Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society: Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame Members
The Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame was created to commemorate and preserve outstanding aviation contributions made in Virginia or by Virginians. Many individual efforts have resulted in the pioneering, growth, or development of aviation and aerospace and must be recorded for future generations. Each year, the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society Board of Directors selects one or more individuals for recognition and induction into the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame.
* Notes nominee is deceased.
Capt. Edward L. Anderson *
Captain Edward L. Anderson received his gold Naval Aviator wings in March 1941, transitioned into the Douglas SBD dive bomber and reported aboard the USS Enterprise on June 2, 1941.
William Robert “Bob” Ashburn *
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Inducted in 1989, William Robert “Bob” Ashburn started flying in 1925. He worked as a mechanic for the Army Air Forces, Gates flying Circus, Pitcairn Aviation and Luddington Airlines, which was based at the Washington-Hoover Airport in Washington, DC.
Elmer Durand Bailey *
Inducted in 2008, Elmer Durand Bailey began his flying career at Hermitage Airport in 1942. He enrolled in the Civil Pilot Training program flying Piper J-3s, Taylorcrafts, Fairchild PT-19s and Myers OTWs. He completed the instructor course in late 1943.
Capt. William E. “Bill” Bailey
Inducted in 2016, Captain William E. Bailey’s love of aviation began when he wasstationed at Rhein Main AFB, Germany. Bailey began his flight training at Fort Rucker, Alabama, completing Fixed Wing Officer Aviation flight training in 1966 and later the Rotary Wing Officer Aviator Training.
John J. Bannister, Sr. *
Inducted in 2016, John J. Bannister, Sr. while being hospitalized as a young boy met and was mentored by Dick Merrill, Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame member and one of the greatest aviators of that era.
Lt. Col. Howard L. Baugh *
Inducted in 2006, Lt. Col. Howard Baugh was raised in Petersburg, Virginia. He graduated from Virginia State College in 1941 and entered the U.S. Army Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet at the Tuskegee Army Airfield, Tuskegee, Alabama in March 1942.
Velta Haney Benn *
Inducted in 1983, Velta Haney Benn was active in Virginia aviation for nearly 40 years. She accumulated more than 40,000 hours of flying time and earned a wide range of advanced pilot ratings.
Charles D. Benn 1989 *
Inducted in 1989, Charles D. Benn started flying in 1941 and has logged over 30,000 flying hours of which 25,000 hours were as a flight instructor.
Charles W. Bing *
Inducted in 1994, Charles W. Bing soloed in 1938 at age sixteen in Blackstone, Virginia. He joined the RAF in 1941 and then transferred to the Army Air Forces when the United States entered the war.
James L. Bland
James L. Bland’s contributions to the development of aviation infrastructure in Virginia and the United States are important and far-reaching Jim is a native of Gretna, Virginia and graduated from VPI & SU with a degree in civil engineering.
Leonard L. Bottoms, Jr.
Glen Allen, Virginia
Inducted in 2007, Leonard L. Bottoms, Jr. started flying in 1943, receiving his Private License in 1944. He was an FAA Designated Pilot examiner for nearly 20 years and has served as an FAA safety counselor.
William E. “Bill” Brightwell *
Inducted in 2002, William E. “Bill” Brightwell learned to fly in Aeronca C-3s and Ks. Before WWII, he worked at Embry Riddle Flight Training School in the aircraft maintenance department.
NASA Astronaut David M. Brown *
Inducted in 2003, David M. Brown received his Bachelor of Science in biology from the College of William and Mary in 1978 and earned his private pilot license at the Williamsburg Airport in the summer of 1978.
Philip W. Brown *
Inducted in 2009, Philip W. Brown earned his Navy wings in 1963 at NAS Beeville, Texas. Upon leaving active duty in June of 1963 he enrolled in college and would eventually earn his Masters degree in aeronautical engineering from Princeton University.
Thomas J. Brown, Jr. *
Inducted in 1990, Thomas J. Brown, Jr., was the FAA Chief of Flight Inspection Navigation Aids and Instrument Flight Procedures for Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, and Maryland from 1957 through 1971.
Vincent W. “Squeek” Burnett *
Inducted in 1961, Vincent W. “Squeek” Burnett was one of America’s most proficient precision flyers and won the Fred Lund Trophy for aerobatic flying.
Rear Adm. Richard E. Byrd *
Inducted in 1982, Admiral Byrd is best known as an Antarctic and Arctic explorer, aviator and navigator. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1912 and became a Naval aviator.
Ann Baumgartner Carl *
Inducted in 2000, Ann Baumgartner Carl took her first flight in a J-3 Piper Cub in 1940. Her addiction to flying was immediate and she declared, “This is what I was made for.”
