Clay Lacy, jet charter pioneer and veteran pilot, among four to be honored by National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2010
Hall of Fame officials make surprise announcement at Opening General Session of NBAA Convention
(Orlando, FL – October 20, 2009) In a special presentation made this morning in Orlando, Florida, the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) announced that Clay Lacy would be among the four outstanding air and space pioneers to be honored with enshrinement in 2010. NAHF Chairman of the Board, retired Air Force Colonel "Robbie" Robinson, made the official announcement at the Opening General Session of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) 62nd Annual Meeting & Convention. The NBAA Convention is largest civil aviation event in the world.
The names of the three other air & space pioneers to be inducted with Lacy at the July 17, 2010 enshrinement ceremony will not be publicly revealed until December 17, 2009. That much anticipated announcement is made at the annual Wright Brothers First Flight Anniversary Dinner held in Dayton, the Birthplace of Aviation and home of the Congressionally-chartered, non-profit NAHF and its Learning & Research Center.
Having tabulated the ballots of its Board of Nominations earlier this summer, NAHF elected to make the special announcement about Clay's enshrinement early, at the NBAA Convention taking place in Orlando, Florida, today through Thursday. The standing- room-only audience included Clay and hundreds of other business aviation leaders from worldwide.
Clay Lacy, a native of Wichita, Kansas, began flying at age 12 and had logged 1,500 flight hours by age 19 when he started work for United Airlines in the right seat of a DC-3. He retired as senior pilot after 40 years at United, having flown DC prop planes, 727, DC-8, D-10, and 747-400 aircraft. In 1964, while at United, he earned a Learjet rating and became a salesman and demo pilot. Upon leasing a Learjet, Clay became the first executive jet charter service west of the Mississippi, operating out of Van Nuys Airport, where he had previously served as an F-86 pilot for the USAF.
Buying his first Learjet in 1970, fledgling Clay Lacy Aviation quickly became known as "Hollywood's Private Airline," carrying celebrities worldwide. The company later expanded, adding numerous aircraft types and a second base of operations in Seattle. Clay also spent significant time as part pilot, part director, and part cinematographer, conducting over 2,500 air-to-air photo flights for hundreds of commercials, television and feature films. He was instrumental in the pioneering development and use on his Learjet of the innovative Astrovision camera system, designed by Bob Nettmann in the mid-1960s. Clay personally pilots his camera-configured Learjet, which includes IMAX capability, skillfully enabling spectacular aerial filming such as that seen in Top Gun, The Right Stuff, and Operation Red Flag: Fighter Pilot.
Lacy is a veteran air race pilot and holds numerous world-flying records. He is also noted for variety of philanthropic contributions that often include the promotion of aviation, such his 1988 around-the-globe flight in a 747 that raised $530,000 for children's charities. Today, with over 50,000 hours of flight time, one of Clay's personal goals remains to fly each and every day.
In making the announcement to the NBAA audience, Col. Robinson said, "To suitably present the breadth of Clay Lacy's contributions, including his multiple roles in promoting aviation to literally millions the world over, is a daunting challenge. We look forward to prominently recognizing Clay Lacy's accomplishments soon with those of the Wright Brothers, Donald Douglas, William Lear and all 203 men and women honored, to date, by the Hall of Fame."
Lacy will be formally enshrined into the National Aviation Hall of Fame at the 49th Annual Enshrinement Dinner & Ceremony, to be held at the Dayton Convention Center on Saturday, July 17, 2010. Widely known as "America's Oscar Night of Aviation," seats to the dinner and ceremony are available by advance reservation only from the NAHF at www.nationalaviation.org or by calling (937) 256-0944 x10.