Buford Stanley “Stan” Shannon of Fredericksburg passed away Jan. 3 in Fredericksburg, Texas. He was 70.
Shannon was the CEO and president of the former EAA Southwest Regional Fly-In and saw it through its transition to The Texas Fly-Inc. He also was chairman of the Tony Bingelis Scholarship Fund, founder of The Hill Country EAA Chapter 1088 and EAA‘s Man of the Year in 2006. In 2009 he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Texas Aviation Association.
Born in 1939 in Paris, Texas, Shannon had been interested in aviation since childhood, but did not begin flying until he was 40. That’s when he was diagnosed with lung cancer and given three weeks to live. After seeking out the best surgeon he could find, he fully recovered and began taking flying lessons at Love Field (DAL) in Dallas. In a story on the Texas Aviation Association website, he’s quoted as saying: “I was the last private pilot student to solo from that airport. It took a special sign off by the tower chief.” Afterwards, student training was restricted at DAL.
Soon after, Shannon began restoring and building aircraft. He was one of the first builders of the Vans RV-6 and the RV-9 and was in the final stages of construction on a Bush Caddy R-80 Light Sport Aircraft before his death, according to friends.
A technical counselor for the EAA, he assisted approximately 70 other homebuilders. He also was president of Rondure Co., which sells parts for kit planes.
For more than 10 years, Shannon led the Southwest Regional Fly-In, which started in Kerrville, then moved to Abilene, New Braunfels and Hondo. When it was discontinued because of insurance issues, remaining funds were dedicated to the Tony Bingelis Scholarship Fund, which sponsors youth interested in aviation. Bingelis, a good friend of Shannon’s, had died while the two were building a Murphy Rebel. A manager in the Texas Aeronautics Commission, predecessor of the Texas Department of Transportation Aviation, Bingelis was a well-known homebuilder. The scholarships are open to high school students for flight training, and college students for flight training or help with college expenses.
In lieu of flowers the family wishes that memorials be given to the St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Admiral Nimitz Foundation or to the charity of your choice.