Friday, October 22, 2010

EAA honors five aviators with Hall of Fame induction on Oct. 29

Renowned aviation writer McClellan to serve as keynote speaker

      EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. — (Oct. 22, 2010) — The Experimental Aircraft Association will recognize the contributions made by five aviators to the world of flight on Friday, Oct. 29, as it inducts them into the EAA Hall of Fame during a banquet at the EAA Aviation Center in Oshkosh, Wis. Renowned aviation writer Mac McClellan will serve as the keynote speaker.

      The five aviators represent the spectrum of aviation within the EAA membership and have achieved notable successes within their particular realm of flight. Among them will be the late Harold D. “Hal” Weekley, the 2010 Warbirds of America inductee, who flew many B-17 missions over Germany before being shot down over occupied France during World War II and later served as one of EAA’s volunteer B-17 pilots for several years. Weekley, of Mabelton, Ga., passed away on Sept. 22, 2010, at age 89.

      Other inductees include Dean Wilson of Clarkston, Wash. (Homebuilders); Morton Lester of Martinsville, Va. (Vintage Aircraft); John Ballantyne of Millsboro, Del. (Ultralight); and the late Jimmy Franklin of Spruce Pine, N.C. (International Aerobatic Club). In addition, Oshkosh businessman John Vette will receive the Henry Kimberly Spirit of Leadership Award for his efforts on behalf of EAA and the local community.

      “Each of these five individuals has made their own unique contributions to the world of flight that has benefited all of us,” said Rod Hightower, EAA president and CEO. “These inductees serve as an example for everyone involved in flying and represent the best that recreational aviation has to offer. We recognize their commitment and passion for flying and are honored to welcome them into the EAA Halls of Fame.”

      A limited number of tickets remain for the dinner and program, which begins with a 6 p.m. reception. Tickets are priced at $50 each, with banquet tables and supporter levels also available. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit or call 800-236-1025.

       EAA embodies the spirit of aviation through the world’s most engaged community of aviation enthusiasts. EAA’s 160,000 members and 1,000 local chapters enjoy the fun and camaraderie of sharing their passion for flying, building and restoring recreational aircraft. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or go to For continual news updates, connect with  


       Dean Wilson: In 1953, Wilson (EAA #377366) purchased his first aircraft, a 1937 40-hp Model A Taylorcraft. The next year, he built and flew a hang glider from plans in a 1913 Popular Mechanics article called “How to Build a Glider for $10.” Wilson’s homebuilt airplane experiences started when he converted 1934 UMF Waco into a spray plane. He later designed and put into production a type-certificated biplane sprayer, the Eagle ag plane.

       In the 1970s, Wilson bought and restored 43 different aircraft. In 1983, he designed and put into production the Avid Flyer kit airplane, and later built the twin-engine Explorer and the single-engine Private Explorer, which went into production in Canada. This year, with the help of local EAA Chapter 328 members, he is building a replica of a 1909 Herring Curtiss Pusher.

       Morton Lester: Lester (EAA #55178) learned to fly from his father, the owner of Martinsville, Virginia’s first airport. Over the years, he owned many aircraft, ranging from modern Bonanzas to vintage Wacos. Morton also restored many prototypes and racing aircraft which he later donated to museums, including the Crosby CR-4 and the Keith Rider Jackrabbit.

       Instrumental in the creation of the Virginia Aviation Museum, Morton was an early member of EAA/VAA Chapter 3 and has served as its president several times. He also served on the board of directors for what is now the Vintage Aircraft Association, as well as the board of directors of the EAA Aviation Foundation.

       Jimmy Franklin: Flying in air shows for more than 30 years, Franklin learned to fly as a toddler sitting on his father’s lap. He attended his first air show when he was 12 and at age 19, bought a 1940 Waco UPF-7 and started performing. He made a name for himself with aggressive aerobatic maneuvers such as the world’s lowest inverted ribbon pick-up.

       Over the years, Franklin introduced many unique acts to the air show industry and appeared in countless movies and television shows. In 1989, he received the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship, and in 1999, he received his second Art Scholl Memorial Showmanship Award.

       In 2005, Franklin and his performing partner, Bobby Younkin, perished in a mid-air collision while performing at the Saskatchewan Centennial Air Show at Moose Jaw, Canada.

       John Ballantyne: With United States ultralight instructor registration No. 1, Ballantyne (EAA #161547) is a commercial pilot and certificated flight instructor for gliders. He is the only recipient of FAA commercial and flight instructor certificates in trike aircraft, and is a United States Hang Gliding Association-rated master hang glider pilot. Ballantyne founded the United States Ultralight Association and served as its president and chief operating officer from 1985 to 2000.

       In 2000, Ballantyne was recognized by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale CIMA Commission for 27 years as a pre-eminent leader in America for the ultralight and microlight sport. In 1996, he received the Moody Award, the United States Ultralight Association’s highest honor, for outstanding contributions to American ultralight aviation.

