Legends of Flight
On November 16, the International Air & Space Hall of Fame Induction Celebration introduces its “Distinguished Class of 2013.” This spectacular evening at the San Diego Air & Space Museum attracts air and space legends from around the world to San Diego: US Airways Flight 1549 — “Miracle on the Hudson,” Capt. “Sully,” his co-pilot Jeff Skiles, and their flight attendant team known for their heroic ditching into the Hudson River saving the lives of everyone on board; Red Bull Stratos High Altitude Freefall from the Edge of Space, the highest skydive in history resulting in the first human to break the sound barrier in freefall; Apollo 16 (John Young, Charlie Duke, Ken Mattingly), fifth lunar landing and first to land on the lunar highlands; NASA Mission Control (Gene Kranz, Gerry Griffin, Glynn Lunney, Chris Kraft) — without them, America’s greatest space achievements would never have occurred and perhaps America would have lost three space heroes in a crippled Apollo 13; Commander Dean “Diz” Laird, only known US Navy ace in World War II to score air to air combat victories in the European and Pacific Theaters; Robert Crandall, chairman and CEO of American Airlines who revolutionized the air travel industry; Paul Bowen, internationally renowned aerial photographer; the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), advocating and defending the interests of business and civil aviation nationally and internationally; Colonel Bud Anderson, US Army Air Corp triple ace in World War II and test pilot.
Each honoree or event was selected for their qualitative achievements and historic contributions to aviation, space or aerospace innovation or expanding the public’s awareness. This year is especially significant, marking the International Hall of Fame’s 50th Anniversary.
At the November 16 event in the San Diego Air & Space Museum Pavilion of Flight, guests from around the world join the honorees for an evening of fun and extraordinary recognition, as each attendee is offered an experiential peek into the lives of these living air and space legends.
“We’re especially pleased to honor the Class of 2013 because these pioneers have not only pushed back the frontiers of air and space exploration, they’ve also become strong positive role models for today’s youth,” says Jim Kidrick, San Diego Air & Space Museum president and CEO. “Aviation and space exploration, as embodied by the people we honor in our Hall of Fame, is a metaphor for the human pioneering spirit. It’s a critical part of our exploring nature. We must inspire today’s kids to tackle the tough science, technology, engineering, and math challenges which lie ahead. November 16 is the evening of the year every guest will remember for a long time, and not want to miss. It’s our chance to honor these legends on behalf of every San Diegan.”
The International Air & Space Hall of Fame is the most prestigious induction in the world and composed of hundreds of air and space pilots, engineers, inventors, and innovators, along with adventurers, scientists and industry leaders. NASA Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts and Russian cosmonauts are honored in the Hall of Fame, plus famous flying pioneers such as the Wright brothers, Charles Lindbergh and Chuck Yeager. Notable inductees include Igor Sikorsky, Wernher von Braun, Jack Northrop, William Boeing, Reuben H. Fleet, Glenn Curtiss, Walter Zable Sr., Fran Bera, Wally Schirra, Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, T. Claude Ryan, Jimmy Doolittle, Frederick Rohr and Waldo Waterman.
“Inspiring kids to undertake tough science and engineering challenges is only the first step,” Kidrick says. “We must also give them the resources they need to complete hard science education majors.”
Proceeds from the evening benefit the Museum’s youth education programs. (www.sandiegoairandspace.org)
The Class of 2013:
US Airways Flight 1549 — “Miracle on the Hudson”
On January 15, 2009, a day everyone remembers,155 passengers and five crew members aboard US Airways Flight 1549 survived an emergency landing into the Hudson River. Shortly after take-off from La Guardia Airport, the Airbus A320 struck a flock of geese that blew out both engines of the aircraft. Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s clear, steady voice told passengers, “Brace for impact,” and — seconds later — the plane was in the Hudson River taking on water. From the mental preparedness and sound judgment of Capt. Sullenberger and Co-Pilot Jeff Skiles in the cockpit, to the leadership and selflessness of Flight Attendants Doreen Welsh, Sheila Dail and Donna Dent in the interior, the crew and passengers of US Airways Flight 1549 miraculously survived a catastrophe.
Red Bull Stratos Project/High Altitude Jumpers
Red Bull is one of the most successful energy drink companies in the world and has always been popular with athletes and associated with extreme sports. In 2010, the company teamed up with Austrian skydiver, Felix Baumgartner, to prepare for the highest skydive ever attempted. With a mission to transcend human limits, Red Bull Stratos brought together the world’s leading minds in aerospace medicine, engineering, pressure suit development, capsule creation, and balloon fabrication. On October 14, 2012, Baumgartner broke three world records during his supersonic free-fall from 24 miles up in the stratosphere over New Mexico, and became the first human to break the sound barrier without any form of engine power. This magnificent feat could not have taken place without the assistance of retired Air Force Colonel Joe Kittinger, who previously held the world record for the highest parachute jump in August 1960 from 102,800 feet and served as Baumgartner’s mentor and capsule communicator. He was also the first person to make a solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a gas balloon. Serving as a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War, he achieved an aerial kill of a North Vietnamese jet fighter and was later shot down himself, spending 11 months as a prisoner of war in a North Vietnamese prison. Art Thompson, the Technical Project Director and engineer for the Red Bull Stratos capsule, assembled an award-winning team that made possible Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking stratospheric skydive.
