The San Diego Air & Space Museum will honor national and international air and space legends at its 46th Hall of Fame Induction and Gala Nov. 21.
Each honoree was selected for their historic contributions to aviation, space, or aviation technology, according to museum officials. The Class of 2009 includes: Sally Ride, first woman in space; Sean Tucker, airshow performer; Clay Lacy, founder of Clay Lacy aviation; Lockheed Brothers & Skunk Works, Lockheed Martin Aircraft Co.; The Blue Angels; Cliff Robertson, pilot, Academy Award-winning screen star as well as founder of the Cliff Robertson Work Experience; Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP); and Frank Robinson, founder of Robinson Helicopter Co.
“We’re especially pleased to honor the Class of 2009 because these pioneers have not only pushed back the frontiers of air and space exploration, they’ve also become strong positive role models for today’s youth,” said Jim Kidrick, San Diego Air & Space Museum President and CEO. “Aviation and space exploration, as embodied by the people we honor in our Hall of Fame, is a metaphor for the American pioneering spirit. It’s a critical part of our legacy as a world technology leader. We must inspire today’s kids to tackle the tough science, technology, engineering and math challenges, which lie ahead.”
The San Diego Air & Space Museum’s International Aerospace Hall of Fame is composed of hundreds of air and space pilots, engineers, inventors and innovators, along with adventurers, scientists and industry leaders. NASA Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts, and Russian cosmonauts are honored in the Hall of Fame, plus famous flying pioneers such as the Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh and Chuck Yeager. Other notable inductees include Jack Northrop, William Boeing, Reuben H. Fleet, Glenn Curtiss, Walter Zable Sr., Fran Bera, Wally Schirra, T. Claude Ryan, Jimmy Doolittle Jr., Frederick Rohr and Waldo Waterman.
The Class of 2009
Sally Ride is an American physicist and a former NASA astronaut who, in 1983, became the first American woman and youngest American (at the time) to enter space. Ride was one of 8,900 people to answer an advertisement in a newspaper seeking applicants for the space program. As a result, Ride joined NASA in 1978. During her career, Sally served as the ground-based Capsule Communicator for the second and third Space Shuttle flights. On June 18, 1983, she became the first American woman in space as a crew member on Space Shuttle Challenger for STS-7. Her second space flight was in 1984, also on board the Challenger. She has cumulatively spent more than 343 hours in space. In 1987, Ride left to work at the Stanford University Center for International Security and Arms Control. In 1989, she became a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego and Director of the California Space Institute. In 2003, she was asked to serve on the Space Shuttle Columbia Accident Investigation Board. She is currently on leave from the university, and is the President and CEO of Sally Ride Science, a company she founded in 2001, that creates entertaining science programs and publications for upper elementary and middle school students, with a particular focus on girls.
Sean Tucker, a native of Eagle Rock, California, earned his pilot’s certificate at age 17. He has been flying airshows worldwide since the mid-1970s and is considered one of the world’s premier airshow performers. Despite once having a fear of flying, Tucker has flown more than 1,000 performances at more than 425 airshows, in front of more than 80 million spectators. He currently flies with Team Oracle and pilots the Challenger II biplane. Tucker has also created the Tutima Academy of Aviation Safety, a world-class flight training institution dedicated to setting and spreading the standard for aviation safety in aerobatics and aviation at large
Clay Lacy is the founder of Clay Lacy Aviation, one of the largest corporate jet providers in the country. Clay Lacy Aviation’s roots begin in the early 1960’s when Clay Lacy and Bill Lear offered the first Learjet available in the Western United States. The Lacy Lear gained instant acceptance and notoriety with the high profile entertainment industry. In 1968 Clay Lacy Aviation incorporated the name and concept of Clay Lacy Aviation. Clay Lacy Aviation operates the largest, diversified, fleet of charter aircraft in the West. Today, Clay Lacy Aviation flies more charter flights than any other West Coast carrier. Clay Lacy was born in 1932 and grew up in Wichita, Kansas, the birthplace of aviation manufacturing. Interested in model airplanes at age 5, he built his first flying model in 1940 when he was only 8 years old, and had his first flight at age 12.
Lockheed Brothers & Skunk Works Brothers Allan and Malcolm (who originally spelled their name Loughead) created a series of aviation companies that eventually led to the present day Lockheed Martin Aircraft Co. starting in 1912. Incantations of the company would produce some of the most famous aircraft ever to take to the skies, including the Vega, P-38 and Constellation. Skunk Works was the Advanced Development Division of Lockheed which made some of the most technologically advanced aircraft of their or any generation. Included in the Skunk Work’s roll call is the P-80 Shooting Star (the first American jet to record a kill), the U-2 (which can fly at 70,000 feet), the SR-71 Blackbird (which is still the current record holder for a manned airbreathing jet aircraft) and the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter. In 1995 Lockheed merged with Martin Marietta in 1995 to form Lockheed Martin, which is the world’s largest defense contractor by revenue.
