircraft, airports,
pilots, and aviation mechanics. It also operates and maintains the U.S.
air traffic control system. Ms Daschle is currently involved in assessing
the FAA’s multibillion dollar Advanced Automation System, which is designed
to modernize the air traffic system for the 21st century. In addition,
she has been instrumental in advancing the Administration’s plan to set
up a government corporation to ruo the air traffic system.
accomplishments, MS Daschle has served as a vice president for the American
Association of Airport Executives, as Director of Federal Affairs for
the Air Transport Association of America, as a chairperson of the Oglala-Lakota
College Foundation Board, and was the first woman to direct the former
Civil Aeronautics Board’s Office of Congressional, Community and Consumer
career in aviation, Linda Hall Daschle has continually demonstrated support
for Kansas aviation. She represents the pioneering spirit demonstrated
by so many other Kansas women who have had successful aviation careers.
dedication to aviation began somewhere around 1968 with his military career
as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam. Among his military awards are the Distinguished
Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross.
He also served in the Kansas National Guard and is a Lieutenant Colonel
in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Mr. Barnard has been an instructor in the Aviation Program at Kansas State
University – Salina and currently serves as Department Head, responsible
for the Maintenance Technology Program, Avionics Program and the Professional
most significant achievements are: 1 ) personally starting the Professional
Pilot Program (the only FAA Part 141 approved pilot training program in
the state of Kansas), 2) co-principal investigator on a $7.7 million grant
from the Department of Defense, and 3) Program Director of a joint Kansas
State University – Salina/British Aerospace International Airline Pilot
Training Program (the only program in the world certified by both the
American FAA and the British CAA).
little fanfare, Mr. Seitz has contributed a great deal to general aviation
in the Kansas area. He has been an instructor for almost 50 years and
a pilot for almost 60 years, accumulating nearly 50,000 flying hours (in
Kansas-built general aviation aircraft).
He has been
involved in all facets of general aviation including Airport Management
(Red Wing Aviation), FBO Management, Flight School Operations, aircraft
sales, charter and pilot services and individual pilot instruction. Mr.
Seitz also served as a Corporate Pilot for many of the state’s major companies.
is a former Director of Aviation at The College of the Ozarks, and operated
Seitz Aviation at Wichita Mid-Continent, Jabara and Benton airports. He
currently provides limited flight instruction services.
Joseph Rowe and Craig Miner are the authors of the book, “Borne on the
South Wind: A Century of Kansas Aviation”, published by the Wichita Eagle
and Beacon Publishing Co. in 1994.
well-written, comprehensive history of an important Kansas industry, this
volume fills a void in the written historical record of our state. As
the preface to this volume states, “The state of Kansas has been perhaps
the premier regional center for the invention, development and production
of aircraft since the first experiments with powered flight.”
Miner and Frank Joseph Rowe have brought Kansas Aviation to the world
in the form of the written word.
career has spanned more than 63 years, beginning in 1933 when he learned
to fly at the Dallas Aviation School at Love Field. After knocking around
the Midwest was a barnstormer and flight instructor, Meisinger came to
Topeka in 1938 and set up shop as a flight instructor and corporate pilot
at the Billard Airport in a two-bay hangar that still stands.
By 1940 his
reputation was sufficient to win a government Civilian Pilot Training
program contract. Soon after the United 0-tateso entry into World war
II, Meisinger’s operation became a Naval Cadet Program, training ensigns
and junior grade lieutenants in the art of flight using N3N training aircraft
supplied by the Navy.
returned in late 1945, Meisinger was one of the first dealers signed up
to represent Beech Aircraft Corporation in it new nationwide sales network.
Over the next 60 years meisinger and his Topeka Aviation Company would
sell more than 1200 new Beechcraft. His sales achievements have resulted
in Meisinger being named Beech Aircraft Corporation’s Man of the Year
on two separate occasions – the only individual in the company’s history
ever to win the coveted award twice.
not only an aviation maintenance instructor at KSU-Salina, but is a mentor
and encourager to all his students. He has also received his Airframe
and Powerplant certification, had a f our year stint in the US Air Force
in 1951 as well as twelve years of civilian aviation-related positions
performing maintenance on heavy bombers and acting as crew chief /mechanic
on heavy Army helicopters.
introduced the availability of aviation maintenance instruction to Salina
area Vocational, Technical School in 1957. As Department Head,-his duties
ranged from full-time teaching and supervision of staff, to procurement
of aircraft, parts and supplies, to FAA Certification and budget preparation.