Robert A. Champine *
Inducted in 1979, Robert A. Champine completed Naval flight training in 1946. Shortly thereafter, he joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (later NACA) as a research pilot engineer.
Norman L. Crabill
Newport News, Virginia
Inducted in 2008, Norman “Norm” Crabill earned his engineering degree from the Catholic University of America in 1949 and his Master of Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 1958. Norm soloed in 1947 and earned his private pilot’s license in 1967.
A. Scott Crossfield, Jr. *
Inducted in 1998, A. Scott Crossfield, Jr., was a US Navy fighter pilot and gunnery instructor during WWII. After the war, he earned a Bachelors and Masters of Science in Aeronautical Engineering.
Grady W. Dalton *
Inducted in 1985, Grady W. Dalton was a leading figure in both banking and aviation. He earned his wings as a private pilot and organized the Richlands Municipal Airport in 1945 and was its owner and operator until 1952.
Gen. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. *
Inducted in 1980, General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. graduated from West Point Military Academy in 1936, ranking 35 in a class of 216 cadets.
Robert J.Dunahoe, Jr. *
Inducted in 1990, Robert J. Dunahoe, Jr. first soloed an aircraft in 1931. He engaged in many flying activities including barnstorming, charter flying, passenger hopping, student instruction, airplane sales and services, and aerial photography.
Woodrow W. “Woody” Edmondson *
Inducted in 1979, Woodrow W. “Woody” Edmondson began flying when he was 16 years old and operated the first licensed airport in Virginia – Clover Airport in Halifax County.
Noel C. “Pappy” Ellis *
Inducted in 1978, Noel C. “Pappy” Ellis learned to fly in 1929. He came to Richmond, VA in 1932 as a flight instructor at the former Hermitage Airport and trained British pilots during WWII.
Commander Theodore G. Ellyson, USN *
Inducted in 1996, Commander Theodore G. Ellyson graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1905. He took flying lessons from the pioneer aviator Glenn Curtiss in January 1911 and became U.S. Naval Aviator #1.
Vice Admiral Donald D. Engen *
Inducted in 1987, Vice Admiral Donald D. Engen became a Naval aviator during WWII taking part in the first attacks against Okinawa and Formosa.
Lawrence W. Falwell
Inducted in 1991, Lawrence W. Falwell has been active in aviation for over 40 years. He received his private pilot certificate from fellow Hall of Fame member Woody Edmondson in 1946 and later received his instrument, multi-engine and ATR ratings.
T. E. “Boots” Frantz *
Inducted in 1979, T. E. “Boots” Frantz soloed in 1929 and was active in general aviation for more than 40 years. During the 1930s he barnstormed in Southwest Virginia and opened a flying school in Roanoke, Va.
RAdm. Dewitt L. Freeman, USN (Ret.) *
Inducted in 2003, Dewitt “Witt” Freeman earned his gold Naval Aviator Wings in 1944 through the V-5 Aviation Cadet Program. He flew the FM-2 until the end of WWII and then transitioned into the F-6F and F-8F.
Philbert L. “Doc” Gammage *
Inducted in 1986, Philbert L. “Doc” Gammage was an engineering technician for NACA/NASA in Hampton, Virginia. Gammage designed and built his first plane, a low-wing monoplane named “Miss Betty”, in the 1930s.
Paul E. Garber *
Inducted in 1990, Paul E. Garber's name is synonymous with the history of powered and controlled flight. In July 1909, he saw Orville Wright fly at Fort Myer, VA.
T. Fleetwood Garner *
Inducted in 1986, T. Fleetwood Garner’s aviation career started in 1936 when he took flying lessons in Norfolk, VA. Garner, a native Virginian, operated Navy War Training Programs and civilian flight instruction programs during World War II.
Melvin N. Gough *
Inducted in 1978, Melvin N. Gough began his career as a mechanical engineer at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (later NASA) in 1926 at Langley Field, Virginia.
Carl F. Greene *
Inducted in 1978, Carl F. Greene was one of the first research scientists assigned to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (later NASA) at Langley Field, Virginia.
G. Warren Hall
Inducted in 2004, G. Warren Hall began his flying career at Northfield Airport when he was a junior at Hermitage High School. He attended the University of Virginia earning a Bachelors Degree in Aeronautical Engineering, after which he joined the Navy.
Captain Arnim L. Harris, Jr., EAL *
Inducted in 2007, Captain Arnim L. Harris, Jr. began flying while in the U.S. Navy serving as an aircraft mechanic. Al soloed in December 1944. After the Navy he flew for Cavalier Aviation as a crop duster and then for Aero Industries under Dave Payne as a flight instructor and charter pilot.
