Category Archives: Features

Ron Gatewood – 2018 Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame Inductee

Ronald L. Gatewood, Colonel USMC (Retired) From 1964 to 1991, Ron Gatewood served in the United
States Marine Corps as a Naval aviator, retiring as a Colonel. Following his final assignment at the Pentagon, Ron settled in Warrenton, Virginia, and has remained a resident of Fauquier County for the last 35 years.

After his retirement from the military, Ron established several aviation-related businesses, including SkyWorld Aviation, Tracey Corporation and Midland Development Corporation, and managed the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport (W66). He was instrumental in transforming the small country airport into a robust aviation hub.

Through his entrepreneurial spirit, keen business sense and vision, Ron used SkyWorld Aviation to provide services in aviation maintenance and management.

Through Tracey Corporation, Ron was able to manage the day-to-day operations, airport infrastructure, and fixed-base operations (such as selling fuel and maintaining the County-owned hangars at W66).

Early on, Ron also realized the need for a flight school at W66, helping to prepare local student pilots seeking to earn their Private Pilot, Instrument and Multi-Engine certifi cations. In 1999, Ron founded Midland Development Corporation, which greatly expanded W66’s hangar facilities by building three sets of T hangars. The availability of these hangars attracted additional aircraft owners. He was also instrumental in securing the funding to upgrade Warrenton-Fauquier Airport, making it an IFR-rated airfield with a 5,000 foot runway, and leading to its re-designation from W66 to KHWY.

Ron has demonstrated an unmatched spirit of service to the local aviation community in Fauquier County. He has volunteered his time and pilot skills through AirServ International, a Virginia-based global disaster relief organization. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Aviation Business Association. And he has been the standard bearer for the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society for the Warrenton Chapter.

Evelyn Marshall – 2018 Hall of Fame Inductee

Evelyn Marshall began her career of service on her 20th birthday, when she was sworn into the U.S. Naval Reserves as a Navy Wave in World War II. While assigned to the Navy Department in Washington, DC, Evelyn met Frank Marshall, and they were married in 1945. They were truly an inseparable team.

In 1951, Frank learned to fly, launching the Marshalls into a lifelong commitment to aviation.

In 1959, they formed Airport Management, Inc., and assumed management of the Manassas Airport.

Five years later, they were vital to efforts to ‘save’ the previous Manassas Airport, which ultimately led to the establishment/relocation of the airport to its current location.

The Marshalls then turned their attention to the development of an airport in nearby Fauquier County. Under the auspices of Marshall Aviation, Inc., they obtained a lease on 167 acres of land, cleared the land and installed a 3,000 foot sod airstrip, which ultimately became the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport. They then turned their energies to development and growth of the Winchester Airport, as well as the establishment and operation of airports in West Virginia and Maryland. In 1966, they returned to Manassas, taking the airport out of receivership, opening a Piper aircraft dealership, and putting the airport on a sound financial footing. After Frank’s death, Evelyn has continued her interest and support of general aviation in Virginia, and has been both supporter and activist.

She has served on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Aviation Trades Association. She also has been a long-standing member of the Flying Circus Airshows in Bealeton, Virginia, and a lifetime member of the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society. All-in-all, Evelyn has served Virginia aviation for more than 58 years. Frank Marshall was inducted into the Virginia Hall of Fame in 2003. His solo induction did not adequately recognize the extraordinary contributions that Frank and Evelyn made together to aviation in the Commonwealth.

The “Spirit of Freedom”has arrived at Shannon Airport for the 4th annual Harvest Festival.

The “Spirit of Freedom”has arrived at Shannon Airport for the 4th annual Harvest Festival. This C-54 (DC4) is the biggest aircraft that has ever landed at Shannon, and Tim Chopp and crew did a great job bringing her in! Don’t miss the “Spirit of Freedom” that dropped supplies in the Berlin Airlift, at the 4th annual Shannon Harvest Festival, October 27 from 10AM to 4PM.

What an amazing thing to see. She landed, as if she belonged there. The Spirit of Freedom, the largest plane to land at Shannon, will be there for the public at the Harvest Festival, Oct 27th, but come by, have lunch at the Robin’s Nest and get pictures of her. Such an amazing part of our History.

This C-54 (DC4) is the biggest aircraft that has ever landed at Shannon, and Tim Chopp and crew did a great job bringing her in! Don’t miss the “Spirit of Freedom” that dropped supplies in the Berlin Airlift, at the 4th annual Shannon Harvest Festival, October 27 from 10AM to 4PM.

 

 

Aerobatic Pilot Killed During Night Airshow In Virginia

Aerobatic pilot Jon Thocker was killed in a crash while performing during the Friday night airshow at the 2018 Culpeper Air Fest in Culpeper, Virginia. Jon was the #2 pilot on the Redline Airshows team. The other Redline pilot, Ken Rieder, landed safely shortly after the incident. There is little information on what happened as the performance was flown in the dark.

Jon and Ken, both based in Cincinnati, Ohio, performed formation aerobatics across North America. Each pilot flew a Van’s RV-8 home-built aircraft. They were particularly known for their night time routine, which included sparklers and fireworks launched from the aircraft.

Jon was a former airline captain who retired to focus on building and flying experimental aircraft. The team recently finished building new airplanes with modifications designed to improve their night performances. We here at AirshowStuff were privileged to work with Jon several times in the last few years, and we are tremendously saddened by the loss of a great man.

One such project was this cockpit video from Jon’s aircraft several years ago. Enjoy the ride he was willing to share with us.

Aerobatic Pilot Killed During Night Airshow In Virginia

New Club Will Promote State’s Aviation History

Virginia has a rich aviation history that predates the Civil War. With relocation of the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society headquarters to Fredericksburg, plans have been made for a Fredericksburg chapter. The inaugural meeting will take place at 9 a.m. November 17, at Shannon Airport KEZF Campus, 3380 Shannon Airport Circle.

The Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society is not just for pilots. It is made up of a broad spectrum of people of all ages and backgrounds who want to see history preserved and promoted.

To pre-register or for more information, call 540/376-3265; or email vahsonline@gmail.com or visit VirginiaAviationHistory.org.

Article was posted in the Free Lance Star 10/7/2018

Come visit us at: The Pilot House, 3381 Shannon Airport Circle, Fredericksburg, VA 22408
Mailing address: VAHS, Shannon Airport KEZF Campus, PO Box 7795, Fredericksburg, VA 22404-7795
Phone number: 540-376-3265 / Email: vahsonline@gmail.com