He has served
in a diversity of roles in the aviation industry, not only holding an
A & P Certification, but also an Inspection Authorization and Federal
Aviation Administration written examiner certificate.
was growing up in Burlington, Iowa, he fantasized about becoming a pilot.
Not only did his dream come true, having logged more than 20,000 hours
of flight time, he is the sole owner of a very successful airline which
today operates nationally and internationally employing over 800 people.
Ron moved to Wichita to become the chief pilot for a real estate developer
and, shortly thereafter, he formed a jet charter service company specializing
in corporate executive travel.
Ryan Aviation Corporation upgraded its FAR Part 135 certificate to a Part
121 air carrier certificate. At that time, Ryan International Airlines
was formed to operate large aircraft; and today this company operates
forty-four aircraft and, by December 1997, will operate forty-nine in
its fleet of operations.
derives the largest portion of its revenue from transporting express and
priority mail for the U.S. Postal Service and overnight airfreight for
Emery Air Freight Corporation. Mid-Summer of 1997, Ryan was contracted
to transport professional sports teams and entertainers in four Boeing
727s that are passenger configured. Ryan International will also be based
in Chicago providing air service to many vacation spots in the Caribbean,
Mexico and various stateside locations. Ryan International Airlines boasts
an on-time service rate of better than 98 percent, which is excellent
by any standards.
been the recipient of many awards over the years. Most recently, he was
selected to receive the “1996 Entrepreneur of the Year-Services Division”
award in a national competition.
Ron is a
Board Member of the Kansas Aviation Museum and is an active member of
several other civic organizations. His philanthropic attitude is demonstrated
through his many charitable contributions and the giving of his time and
talent in helping others.
a long time resident of Wichita and Kansas City areas until he passed
away on July 5, 1995. His early aviation career began in Barnstorming
and Air Racing.
He was the
only surviving winner of the pre-World War II Thompson Trophy air races,
having won the event in “Benny” Howard’s “Mr. Mulligan”.
a pilot for TWA in 1936 and went on to a distinguished 30-year career
with the airline. After retiring, Harold remained active as a pilot and
a speaker on the Golden Age of Air Racing.
resumed his career as an air show pilot and became a frequent and successful
competitor in IAC acrobatics competition in his 145 Warner powered Monocoupe,
which he named “Little Mulligan”. This aircraft was donated to the EAA
Aviation Foundation in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and is displayed in his memory.
Joe Conrad Funk and Howard Clark Funk (19101995), were born September
17th, 1910 in Akron, Ohio. While in grade school they rebuilt a Model
T automobile and at 17 years of age received a patent on an engine accessory.
‘They graduated from high school at age 20. In 1926, the twins took their
first airplane ride. The brothers eventually earned Engineering Degrees.
One of their
outstanding aviation accomplishments included development of the first
two-place dual control glider, which enabled glider pilots, for the first
time, to be instructed with the instructor in the planes with them. They
were also the first to launch a glider from an automobile tow. They set
an unofficial maximum climb glider record of 2500 feet per minute for
sustained two minutes. They developed the first fully tunneled aircraft
cooling system for liquid cooled engines, which they used in an aircraft
of their own design. In 1937 they were the last company to enter the US
Government’s famous “$700 Airplane Program,” and came closest to meeting
the standard set by the government by building a stall and spin resistant
light plane that has been described as the safest and easiest to fly of
any light aircraft ever built. The Funk brothers were probably the last
to get an automobile engine certified for use as a commercial aircraft
brothers engineering talents were not limited to aviation, although that
was their first interest. They experimented with klieg lights on their
own design, perpetual motion machines, and many other ideas always keeping
aviation in mind. In 1933, they built their first airplane in just over
six months. As they developed the aviation business, they organized a
club to raise funds to finance building the units. The main outstanding
feature of the “Funk” aircraft was the innovative use of the Model “A”
Ford automobile engine, which was turned “upside down and backwards.”
about 110 aircraft units in Akron, Ohio, in 1941 the Funk Aviation activities
were moved to Coffeyville, Kansas. During World War II, the Funk activities
were limited to making various parts for the government. Upon resuming
aircraft production, the Funk Manufacturing organization produced an additional
255 Funk aircraft for an all time total of 365 aircraft, of which 200
remain in existence. This is a greater survival rate than any other contemporary
aircraft with a similar production schedule over a comparable time span.
the Funk manufacturing efforts were switched to automotive transmissions.