Frank E. “Pop” Hatcher *
Inducted in 1978, Frank E. “Pop” Hatcher was the first man in Lynchburg to hold both an airplane mechanics and a pilot’s license.
Brig. Gen. William E. Haymes, Sr. *
Inducted in 1982, General Haymes was credited with being the architect of the modern Virginia Air National Guard. He joined the Virginia Army Guard in 1936 and in 1942 joined the Air Corps where he earned his pilot’s wings.
Homer A. Humphreys *
West Point, Virginia
Inducted in 2007, Homer Humphreys first soloed in 1945. While principal of West Point High School he introduced an aviation education program that ran into the early 50s.
Kenneth Wayne Hyde
Inducted in 2000, Kenneth Wayne Hyde earned both pilot’s and mechanic’s license under the apprenticeship of fellow Hall of Famer Charlie Kulp.
Brig. Gen. Benjamin S. Kelsey *
Inducted in 1981, General Kelsey learned to fly at age 14 and owned his own “Jennie” at 17. After graduating from M.I.T., he joined the Air Corps and assisted Jimmy Doolittle in developing instrumental blind flying techniques.
Christopher C. Kraft, Jr.
Inducted in 1979, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr. is best known as the Mission Director on all the Mercury missions and many of the Gemini missions.
Charles A. Kulp, Sr.
Inducted in 1997, Charles A. Kulp, Sr., is best known for his famous Flying Farmer Airshow performances, which have been seen by hundreds of thousands of people at over 600 airshows covering the eastern half of the U. S. and England.
Charles D. Lamb
Charlie Lamb has been passionate about aviation since he first started flying at age 16. As the CEO of Delta Airport Consultants, Inc., his fingerprints can be found on most of the public airports that serve the Virginia Aviation community.
W. Clayton Lemon *
Inducted in 1985, W. Clayton Lemon was known by many as the “father of aviation in the Roanoke Valley.” He got his start in aviation by swapping a car for an airplane and soloed without any formal flight instruction.
George T. Lester *
Inducted in 1981, George T. Lester was the first pilot in Martinsville, Virginia. In 1934, he was responsible for the development of Lester Field, which was Martinsville’s first airport.
Morton W. Lester
Inducted in 1991, Morton W. Lester soloed when he was only 10 years old. He has been instrumental in the preservation of aviation history not only in Virginia, but also throughout the United States.
Donald S. Lopez *
Inducted in 2001, Donald S. Lopez was a fighter pilot during WWII. He flew with the 23rd Fighter Group in China and became an “ace” while flying the Curtiss P-40 and North America P-51.
Lt. Gen. George Loving, Jr., USAF (Ret.)
During his 37 years of active duty first in the United States Army Air Forces and its successor, the United States Air Force, General George G. Loving, Jr. served his country in war and peace.
George W. Lutz *
Inducted in 2010, George W. Lutz’s love of aviation inspired him to dedicate his time and efforts to improving safety, education, and the enjoyment of general aviation through his work with the FAA, Experimental Aircraft Association, and the Quantico Marine Corps Flying Club.
Eugene C. Marlin *
Newport News, Virginia
During his 30 year tenure as manager of the airport we know as Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, Eugene Marlin became well known for his resourceful and unique style of management.
Ivor Massey *
Inducted in 1980, Ivor Massey learned to fly in 1914. After seeing action as a pilot in WWI, he started an air transport business in Richmond, Va.
John “Pappy” Mazza, Jr.
Inducted in 2015, John “Pappy” Mazza’s aviation experience started from an early age, flying with his father. He obtained his pilot license and instrument rating in a Tri-Pacer.
Kenneth W. Medley *
Inducted in 1995, Kenneth W. Medley received his pilot certificate in 1940 and has flown more than 56 accident free years, 53 as a flight instructor.
Charles E. Myers, Jr.
Inducted in 1999, Charles E. “Chuck”’ Myers flew low level missions in B-25s attacking Japanese shipping and airfields in New Guinea, the Philippines and the coast of China during WWII with the famed Air Apaches of the Fifth Air Force.
John Bennett “Ben” Newell *
Inducted in 2004, John Bennett “Ben” Newell began his aviation career in February 1943 when he was called by the U.S. Army Air Corps to begin his aviation cadet training.
Everett M. Noel *
Inducted in 1989, Everett M. Noel served as manager of Shannon Airport in Fredericksburg, VA where he had been flying since 1943.