The Apollo 16 mission to the Moon, John Young, Ken Mattingly and Charlie Duke, was America’s fifth manned lunar landing, and the first to land in the desolate lunar highlands. Using a lunar rover, Young and Duke spent almost three days exploring the region, making geological discoveries that completely revised scientific thinking about the highlands. In the meantime, Mattingly carried out a mission of lunar mapping and scientific readings from lunar orbit. John Young and Charlie Duke are two of only twelve astronauts who walked on the moon, of which only eight are still living.
NASA’s Mission Control
Space missions are a careful balance of responsibilities between the astronauts in space, and those who assist them on the ground. Without both working together, America’s greatest space achievements would not have been possible. In moments such as the first moon landing and the Apollo 13 crisis, the people of Mission Control have proven over and over that they were ready for the unexpected challenges and real-time decisions that the space program. However good the technology, in the end the right person at the right moment, making the right decision, is crucial. Invited to accept on behalf of the entire mission control team are: Gerry Griffin served as Lead Flight Director for three lunar landing missions: Apollo 12, 15 and 17, and made vital contributions to the survival of the Apollo 13 crew. Perhaps the most well-known of the Flight Directors because of his portrayal in the movie “Apollo 13,” Gene Kranz was also the Flight Director for the critical Apollo 11 lunar landing, plus many other key moments in human exploration. Glynn Lunney was an employee of NASA from its creation in 1958 and a key figure from the Mercury missions through to the Space Shuttle era, including overseeing the first international space mission. During the Apollo 13 crisis, Lunney and his team faced the challenge of having to power up the lunar module, while transferring guidance and navigation data to it from the dying command module. His excellent memory and quick thinking were critical in the success of his team during the ensuing hours. Chris Kraft was NASA’s first Flight Director and responsible for shaping Mission Control from the very beginning and overseeing some of NASA’s finest moments.
Dean “Diz” Laird
As the only known US Navy ace to shoot down both German and Japanese planes during World War II, Dean “Diz” Laird is an American legend and “quintessential fighter pilot.” Laird entered naval service in January 1942, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and continued for 29 years until his retirement in 1971 as a Commander. During that time, he flew virtually every type of fighter and attack plane in the Navy inventory, logging more than 8200 hours in 3662 jets, 4623 propeller aircraft, and 520 carrier landings. Laird is a flying ace and has earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for his achievements. And to celebrate his 90th birthday, he went skydiving out of an airplane.
Bob Crandall revolutionized the air travel industry. During his successful tenure as Chairman and CEO of American Airlines, Crandall introduced groundbreaking industry-wide concepts that remain in effect today. He pioneered the modern computer reservations system and initiated deep discounts for advance-purchase tickets. Post-deregulation, Crandall developed innovative cost-saving solutions, such as the frequent flyer program and the hub and spoke system to increase the percentage of seats occupied on every flight. The Wall Street Journal branded Crandall “the man who changed the way the world flies.”
Most often perched in the open tail-gunner’s position of a World War II era B-25 bomber, internationally renowned aerial photographer Paul Bowen has been capturing the elegance and essence of commercial airplanes for more than 40 years. His stunning images have graced more than 1000 magazine covers and countless advertisements, and prominent corporate aircraft companies rely upon his unmatched technique to showcase their latest and greatest. The consummate professional, Bowen often finds his best shots while flying at 200 miles per hour in below-freezing temperatures just before dawn.
National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)
In the more than 65 years since its founding, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has grown from 19 member companies to more than 9000 — both advocating and defending the interests of business aviation across the country and the world. As one reliable voice for business aircraft operators, the NBAA has achieved improvements in fields such as safety, service, efficiency and access while working to globally standardize policy and best practices. Accepting on behalf of the NBAA is President and CEO Edward M. Bolen.
Bud Anderson is a World War II Triple Ace, who flew the P-51 Mustang Old Crow while assigned to the 357th Fighter Group “Yoxford Boys,” 8th Air Force Group — the first group to be equipped with the Mustang. At the young age of 22, Anderson flew two tours of combat against the Luftwaffe in Europe while with the 363rd Fighter Squadron and achieved 16 victories through 116 missions without a single hit from enemy aircraft. With over thirty years of service, Colonel Anderson has been decorated 25 times, including five Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star, and two Legion of Merits. He is a life member of the American Fighter Aces Association and a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. In 2008, he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.