2012 Rudy Frasca: Rudy Frasca was born on April 19, 1931, the fourth child of Italian immigrants. He began taking flying lessons at the age of 14 and soloed shortly thereafter. In 1949, Rudy joined the Navy and was stationed at Glenview Naval Station, where he worked as a flight instructor teaching pilots on the early Link trainers. After the Korean war, Rudy left the Navy to attend the University of Illinois, where he did research in Aviation Psychology and honed his interest in the field of flight simulation. In 1958, putting together everything he had learned in the Navy and the University, Rudy built his first flight simulator at home in his garage and Frasca Aviation was founded (the name later changed to Frasca International to reflect the emerging character of the business). Over the years, Frasca simulators have developed a reputation for realism, reliability and affordability. As the number and reputation of Frasca simulators in use grew, the name “Frasca” began to be used as a generic term for simulators, becoming in effect a household word in the aviation training community. Although the company has grown dramatically, Rudy’s original mission remains the same: to design and manufacture high quality and reasonably priced flight simulators for training pilots worldwide. As the company grew, so did Rudy's collection of antique aircraft. In 1968 Rudy purchased his first Warbird, an FM2 Wildcat which became the foundation for the Frasca Air Museum which now houses over 30 aircraft including a P-40, Spitfire, Fiat and others. The museum is housed at Frasca Field (formerly Illini Airport) which Rudy purchased in 1980. Rudy added a 4000 concrete runway and has purchased several hundred acres surrounding the airport for future development.
Rudy is active in many areas of aviation and has held every office in the Warbirds of America organization. He has been a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) since 1956 and has loaned several of his aircraft to the EAA museum so that the general public can enjoy them. He has received numerous awards both for his personal efforts and for Frasca International’s success in the simulation industry. In August of 2000, Rudy was chosen by the Illinois Department of Transportation to represent the state of Illinois at the National Aviation Hall of Fame Exhibit and Learning Center in Dayton, Ohio.
2011 - No Inductee
2010 - No Inductee
2009 Inductee Paul Sanderson: Paul began his career as an aviation instructor in the Navy during WWII. He went on to start his own ground school, offering pilot rating courses from which the Sanderson Training System was developed. By 1968, more than 3,000 schools were using the Sanderson Courses in their flight training. The system helped make aviation ground instruction accessible and affordable. His programs and work became part of the basis for the Jeppesen flight training products that are used throughout the world in aviation education.
Fifty years later, Sanderson’s basic training approach is still being used with success. His involvement in aviation education has been attributed with helping significantly grow the pilot population in the U.S. The result of the programs that started with Sanderson was the training of millions of pilots.
His company, Sanderson Films, was sold to Times Mirror Company, which eventual merged with Jeppesen to form Jeppesen-Sanderson, now owned by Boeing. Jeppesen continues Sanderson’s legacy of providing pilot training and reference materials. Sanderson has been recognized by the National Aeronautic Association as an Elder Statesman of Aviation for his contributions to the aviation world.
2008 Inductee Joan Mace:Joan has 65 years of aviation experience and started flight instructing in 1946 at Ohio University Airport in Athens, Ohio. Her strong interest in aviation began at Curtiss-Wright where she was responsible for checking landing gear, rivets, anf flaring panels. Later, the U.S. Army Air Forces accepted her for Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) training.
After the war, Mace found her commercial and instructor certificates were all she needed to become the only woman among 22 instructors at Ohio University Airport. As the first female chair of a university aviation department, she has opened doors for women in aviation, helping create a four-year bachelor’s degree program in airway science in the College of Engineering at Ohio University and establishing an aviation advisory board at the university.
2008 Inductee Charles Fairbanks: Charles became a flight instructor in 1947 and started Cardinal Air Training and the Conference of Flight Instructors (CFI) at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati. Fairbanks attended the original AOPA and Helicopter Association Internatinal (HAI) seminars. He is also an EAA flight advisor. With flight experience dating back to 1944 and including over 27,000 flight hours, he worked with Sporty’s in producing its first training video, “So You Want to Fly Helicopters.” As a member of EAA, AOPA, NAFI, Freemasons, Shrine, Eastern Star, Silver Wings, Quiet Birdsmen, the Professional Race Pilots Association, and HAI, Fairbanks has accomplished many things in the field of aviation.
