National Aviation Hall of Fame. (News)

Article excerpt

The National Aviation Hall of Fame's (NAHF) 41st Annual Enshrinement Ceremony will take place in Dayton, Ohio, on Saturday, July 20, 2002, when four more outstanding pioneers of aviation will take their place of honor among the 174 men and women previously enshrined. Often referred to as the "Oscar Night of Aviation," the black tie gala is held in the Dayton Convention Center and draws hundreds of aerospace, military government and industry leaders, as well as NAHF members and previous enshrinees.

Prior to the formal events, on Friday, July 19, the NAHF will also present the Milton Caniff Spirit of Flight Award to the American Eagle Squadrons during the NAHF President's Reception and Dinner, held at the NAHF Learning and Research Center and United States Air Force Museum, in Dayton. Eagle Squadron fighter pilots are remembered for their voluntarily bolstering the ranks of Great Britain's battle weary Royal Air Force prior the United States' entry into World War II. The four individual enshrinees being honored in 2002 for their achievements and lifelong contributions to aviation are pilots and Vietnam heroes, Richard "Dick" Rutan, and James B. Stockdale, as well as World War II ace and tactician Hubert "Hub" Zemke, and helicopter designer and pilot Frank N. Piasecki.

Philadelphia native Frank Piasecki, founder and head of the PV-Engineering Forum, made America's second successful helicopter flight in the PV-2 in April 1943. He and his forum then built the world's first tandem rotor helicopter, known as "the flying banana" for the Navy. By 1946, the Piasecki Helicopter Corporation was producing and designing helicopters for the U.S. Navy, Army and Army Air Forces as well as the Canadian and French navies. Piasecki continues to devote his time and energy improving the Apache and Super Cobra helicopters.

As an Air Force fighter pilot, Dick Rutan of Loma Linda, California, flew 325 combat missions in Vietnam, of which 105 were classified as high risk. Following his Air Force retirement, at the rank of lieutenant colonel, he flew flight test development programs and set numerous speed and distance records. …