EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wisconsin — The Experimental Aircraft Association recognized the contributions made to the world of flight by five aviators as they were inducted into the EAA Sport Aviation Halls of Fame on Nov. 10:
- EAA Homebuilders Hall of Fame: Jim Bede (posthumous);
- Vintage Aircraft Association Hall of Fame: Phil Coulson of Lawton, Michigan;
- International Aerobatic Club Hall of Fame: Robert Armstrong of Bishop, Georgia;
- EAA Ultralight Hall of Fame: Tracy Knauss of Chattanooga, Tennessee;
- Warbirds of America Hall of Fame: Doug Champlin (posthumous).
The EAA Sport Aviation Halls of Fame were established to honor the outstanding achievements of men and women in aviation who share the spirit of EAA and its community. Those inducted into the hall of fame are selected by their peers for the contributions made to their respective areas of aviation.
In addition, Don and Joanie Moder of Appleton, Wisconsin, received the Henry Kimberly Spirit of Leadership Award for their efforts on behalf of EAA and the local community. Don Moder has been a longtime grounds crew volunteer at the EAA Aviation Center, while Joanie Moder has volunteered in the retail and merchandise areas.
HOMEBUILDERS HALL OF FAME
An Ohio native, Jim Bede made his first foray into the experimental aviation world with his original BD-1. It had innovative features that included bonding the aluminum structure instead of riveting.
His later designs included the BD-2 and BD-4, and the iconic BD-5 and BD-5J, the latter which was powered by a jet engine and became known for its flying sequences in the James Bond movie Octopussy.
Bede died in July 2015.
VINTAGE AIRCRAFT ASSOCIATION HALL OF FAME
Phil Coulson began his aviation career in the military with service in the U.S. Air Force. He learned to fly in a Piper J-5 Cruiser and became an EAA fly-in volunteer in the early 1960s.
His vintage aircraft passion led him in particular to antique Waco aircraft. He served as president of the American Waco Club for 20 years.
Coulson was also a longtime board member of the Vintage Aircraft Association and chairman at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, as well as an aircraft judge.
INTERNATIONAL AEROBATIC CLUB HALL OF FAME
Robert Armstrong learned to fly in high school, and soon found a strong interest in aerobatic flight. He finished second in the U.S. National Aerobatic Championships in 1998 in his first year of competition. Since then, he has qualified for the American team 10 times and participated in the World Aerobatic Championships.
Armstrong has more than 17,000 hours of total flight time, including thousands of hours as an airline pilot. His 5,000-plus hours of sport aviation flying time includes 1,600 hours of aerobatic flight time.
ULTRALIGHT HALL OF FAME
Tracy Knauss began his aviation interest in hang gliding in the mid-1970s and quickly discovered a need for a publication that informed pilots about hang gliding and the new ultralight craze. That initial publication, Glider Rider, evolved into Light Sport and Ultralight Flying magazine.
Knauss became known around the world for his publication that shows the commonality in flying transcends languages.
Through its 40 years of publication that recently ended, Knauss’ magazine was a key information source for everyone involved in the lightest end of sport aviation.
WARBIRDS HALL OF FAME
Doug Champlin’s passion for preserving military aircraft extends to all eras, from World War I to the Vietnam War period. His Champlin Air Museum in Mesa, Arizona, became a magnet for warbird enthusiasts from around the world. The facility also became the home base for the American Fighter Aces Association and the Flying Tigers Association.
After Champlin retired, the entire collection was moved in 2002 to the Museum of Flight in Seattle, where it is displayed in the museum’s Personal Courage Wing.
There, the airplanes and stories of the people who flew them can be preserved for posterity.
Champlin died in May 2013, leaving behind a unique legacy in aviation.