There were also tragedies during their business experiences. A fire burned
the company, destroying many important historical records; however, they
were able to relocate to Industrial Park in Coffeyville.
after a long history of creative engineering, the Funk twins retired from
business in Coffeville. Retirement did not end their creativity. Howard
equipped his home with automatic doors, and designed a motorcycle. Joe
continued working on a variety of projects in his workshop.
Joe and his
wife Juanita have five children and two grandchildren. Howard and his
wife Charlotte had three children, three grandchildren and three great
grandchildren. In 1978, the Funk brothers were honored by the Smithsonian
Institution as Aviation Pioneers. Every year there is an annual Funk Fly-in,
a weekend for owners of Funk airplanes to gather; it takes place at the
Coffeyville Municipal Airport.
Dr. A. Porter
Davis, a physician and surgeon, was born in Palestine, Texas on November
13, 1890 and stayed there until he graduated from Lincoln High School.
He then attended Meflarry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee and
was licensed in 1913 in both Tennessee and Kansas.
his first flight instruction at Richard’s Field from Charles Toth, but
he finished his training at Porterfield Flying School. On August 10, 1928
Dr. Davis received his pilots license from the Department of Commerce.
His pilot certificate number was #3902, making him the fourth black American
to be issued a pilot’s license.
purchased the first of three airplanes, an American Eagle Aircraft from
Edward E. Porterfield, Jr. in 1928. Dr. Davis introduced flying to the
black community by giving airplane rides on weekends at the Fairfax Airport,
Kansas City, Kansas. He would fly to different cities in the state with
a pre-announcement of his arrival to stimulate interest in aviation. On
August 13, 1929 the A. Porter Davis Aviation Industries was formed to
teach “young Negroes how to fly.” The depression necessitated the closing
of his school where 16 students were enrolled. In this same year he made
a record flight from Kansas City to Chicago with Earnest L. Gayden, an
In 1938 Dr.
Davis set a goal to fly every day, thus he acquired the nickname of the
“flying physician.” He flew for 296 consecutive days in 1933, and for
this achievement he was awarded the Dwight H. Greene trophy for distinguished
contribution to aviation. The award was presented at the first meeting
of the National Airmen Association of America, an organization designed
for peer support among black aviators.
In 1939 blacks
were admitted to the Civilian Pilot Training Program, which was established
by the Civil Aeronautics Authority to provide a pool of civilian pilots
for wartime emergency. This organization led to the creation of the “Tuskegee
Airmen.” Dr. Davis attended the first meeting of the National Airman’s
Association, he was a constant supporter and became president of the organization
in 1941. He had a goal of a greater black participation in aviation and
all aspects of equality in American life. Dr. Davis was an early aviation
pioneer and civil rights leader and his life was full of firsts. Many
of his accomplishments are still being discovered today.
Hagan’s 46-year career, of which 36 years were in Kansas, he made significant
and long-lasting contributions to military and civil aviation. Mr. Hagan
began f lying as an 18 year-old aviation cadet in 1943. He subsequently
qualified in tne P-47 “Thunderbolt” at Harding Field in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
It was there that he met Frances, now his bride for the past 54 years.
In August 1944, he was assigned to the 386th Fighter Squadron, Balleroy,
France. Over the next 20 months, he flew 91 missions, over 337 combat
flying hours, until the end of Worl War II. During this time his aircraft
was shot down twice. Among many awards and decorations, he earned the
Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal (11 oak leaf clusters), and
the Purple Heart. After discharge, he pursued studies in engineering,
but was recalled to active duty in 1951. During this tour he flew the
Republic F-84G “Thunderstreak.”
In 1953 the
Cessna Aircraft Company, of Wichita, hired Mr. Hagan as a test pilot.
There, he was the “first flight” pilot in the T-37, on October 12, 1954.
The T-37 entered operational service with the Air Force as the first originally
designed jet trainer in 1957. Cessna built nearly 1,300 T-37’s and the
aircraft is still in service in its original role. He also flew the Model
31OG and the Model 411 as the “first flight” pilot before leaving Cessna
his career with the Lear Jet Corporation, Mr. Hagan helped usher in the
era of the “business jet” by piloting the “first flight” of the Model
23 – the first Lear Jet – on October 7, 1963. Eleven variants of the aircraft
have been built and the 2000th Lear Jet was delivered on August 20, 1999.
began his 24-year association with 14ichita’s Beech Aircraft Corporation
as Chief of Engineering Flight. His “first flights” at Beech include the
Model 56TC Turbo Charged “Baron,” the Model A88 “Queen Air” variant, and
the Model 60 “Duke. “
held several other positions within the company including Chief of Test
Operations, Chief of the Commonality Program, Chief of Commonality and
Value Engineering, and Senior Project Engineer on the “King Air” commuter
and “special mission” aircraft. Mr. Hagan retired from Beech in 1989.
