EAA Mourns Loss Of Bill Kershner
William K. Kershner (1930-2007)
January 11 , 2007 — William K. Kershner, an icon in the world of flight instruction, passed away at the age of 77 on January 8 after a prolonged bout with cancer. Pilot, flight instructor, author, and EAA/NAFI member, he authored a series of books that sold more than 1 million copies over the years. He was inducted into the Flight Instructors Hall of Fame at Oshkosh in 1998.
"EAA is saddened by the loss of such a stalwart educator and supporter of the aviation community," said EAA President Tom Poberezny. "The depth of the contributions he made is clearly evident by his many honors, including his induction into the EAA/NAFI Flight Instructors Hall of Fame here in Oshkosh."
Bill was born and raised in Clarksville, Tennessee, where he started flying in March 1945, at age 15. He worked as line boy to obtain his private, commercial, and flight instructor certificates and went on to acquire instrument and airline transport pilot ratings. Over the years Bill logged more than 11,000 hours including 1,150 hours military, 1,900 hours multi-engine, and 4,300 hours aerobatic instruction.
Bill graduated Iowa State University in 1960 with a degree in technical journalism. He wrote his first book, The Student Pilot's Flight Manual, while still in school, then went on to pen The Advanced Pilot's Flight Manual, The Instrument Flight Manual, and The Flight Instructor's Manual. Another book, Logging Flight Time, is a collection of articles covering his 61 years of flying. His writings also appeared in many aviation magazines.
After coming to Sewanee, Tennessee in 1964, Bill flew charter flights, instructed, and operated an aerobatic and advanced instruction school with more than 500 students completing his course in "defensive flying."
He is survived by his wife, Betty Kershner; daughter, Cindy Kershner and her husband Mark Manz; and son Bill Kershner and his wife Donna.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the William and Elizabeth Kershner Scholarship Fund at the University of the South; the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC; or the Tennessee Aviation Museum in Sevierville, Tennessee.
Another option: take someone who has never flown before up in an airplane. Sharing his enthusiasm for and knowledge of flying was Bill's greatest joy.
Awards and Honors include:
1970 - Tennessee Ninety-Nines Award
1977 - Flying Physicians-Airman of the Year.
1980 - Alpha Eta Rho-International Aviation Fraternity Award.
1992 - General Aviation/FAA-National Instructor of the Year.
1993 - GE Lecturer at Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
1994 - Award of Merit from the Ninety-Nine Organization.
1996 - Civil Aviation Medical Association-Forrest M. Bird Award.
1997 - Elder Statesman of Aviation.
1998 - Flight Instructor Hall of Fame, Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
1999 - Quick-Goethert lecturer at the University of Tennessee Space Institute.
2001 - Honorary Doctor of Science from University of the South, Sewanee, TN.
2002 - Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame, Sevierville, TN