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Steve Wittman Among 2014 National Aviation Hall of Fame Inductees

EAA board member Alan Klapmeier also to be honored

Steve Wittman
Steve Wittman, shown here with his famed Bonzo in 1994, will be inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in October 2014.

December 18, 2013 - The late Sylvester J. "Steve" Wittman, the pioneering aircraft designer, builder, and racer who was an early EAA member and the namesake of Oshkosh's Wittman Regional Airport, is among six individuals who are among the class of 2014 inductees for the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF).

The NAHF announced the upcoming year's inductees during Tuesday night's annual dinner hosted by the Dayton, Ohio-based Aviation Trail Inc. on the anniversary of the Wright brothers' first successful powered flight on December 17, 1903.

Wittman built his first airplane in 1924, and competed in his first air race in 1926. Wittman managed the Oshkosh, Wisconsin, airport, and operated an FBO and flight school there while continuing to design, construct, and fly innovative aircraft, his homebuilt kit plans selling in the thousands. His final air race was in 1989, at age 85. Along with Wittman's name on the Oshkosh airport he managed until the late 1960s, EAA Chapter 252 in Oshkosh is known as the "Steve Wittman Chapter."

The six 2014 inductees will join 219 other aviation and space pioneers who have been welcomed into the NAHF since 1962. That roster includes EAA's late founder Paul Poberezny, who was inducted in 1999. Also on the list of 2014 honorees was EAA board member Alan Klapmeier, who will be inducted along with his brother, Dale. The 2014 induction will take place in Dayton on October 4, 2014.

Along with Wittman, the other inductees as announced by the NAHF on Tuesday included:

Alan and Dale Klapmeier - Alan and his younger brother, Dale, founded Cirrus Design in 1984 to fulfill their youthful dream of manufacturing a certified airplane of their own design. Within 20 years Cirrus earned its position as the dominant market leader in high performance, single-engine, four-place airplanes. The Klapmeiers' piston-powered designs feature state-of-the-art design and technologies, including glass panel cockpits, composite construction, and whole plane parachute systems, revolutionizing the general aircraft industry. Today, Alan serves as president and CEO of Kestrel Aircraft Company and Dale as CEO of Cirrus Design.

The late Bertrand "Bert" B. Acosta - Acosta built and flew his first airplane in 1910, and soon became one of America's first test pilots and the first aviator commissioned into both the Army Air Service and the U.S. Navy. Also a mechanic, flight instructor, and aeronautical engineer, Acosta consulted to aircraft companies worldwide and set numerous national and world flight records.

Brig. Gen. James A. McDivitt, USAF (Ret.) - After flying 145 combat missions over Korea as an Air Force fighter pilot, McDivitt earned a degree in aeronautical engineering and served as a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base. Selected as an astronaut in 1962, he served as command pilot for Gemini 4 and Apollo 9, eventually managing the Apollo Spacecraft Program for NASA. McDivitt was also one of 15 astronauts who participated in the unforgettable "Salute to Apollo" program at the EAA fly-in in 1994.

Emily Howell Warner - Warner was an experienced Colorado flight school manager, flight instructor, and FAA designated flight examiner holding multiple ratings when she was hired by Frontier Airlines in 1973, earning her additional distinction as the first female captain of a scheduled, jet-equipped U.S. airline. She amassed more than 21,000 flight hours over her career.

The enshrinement dinner and ceremony will take place on Saturday, October 4, 2014, at the National Aviation Hall of Fame Learning Center and the adjacent National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. Often referred to as "America's Oscar Night of Aviation," the black-tie ceremony is open to the public and reservations are available by advance purchase from the NAHF.

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