EAA Sport Aviation Halls of Fame to Induct Seven Members
September 18, 2008 —
Seven individuals who have left extraordinary marks on aviation will be inducted into the EAA Halls of Fame at the annual ceremonies scheduled Friday, October 24 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. These individuals will be honored for their contributions to the history, development, and growth within their different areas of aviation affiliation, representing the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI), the Vintage Aircraft Association, the International Aerobatic Club, Warbirds of America, Ultralights, and Homebuilders.
The dinner and ceremony will be held in the Eagle Hangar in the EAA AirVenture Museum. John Monnett, president and founder of Sonex Aircraft, LLC, as well a member of the EAA Homebuilders Hall of Fame, will be the keynote speaker.
Here’s the slate of inductees for 2008:
- Bill Pancake - EAA Vintage Aircraft Association Hall of Fame
- Mike Loehle - EAA Ultralight Hall of Fame
- John W. Dyke - EAA Homebuilders Hall of Fame
- Connie Bowlin - EAA Warbirds of America Hall of Fame
- William B. “Bill” Finagin - International Aerobatic Club Hall of Fame
- Joan E. Mace and Charles D. Fairbanks - National Association of Flight Instructors Hall of Fame
The public is invited to attend the dinner and induction ceremony. Make an online reservation or call 800-236-1025.
EAA Sport Aviation Halls of Fame Class of 2008
The following individuals comprise the 2008 inductees to the EAA Halls of Fame on October 24.
Vintage Aircraft Association Hall of Fame
William “Billy” Pancake started working at Baker Airpark in Burlington, West Virginia, during the 1950s. Pancake became well known in his area for being a thorough mechanic, a longtime restorer, and an expert in Aeronca aircraft.
Besides being a certificated airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanic with inspection authorization, Pancake is a woodworker, electronics hobbyist, licensed weather observer, ham radio operator, and certificated flight instructor. His involvement in restoration and electronics has contributed to 11 award-winning airplanes at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, including the Bob Baker family’s Grand Champion Classic Aeronca in 2007 and Harold Armstrong’s Pitcairn PA-4 Fleetwing 2, which took the Grand Champion Antique in 1991.
Pancake’s long list of awards and honors shows his dedication and passion for his work. Over the years he has kept Aeroncas and other fine, classic aircraft flying. For his contributions to aviation, Pancake has received the state of West Virginia’s Distinguished Mountaineer Award and was the first West Virginian to receive both the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award and the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award.
Ultralight Hall of Fame
After Mike Loehle soloed at age 16, he fell in love with ultralight flying, which inspired him to participate in the Civil Air Patrol and attend the Air Force Academy in Colorado. Loehle has been an ultralight pilot since 1976, when he attended his first EAA fly-in convention and developed an interest in the aircraft. After visiting Oshkosh, Loehle purchased an Easy Riser and went on to design a tail and landing gear to stabilize it. During this time, he began to design engine mounts and operated an ultralight business, first from his parents’ basement and then in a T-hangar at Bowman Field in Louisville, Kentucky.
Loehle contributed to the “5151” Mustang by turning his idea of an ultralight P-51 Mustang into a flying machine and introduced the prototype at Oshkosh in 1985. It was a huge influence in the growth of ultralight aviation. He has manufactured aircraft kits for 28 years, including props, and has also developed a complete paint line. His designs are built and flown in 20 countries.
Loehle has received many awards, including Grand Champion Ultralight and Outstanding Craftsmanship at EAA AirVenture, Most Innovative Modifications at Sun ’n Fun, and the LAMA President’s Award.
Homebuilders Hall of Fame
John W. Dyke was born in 1931 and grew up on a farm in southeastern Ohio, where he established a niche for aviation design and construction after building a prop-driven bicycle using his mother’s Maytag washing machine engine. His love for aviation grew when he joined the U.S. Navy in 1955, attending the Navy airman preparatory, aircraft mechanics, and aircraft navigation schools.
During Dyke’s service in the Navy, he met Dr. Alexander Lippisch, father of the delta wing, at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). Dyke traveled to Germany to study Lippisch’s work and then later studied NASA delta wing experimentation work. Dyke has built several Delta models and tested a wind tunnel he built. His first was designated JD-1, and in 1963, he flew it to the EAA fly-in convention in Rockford. He later designed the JD-2, which first flew to Rockford in 1966 and is still flying today.
Dyke has received numerous awards for his outstanding designs, knowledge, and contributions to aviation including the EAA President’s Award and the FAA’s Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award. Dyke’s contributions to aviation continue through his support of the Delta Builders Network, now numbering about 600, and his dedication to EAA AirVenture, which he has attended for more than 50 years.
Warbirds of America Hall of Fame
After completing studies at Winston-Salem Business College in 1970, Connie Bowlin began her aviation career as a Delta Airlines flight attendant. During her time with Delta, she obtained her private, commercial, and airline transport pilot certificates and multiengine and instrument ratings. She became the fourth female pilot hired by Delta and one of the first 50 women pilots hired by a major commercial airline.
Bowlin flew as a second officer on the Boeing 727 and as a copilot on the DC-9 and Boeing 767/757 before eventually moving to captain on the DC-9. In 2003, she retired as a Boeing-767/757 captain. She not only flew commercial aircraft but warbirds as well. She has enjoyed flying the P-51 Mustang and EAA’s B-17. She has more than 17,000 hours of flying time in more than 70 different aircraft.
Her involvement with warbirds, aviation history, and aviation friendships inspired her to co-found AviationAutographs.com. She has also become one of the driving forces behind EAA’s popular Warbirds in Review program at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. In 1998, Bowlin was honored as an Eagle at the Gathering of Eagles and remains an inspiration to both female and male pilots.
International Aerobatic Club Hall of Fame
William B. “Bill” Finagin acquired his first pilot certificate in 1955 and began competing in serious aerobatics in the 1980s. His love for aviation and aerobatics helped him develop into a well-respected aerobatics instructor with an estimated flying time of 18,000 hours.
Before becoming an instructor, Finagin received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and later graduated from dental school in 1963. He then taught at the Maryland School of Dentistry and practiced part time in Annapolis after resigning his commission in the Navy. Finagin retired from the Navy in 1991 as a two-star Admiral.
Finagin has achieved a lot since he earned his pilot certificate. He is an EAA and IAC government relations representative, an original aerobatic competency evaluator and committee member appointed by the FAA, the owner of Dent Air Ltd., and has been a Pitts authorized dealer for 30 years. He’s trained more than 600 people through the entire range of spins, giving him more than 10,000 hours as a Pitts instructor. Many of his students became astronauts, and one joined the Mission of Naval Air Training Command.
National Association of Flight Instructors Hall of Fame
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 Birdsmen, 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.