He now resides near Goddard, Kansas, and is an active inember of the Air
Capital Chapter of the Order of the Daelalians.
accomplishment of Cletus J. Pottebaum, Colonel USAF (Retired) is a story
over forty years old. It starts when he was assigned to Headquarters of
the Strategic Air Command, Omaha, Nebraska during the period of transition
to large fleets of Jet-Powered Aircraft. From July 1955 to June 1959,
he was directly responsible for all phases of the maintenance and the
modernization of armament-electronics essential to the combat capability
of the command.
to 1964 he served in a unique position as an Air Force Logistics Consultant
with the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California. Colonel Pottebaum
participated in the design and development of new High Altitude and very
Low Altitude Bombing and Navigation Systems for the B-521 and such important
projects as maintenance support for the Titan and Minuteman Strategic
Missile Programs. He also participated in unique projects including a
little-known RAND study after the assassination of President Kennedy.
The result of that work altered the security policy of all future Presidential
McConnell Air Force Base Commander announced that the historic Building
1 and Hanger 9 would be vacated, Pottebaum worked with the Air Force to
have these unique buildings placed on the National and State Historical
Building Register. In November 1976 Cletus Pottebaum was the founder and
the only volunteer agent of the Wichita Aeronautical Historical Association.
In May 1977 the Charter (written by Cletus Pottebau,n) was approved by
the Secretary of State of Kansas and recorded in the Sedgwick County Register
on May 21, 1977, the 50th anniversary of Lindbergh’s flight over the Atlantic
has spearheaded many significant projects designed to honor aviation pioneers
and other aviators in Wichita including the Aviation Pioneers (Swallow)
Monument and the Memorial Walk, both at MConnell AFB. He coordinated efforts
with OX-5 Aviation Pioneers of Kansas, Wichita State University, and the
Wichita School District to hold a “Matty Laird Day” in April 1978. He
helped to organized events for the return visit of Eldon Cessna as well
as a number of Veterans Day parades in the 1980’s. Additionally, Col.
Pottebaum succeeded in pushing through a much needed tax change for the
benefit of veterans in the State of Kansas. His efforts also include saving
valuable and irreplaceable aviation artifacts such as the mold for the
“Spirit of Flight” mural above the entrance to the 1935 Municipal Air
has a history of more than 25 years of significant research contributions
to the art and science of aerodynamics that covers the complete range
of operational flight regimes for general, commercial, and military aviation
as well as non-aviation applications of applied aerodynamics, automotive
aerodynamics and wind turbine design.
not only has noteworthy academic credentials, with a CUM laude undergraduate
degree and a Ph.D. with Dissertation Honors, but he is a Licensed Professional
Engineer in the State of Kansas. This balance of academic and practical
research and applied aspects of engineering is both unusual and exemplary,
and is characteristic of Dr. Wentz’s approach to his profession. Dr. Wentz
is one of the founding directors of Wichita State University’s National
Institute for Aviation Research (NAIR). He was responsible for the planning
and design of the facility and he played a major role in establishing
the financial base of support that has allowed the NAIR to evolve into
a first class research facility. Today the NAIR has a $5 million annual
budget and 100 faculty and graduate student associates/assistants.
the unique ability to bring students to a true understanding of complex
flow phenomena, including both the physics of the flow and the resulting
behavior of the engineering design. He has a real intuitive sense for
aerodynamics, gained from a deep appreciation of the physics and many
years of work at the frontier of flow visualization research. He also
has the extraordinary communications skills to convey that vision to students
in such a way that they can truly comprehend what is happening. He has
fully engaged his students in the research process and thus enabled them
to gain insight that could be obtained no other way, and to have them
experience the full learning that comes with combining sound theoretical
underpinnings with practical and meaningful applications. His easygoing
manner also makes him approachable and facilitates the inquisitive student’s
access to Bill’s knowledge. Thus, though he is recognized internationally
by his colleagues as an innovative and exceptional research aerodynamicist,
he is also a successful teacher and he brings an uncommon dedication to
excelling in both research and teaching to the benefit of the hundreds
of students who have graduated from the aeronautical engineering program
during his tenure with the department. this constant and unswerving devotion
to both aspects of engineering education results in Bill Wentz standing
tall as an extraordinary teacher.