Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame names Class of 2012

The Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame (MAHF) has announced its Class of 2012 enshrinees: Cass Hough, a military and corporate pilot (1904-1990);  Dr. Richard Upjohn Light, aviation explorer, surgeon and geographer (1902-1994); Karl W. Richter, military pilot (1942-1967); Lt. Gen. Donavon Smith, military pilot and administrator (1922-1974); Maj. Gen. William A. Henderson, military and corporate pilot (1943-); Maurice R. Hovious, executive restoration expert (1937-); Preston S. Parish, military pilot and aviation executive (1919-); and Lt. Col. Washington D. Ross, fighter pilot and Tuskegee Airman (1919-).

Cass Hough was born in Plymouth. During World War II he flew regular missions escorting bombers over Europe and was assigned by Gen. Jimmy Doolittle to head a unit to solve operational problems. The group developed lightweight external fuel tanks, the P-38 Droop Snoot, bomb sight, 2,000-pound bombs and rocket-propelled bombs to penetrate German submarine pens. After the war, Hough rose to chairman of Daisy Manufacturing and served as member, acting director, and chairman of Michigan Aeronautics Commission.

Dr. Richard Upjohn Light was born in Kalamazoo. In 1934, he flew around the world in a Balance Skyrocket mounted on pontoons. In 1937, he piloted an exploration flight over Peru, South Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya and the Egyptian pyramids in a Bellanca monoplane. Since many parts of the world hadn’t been photographed yet, Light took photos for the American Geographical Society in order to build an archive of aerial views. He served as the society’s president and was the first chairman of Kalamazoo’s Airport Advisory Commission.

Karl W. Richter was born in Holly. He was the youngest U.S. pilot and third F-105 pilot to shoot down a MiG in air-to-air combat. He was the only pilot ever approved for a second 100-mission Vietnam tour. Richter stopped counting his missions at 198, but continued flying. On July 18, 1967, he was hit by enemy anti-aircraft artillery and forced to eject. He was injured during the parachute landing, and died in a rescue helicopter. At the time of his death, Richter flew more missions over North Vietnam than any other airman.

Lt. Gen. Donavon Smith was born in Dowagiac. He flew 123 missions in P-47s from March 1943-February 1945. Smith was a fighter ace with eight victories and participated in the first U.S. overseas deployment jet aircraft — the F-80 Shooting Star — flying from Michigan to Germany. In 1966, he was named chief of the Air Force Advisory Group in Vietnam and chief advisor to the Vietnam Air Force.

Maj. Gen. William A. Henderson was born in Ann Arbor. He flew 125 combat missions over South Vietnam, Laos and North Vietnam. From 1970-1974, he served as an F-4 check pilot and instructor. He left active duty and then joined the Michigan Air National Guard, flying F-100s and A-7s. He was named commander of the Michigan Air National Guard in 1992 and was promoted to major general in 1996. He also served as the corporate pilot, chief pilot and director of Flight Operations for General Motor Corporation.

Maurice R. Hovious served in the U. S. Air Force from 1956-1960 as crew chief of Boeing B-47 bombers. He moved to Kalamazoo and became the corporate pilot for Lakala Aviation, purchased it, and then merged with Kal-Aero. Hovious formed Hov-Aire, Inc., specializing in major repairs and restorations of Ford Tri-Motors and Piper Malibu/Mirage aircraft, as well as other piston aircraft, warbirds, and corporate jets.

Preston S. Parish served in the U. S. Marine Corps as a machine gun company officer during the South Pacific Campaigns, including Guadalcanal and Peleliu. He was awarded the Bronze Star for “heroic and meritorious achievement against enemy forces on Peleliu Island.” He served as vice chairman of the Upjohn Company Board of Directors and helped establish the Upjohn Aviation Department. In 1972, he became a principal owner of Kal-Aero, which was sold to Duncan Aviation in 1998. In 1977, he co-founded the Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum, now known as the Air Zoo, and currently serves as chairman on its board of directors. Parish has served as the president of Warbirds of America, trustee of the Experimental Aircraft Association Foundation, and treasurer and chairman of the National Business Aviation Association.

Lt. Col. Washington D. Ross began military flight training at Tuskegee Army Air Base in Alabama with Class 43-1. He flew 63 long-range bomber escort missions in P-47s and P-51s. After the end of the war, he transferred to Tuskegee Army Air Corps base as a B-25 instructor. Ross retired after 20 years of service with the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He is an active member of the Tuskegee Airmen.

The MAHF will enshrine the Class of 2012 on May 19 at the Air Zoo. The Enshrinement Ceremony and Dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m., with a cash bar opening at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $60 per person when purchased in advance and are good for an Air Zoo Ultimate Ace Wristband Package the entire day of the event. For more information: 269-350-2813 or AirZoo.org

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