The Blue Angels are the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron who performed their first flight demonstration in June 1946 at their home base, Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Florida, flying the Grumman F6F Hellcat. Over the past several decades the Blues have flown several types of aircraft, including the Grumman F11F-1 Tiger and the McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom IIand the A-4F Skyhawk II. On November 8, 1986, the Blue Angels completed their 40th anniversary year during ceremonies unveiling their present aircraft, the new sleek F/A-18 Hornet, the first dual-role fighter/attack aircraft now serving on the nation’s front lines of defense. Since 1946, the Blue Angels have performed for more than 427 million fans and are certainly one of the world’s most respected and watched flight team.
Cliff Robertson is a pilot, Academy Award and Emmy-Award-winning screen star as well as founder of the Cliff Robertson Work Experience, within the EAA. He has owned several de Havilland Tiger Moths, a Messerschmitt Bf 109 and a Supermarine Spitfire. Perhaps he is best known for starring in Charly, an adaptation of Flowers for Algernon for which he won the 1968 Academy Award for Best Actor. Other films included Picnic, Sunday in New York, Autumn Leaves, Too Late the Hero, Three Days of the Condor, Obsession, J. W. Coop, Star 80 and Malone. More recently, Robertson’s career has had a resurgence. He appeared as Uncle Ben Parker in the first movie adaptation of Spider-Man, as well as in the sequels Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3. In 1969, Robertson helped organize an effort to fly food and medical supplies to war ravaged Biafra, Nigeria. When a famine hit Ethiopia in 1978, Robertson again organized relief flights of supplies to that country. He’s dedicated to helping others experience the joy of flight. Robertson takes an active part in the Cliff Robertson Work Experience Program. Each summer, two youths, 16 or 17 years old, are invited to Oshkosh, through the EAA Air Academy, where they work for ground and flight instruction. The EAA’s Young Eagles program began in 1992 with Robertson as its first honorary chairman. In 1999, he helped kick off the EAA’s campaign, “Vision of Eagles,” a set of initiatives designed to educate, motivate and provide direction to young people through aviation-based activities.
Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) and the predecessor groups the Women’s Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) and the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) were pioneering organizations of civilian female pilots employed to fly military aircraft under the direction of the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. The female pilots would number thousands, each freeing a male pilot for combat service. The WFTD and WAFS were combined on August 5, 1943 to create the WASP organization. Almost every type of aircraft flown by the USAAF during World War II, including the early U.S. jet aircraft, was also flown by women in these roles. Between September 1942 and December 1944, the WASP delivered 12,650 aircraft of 78 different types. Over fifty percent of the ferrying of combat aircraft within the United States during the war was carried out by WASP. Thirty-eight WASP fliers lost their lives while serving their country during the war. The sacrifice and determination that these women showed during World War Two would be a key factor in the eventual integration of women into the Air Force.
Frank Robinson is an engineer and the founder, president and Chief Executive Officer of Robinson Helicopter Company of Torrance, California. He designed the Robinson R22 helicopter, a popular, light, two-place civilian aircraft in the early 1970s. The first production R22 was delivered in late 1979, and the R22 soon became the world’s top selling civil helicopter. In addition, the R22 holds most world records in its weight class including speed and altitude. In the mid-1980s, Robinson and his staff of engineers began development of the four-seat R44 helicopter, which he flew on its first flight in March of 1990. FAA certification was received in late 1992, and production deliveries began in 1993. By early 2007, more than 3,000 R44 helicopters had been delivered to over 70 countries, with the R44 becoming even more popular than the two-seat R22. Robinson remains active in his company and continues to refine the R22 and R44 to enhance performance and reduce maintenance requirements. Recent improvements include the more powerful, fuel-injected R44 Raven II. Today, Robinson oversees the company’s development of its first turbine helicopter, the five-place R66. The R66 made its first flight on 07 November 2007, and is currently undergoing FAA type certification. Robinson is a recipient of the Howard Hughes Memorial Award from the Southern California Aeronautic Association given “to an aerospace leader whose accomplishments over a long career have contributed significantly to the advancement of aviation or space technology.”
For more information: 619-234-8291 or SanDiegoAirAndSpace.org