       Harold D. “Hal” Weekley: Weekley began flight training in 1936, and in fall 1942 was assigned to the U.S. Army Air Forces. A year later, he graduated from flight school as an Army Air Forces pilot and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. In 1944, he went to England and flew 20 combat missions. On his last mission he was shot down by flak. After bailing out at 20,000 feet, he successfully evaded capture for several weeks, hidden by the local French people.

       Weekley also trained jet instructor pilots during both the Korean and Vietnam wars. After retirement from the Air Force he worked with the FAA for 14 years. He has amassed more than 20,000 hours in 97 different types and his certificates include airline transport pilot and airplane multiengine land with type ratings in the DC-9, B-727, and CV-240/340/440. Weekley served for many years as a volunteer pilot on EAA’s B-17 Flying Fortress, “Aluminum Overcast.”

       EAA and Warbirds of America mourn the recent loss of Col. Weekley who died on Sept. 22, 2010.  His generous spirit and numerous aviation contributions will remain with us.


(established 1987)
1987: Jose Luis Aresti, Duane Cole, Curtis Pitts, Frank Price
1988: Marion Cole, Mike Murphy, Betty Skelton
1989: Robert L. Heuer, Beverly Howard, Harold Krier
1990: Lincoln Beachey, Bob Herendeen, Charlie Hillard, Art Scholl
1991: Leo Loudenslager, Mary Gaffaney
1993: Neil Williams, Clint McHenry
1998: Bill Barber, Rodney Jocelyn, Tex Rankin,Harold Neumann, Tom Poberezny
1999: Henry Haigh
2000: Gene Beggs
2001: Mike Heuer
2002: Bill Thomas, Bob Davis
2003: Don Taylor
2004: Betty Stewart, Dorothy Hester
2005: Patty Wagstaff
2006: Gene Soucy
2007: Debby Rihn-Harvey, Bill Kershner
2008: William B. “Bill” Finagin
2009: Robert A. “Bob” Hoover
2010: Jimmy Franklin

(established 1993)
1993: Paul Poberezny, S.J. “Steve” Wittman, George Bogardus
1994: Bernie Pietenpol, Bob Burbick, Ray Stits
1995: Tony Bingelis, Molt Taylor, John Thorp
1996: Sam Burgess, Nick D’Apuzzo, Ed Heath, Volmer Jensen
1997: Ladislao Pazmany, William Ghan, Harold Best-Devereux
1998: Curtis Pitts, Burt Rutan, Bill Warwick
1999: Henri Mignet, Richard Van Grunsven, Chris Heintz
2000: Jean Delemontez, Leslie Long
2001: John Monnett
2002: Jack Cox, Ken Brock
2003: William Chana
2004: Bob Whittier, Pete Bowers
2005: Robert Bushby
2006: Edgar Lesher, B.J. Schramm
2007: Randy Schlitter
2008: John W. Dyke
2009: Lance A. Neibauer
2010: Dean Wilson

(established 1993)
1993: E.E. “Buck” Hilbert, George York
1995: Cole Palen, Kelly Viets, Joe Juptner
1997: Paul Poberezny, Ann Pellegreno, Jim Younkin, Harold Armstrong
1999: Gene Chase, Edward C. Wegner, Tom Flock
2000: Jack Cox
2001: Dr. Roy Wicker, Ted Koston
2002: John M. Miller
2003: Al Kelch, Nick Rezich
2004: Espie “Butch” Joyce
2005: Richard Knutson, Charlie Nelson
2006: Charles W. Harris
2007: Chet Peek
2008: Bill Pancake
2009: Stephen Pitcairn
2010: Morton Lester

(established 1995)
1995: Paul Poberezny, Walt Ohlrich, John Baugh, Bill Harrison, Jerry Walbrun
1996: Dick Dieter, Charlie Nogle
1997: Sue Parish, Rudy Frasca, Jeff Ethell
1998: John Ellis, Randy Sohn
1999: William Dodds, Richard Ervin
2000: Dave Schlingman
2001: Lincoln Dexter, Edward Maloney
2002: Frank C. Sanders
2003: Chuck Doyle, Lloyd Parker Nolen
2004: Howard Pardue
2005: Kermit Weeks, Steve Hinton
2006: Jack Harrington, Daryl Lenz
2007: Wilson “Connie” Edwards
2008: Connie Bowlin
2009: George H. Baker
2010: Harold D. “Hal” Weekley

(established 1999)
1999: Homer Kolb, John Moody, Chuck Slusarczyk
2000: Boris Popov, Wayne Ison
2001: Mike Sacrey
2002: John Chotia, Tom Peghiny
2003: Mike Jacober
2004: Klaus Hill, Bert Howland
2005: Larry Mauro
2006: Bob Lovejoy, Volmer Jensen
2007: Mike Markowski
2008: Mike Loehle
2009: Roy Pinner
2010: John Ballantyne

For more information contact:
            Kevin Hazaert, EAA Communications
            (920) 426-6521

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