Class of 2018 Joins National Aviation Hall of Fame
The words ‘Hall of Fame’ are not thrown around lightly. Whether you’re a game-changing athlete or a scientific pioneer, Hall of Fame status is earned by few and afforded to fewer. But that hasn’t stopped four new members being honoured with an induction in the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF).
The NAHF was first established in 1962 in Ohio – a fitting location, given its moniker as the ‘Birthplace of Aviation’ after the innovations of the Wright brothers. Its mission is admirable in its simplicity: ‘honour aerospace legends to inspire future legends’.
To inspire the future, it is sometimes necessary to look to the past. Here, we take a brief look at the four latest members of the NAHF and find out what made them special enough to enter the Class of 2018.
Walter has lived a dream for so many people young and old alike: venturing into outer space. The retired astronaut was part of the Apollo 7 mission, taking up the integral role of Lunar Module Pilot, but his career spans much further than that one crowning achievement. In a distinguished career, Walter enjoyed roles as an astronaut, fighter pilot, physicist, entrepreneur and venture capitalist.
As if that wasn’t enough, Walter proved he could master both the sciences and the arts when he turned his hand to writing, penning The All-American Boys in 1977.
In total, Walter has racked up more than 4,500 hours of flying time, with more than 263 of those spent in space. With so much time dedicated to aviation, it’s only right aviation now dedicates some time to him and his achievements.
A highly decorated four-star general, Jack Dailey was once a member of the US Marine Corps. His illustrious career included roles as the Acting Associate Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for a spell from 1992 – 1999, and then-Director of the National Air and Space Museum from 2000 right up to 2018.
Jack had a highly active career which included two tours of Vietnam, spanning an incredible 450 combat missions. This gave him the opportunity to rack up an impressive host of personal decorations, among them: The Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Defence Superior Service Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, Combat Action Ribbon, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, and plenty more.
In his later years, Jack became the Director of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. As he had proven throughout his career, Jack didn’t do things half-heartedly, and that was the case her once again. Only stepping down after 18 years, Jack was the longest-serving director in the museum’s history.
His passion for aviation is obvious. This year, he is finally honoured for a lifetime commitment to flying with a Hall of Fame induction.
William H. Dana – or Bill – was a highly accomplished ex-astronaut who also had spells as a US Air Force Pilot and NASA Test Pilot. Born in 1930 in California, Bill was always destined for the sky after achieving his Bachelor of Science degree from the US Military Academy in 1952. From here he would go on to become a pilot in the US Air Force before joining NASA in 1958.
Not content with merely working for some of the biggest institutions in the world, Bill turned his eye to breaking records and succeeded. Aboard the HL-10, he managed to make the highest-ever flight in a lifting body, clocking in at just over 90,000 ft. and etching his name in the record books.
In the autumn years of his career Bill continued to move up the ranks at NASA, eventually being promoted to Chief Engineer at their Dryden Flight Research Centre in California. He held the position for five years then retired, having contributed four decades of service to the aviation game.
Bill is no longer with us after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. This year, his memory will be honoured in style.
Ronald Fogleman – better known as Ron – is a retired US Air Force General. He served as the Chief of Staff of the Air Force from 1994 – 1997 and made quite the impact.
Ron attended Duke University and studied military history and political science. Clearly, this was a young man with a strong goal in his mind, and it would evidently be one he would go on to achieve with aplomb.
Having taken part in an impressive 315 missions it’s only logical that Ron would have had his brushes with danger, but few have come as close and lived to tell the tale. In 1968, Ron’s F-100 was shot down in Vietnam. Miraculously, he managed to grip an AH-1 Cobra helicopter and survive what must have been a traumatic experience fighting for his country.
When it comes to a lasting legacy, few can hope to achieve as much as Ron. During his time as Chief of Staff of the Air Force (the first graduate of the Air Force Academy to advance to such a position), Ron invented a code of conduct which is still used to this day. The message is simple yet effective: ‘Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do.’
With such an unerring core and such a vast wealth of experience behind him, it’s no wonder Ron is among the four new inductees this year.
These four join a long and illustrious list of individuals – known as enshrines – to have been inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame. If the centre is to achieve its aim, let’s hope that the stories of these brave men can go on to inspire the next generation of budding aviation fans.