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NAFI Flight Instructor Hall of Fame Inductees Chosen
September 4, 2008 - NAFI is proud to announce that this year we have two inductees for the Flight Instructor Hall of Fame.  The Hall of Fame Selection Committee has chosen Joan Mace and Charles Fairbanks as this year’s inductees.  The inductees will be a part of an induction ceremony held in conjunction with the annual EAA and NAFI board of directors meeting this October in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Joan E. Mace
has 65 years of aviation experience and started flight instructing in 1946 at Ohio University Airport in Athens, Ohio. After graduating from high school, she left for Columbus, Ohio, developing a strong interest in aviation at Curtiss-Wright, a major aircraft manufacturer that contributed greatly to the Allied effort during World War II. While at Curtiss-Wright, Mace was responsible for checking landing gear, rivets, and flaring panels. Later, the U.S. Army Air Forces accepted her for Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) training, but hostilities ended and she never took part in the war effort. As many World War II veterans returned to college, Mace found her commercial and instructor certificates were all she needed to become the only woman among 22 instructors at Ohio University Airport.

Mace advanced her ratings and became one of only 60 women in the country to hold a multiengine airline transport pilot certificate. This contributed to her being named Top Female Pilot of the Year in 1980 by the All Ohio Ninety-Nines. She also received the Medal of Merit Award in 1992, Elder Statesman Award in 2003, and the Alumni of the Year Award and FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award in 2004. In 2002, Mace was inducted into the Amelia Earhart International Forest of Friendship.

As the first female chair of a university aviation department, she has opened doors for women in aviation. She helped create a four-year bachelor’s degree program in airway science in the College of Engineering at Ohio University and established an aviation advisory board at the university.

Born in Toledo, Ohio, Charles D. Fairbanks is one of the most successful flight instructors of his area. He 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 flight instructor refresher clinic (FIRC) course at Ohio State in 1966 and went on to instruct many AOPA and Helicopter Association International (HAI) seminars. He is also an EAA flight advisor.

Fairbanks’ flight experience dates back to 1944 and includes 27,450 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 Birdmen, the Professional Race Pilots Association, and HAI, Fairbanks has accomplished many things. He was presented the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award in 2005 and the AOPA 60 Years Certificate of Achievement. Fairbanks wrote and published his autobiography, Once Around the Patch (Of Life), assisted W.J. Wagtendonk with Principles of Helicopter Flight, and made recommendations for updating the Basic Helicopter Handbook.