Capt. Walter E. Ohlrich, Jr., USN (Ret.) *
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Inducted in 2006, Walter E. Ohlrich soloed at age 16 in a PT-17 Stearman and obtained a pilot’s license at age 17.
Albert M. Orgain IV *
Inducted in 2010, Albert M. Orgain IV, Chairman of the VAHS Board from 2002 to 2010 used his varied talents, unsurpassed leadership skills, and passion for Virginia’s aviation history to raise the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society to a state of recognition unmatched in its history.
James M. Patton, Jr. *
Inducted in 2009, James M. Patton, Jr. began his career as Chief Research Pilot and Head of Flight Operations at NASA Langley Research Center in 1968.
Allen C. Perkinson *
Inducted in 1978, Allen C. Perkinson was the first director of the Virginia Division of Aeronautics, State Corporation Commission.
Major Lee H. Person, Jr., USMC (Ret.) *
Inducted in 2011, Lee H. Person, Jr.’s distinguished 33 year career as a researcher and test pilot at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia placed him at the leading edge of aerospace research.
Henry J. E. Reid, Sr. *
Inducted in 1978, Henry J. E. Reid, Sr. was one of the first scientists assigned to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) Research Center in Hampton, VA.
NASA Astronaut Kenneth S. Reightler, Jr.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Inducted in 1997, Kenneth S. Reightler, Jr., graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1973 at the top of his class.
Spencer V. Rice *
Inducted in 1983, Spencer V. Rice became known as the “Virginia Gentleman of the Airlines” for his tireless work in promoting commercial air travel in the Old Dominion during his more than 40 years in aviation.
Kenneth R. “Ken” Scott
Inducted in 2011, Kenneth R. Scott’s 39 year career with the Norfolk Airport Authority, 37 as Executive Director, places him at the top of the list of longest serving directors in the state of Virginia and one of the longest in the United States.
Sidney L. Shannon, Jr. *
Inducted in 1979, Sidney L. Shannon opened the Shannon Airport in 1960. He was largely responsible for the growth of aviation in the Fredericksburg area, which in turn led to local business growth.
Judge William E. Spain *
Inducted in 1988, Judge William E. Spain began his aviation career as a “grease-monkey” helping to wash, refuel and repair airplanes at Richard E. Byrd Flying Field.
Chauncey E. Spencer *
Inducted in 1983, Chauncey E. Spencer learned to fly in 1938 and three years later made a pioneering flight from Chicago to Washington, D.C., that changed the lives of millions of minorities in this nation.
A. Erskine Sproul, M.D. *
Inducted in 1995, Dr. A. Erskine Sproul took his first flying lesson with famed “Bevo” Howard and obtained his pilot certificate in 1937.
Inducted in 2006, Karl Stoltzfus began his aviation career in 1958 when he joined his father’s business operating Stoltzfus Private Airport.
Eugene Raymond Sweeney *
Inducted in 2004, Eugene Raymond Sweeney began his flight instruction in 1935. In 1939 he formed Acorn Aviation Club, which continues today at Woodrum Field.
Charles S. Tippett, Jr.
Inducted in 2016, Charles S. “Chuck” Tippett, Jr.’s dream of flying began when he was a young child watching planes go over his house.
Billie S. Toombs
Inducted in 2004, Billie S. Toombs began her long association with Sidney Shannon and his airport in May 1968, when she was hired to work in the parts department and fill in on the front counter on the weekends.
Maude “Maxine” Walker *
Inducted in 2002, Maude “Maxine” Walker soloed a Piper J-3 in November 1940 and received her private license in February 1941.
Larry and Jean Waltrip *
Inducted in 2001, Larry and Jean Waltrip of Williamsburg became the first husband and wife team to be inducted into the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society’s Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame.
Richard T. Whitcomb *
Inducted in 1980, Richard T. Whitcomb was a distinguished aerodynamicist with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, later NASA, since 1943.
William A. Whittle *
Inducted in 1992, William A. Whittle began his service in aviation as a civilian surveyor for the U.S. Army corps of engineers in 1941 working on U.S. military bases being developed in Newfoundland.
Vernard “V.L.” Worrell *
Inducted in 2002, Vernard “V.L.” Worrell, Jr. soloed in 1940. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1943 and received his private pilot license in 1945.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
1994 Gerald W. Yagen and his wife attended a dinner-dance at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, Ontario which housed a large collection of historic airplanes.
Kenneth R. “Dick” Yenni
Inducted in 2011, Kenneth R. “Dick” Yenni’s 32 year career as an engineer pilot was significant for his outstanding contributions to the aeronautic, atmospheric science and space flight research programs at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
* Notes nominee is deceased.