2007 Inductee Hal Shevers: Hal Shevers founder of Sporty’s Flight Academy and Sporty’s Shops. Because of Hal’s tireless pioneering efforts, Sporty’s now delivers a variety of aviation educational services to tens of thousands of students around the world. He established The Sporty’s Foundation, created to support national educational initiatives directed toward youth. Through its support programs for young people, the foundation encourages a wide range of aviation career choices including avionic technician, engineer, mechanic and pilot. Hal Shevers has operated this world-renowned flight school while supporting youth aviation programs throughout the nation. A flight instructor for nearly fifty years, his commitment to excellence in education is unsurpassed.
2007 Inductee Wolfgang Langwiesche: In 1939, Wolfgang Langewiesche’s gift for writing led him to a position with Air Facts magazine, and his first book, I’ll Take the High Road, promptly became a bestseller. In 1944, he published his most widely distributed work, Stick and Rudder. The basic facts about flying set forth in Stick and Rudder have withstood the test of time- more than 200,000 copies of the book had been sold by 1990, and it continues in print to this day. His role as a flight instructor, however, and his influence on the flight instruction community, is most pronounced in the articles he wrote for Harper’s Magazine and Reader’s Digest during the later 1940s and 1950s.
2006 Inductee Al Passell: Among the most prolific Pilot Examiners of all time, Al Passell dominated flight training in the central United States from the 1960s onward. In the classroom and in the cockpit, his concise lessons remain etched in the minds of countless aviators, from local pilots to airline captains.
2006 Inductee Ralph Nelson: Ralph Nelson (NAFI #4), founding father and Vice President Emeritus of the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI), had accumulated more than 10,000 hours in his logbook by the time he passed away in 2006. A safety crusader and innovative leader, he created and promoted A.M. Aviation Weather on public television as well as AOPA's Weekend Ground School. He also served as leader of the Aviation Safety Foundation and Flight Safety Foundation for nearly two decades. One of his lasting legacies is the General Aviation Awards program and the Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year award.
2005 Inductee Howard Fried: Howard Fried has logged some 40,000 flight hours in over 60 year of flying. He started training pilots in the US Army Air Corps during WWII, and moved to general aviation after V-J Day. In 1964 he established Drake Aviation, an active flight school with several locations in the Midwest. He has been a lifelong crusader for aviation safety and proficiency. He was one of the first FAA Designated Examiners in 1978, and conducted more than 4,000 check rides. Fried has also written numerous books and articles, sharing his insight to flight safety.
2004 Inductee J. Vernon Ricks: Ricks is the founder of The Airmen, an organization dedicated to promoting safe formation flying; he established the organization in 1972. A pilot for over fifty years, he developed innovative techniques for teach formation flying that have come into wide acceptance. He has instructed in gliders, ag planes, biplanes, and seaplanes, as well as the more familiar single- and twin-engine aircraft.
2003 Inductee Barry Schiff: Schiff is an award winning journalist and author, who is well known to flying audiences for his numerous books and more than 1,000 articles published in 90 magazines. Many of his articles discuss personally developed concepts, procedures, and techniques that have received international acclaim. Barry has more that 26,000 hours logged in 272 types of aircraft. He holds five world speed records and has received numerous honors for his many contributions to aviation safety.
2002 Inductee Jack Eggspuehler: Eggspuehler is the co-founder and president of the National of Flight Instructors for more than 30 years. He was instrumental in the early growth of the association and its development into a national organization. In addition to his work with NAFI, he served as a flight instructor and professor at Ohio State University (OSU) until 1980. Presently he is continuing his 51-year career as a professor emeritus at OSU and president of Aerosafe, Inc., a consulting firm that works with defense attorneys in aviation lawsuits.
2001 Inductee Amelia Reid: Reid, who died in March 2001, taught more than 4,000 students to fly after beginning her California flight school out of the trunk of a 1959 Ford. Among her students was legendary air show pilot Sean D. Tucker. Over 60 years, she logged more than 55,000 flight hours.
2000 Iris Critchell & Ken Medley
1999 Anders Christenson, Dale DeRemer & Verne Jobst
1998 Joe Vorbeck, Marvin Easter & Bill Kershner
1997 Bernie Geier, Evelyn Bryan Johnson & James “Pete” Campbell