Each year, The Museum of Flight in Seattle honors Pacific Northwest individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of the aerospace industry with its annual Pathfinder Award. This year’s honorees are pilot/entrepreneur Clay Lacy, William Boeing Jr., and Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann, the first woman hired by Boeing as a production test pilot.
This year’s fundraising banquet begins at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 9.
About the honorees:
Chief pilot, director of Boeing Flight Training, and responsible for the company’s operation in 20 campuses globally, Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann is a pilot of “firsts.” Boeing’s first woman test pilot. The first to captain a 747-400. The first to captain a 777. Joining Boeing in 1974 as a tech aide, Darcy-Hennemann learned to fly through the Boeing Employees Flying Association and graduated with a BS degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering from the University of Washington in 1981.She has achieved captain status on the Boeing 737, 747, 757, 767 and 777 jetliners. However, it is the Boeing 777 with which she is most closely associated, having contributed to design, testing and certification of the initial airplane and later models. Darcy-Hennemann commanded the 777-200LR on its 21,602-km flight from Hong Kong to London in 2005, breaking the world distance record and two speed records.
William E. Boeing, Jr. has spent a lifetime committed to furthering education and preserving aerospace history. A driving force of The Museum of Flight from its earliest days, Boeing’s career has put him in leadership positions from directorships at the Safeco Corporation, Pacific National Bank and Western Bancorp, to the chairman of Aldarra Management Company, to a trustee of Seattle University. True to his family name, however, aviation has always held a special place in his life. He was instrumental in introducing the helicopter to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, and as a trustee of The Museum of Flight, he has led the way in turning the museum from a small, local attraction to one of international importance. His behind-the-scenes influence helped bring about the capital campaign behind the T. A. Wilson Great Gallery, the Challenger Learning Center, the Tower exhibit, the J. Elroy McCaw Personal Courage Wing, the Washington Aerospace Scholars, and other contributions that helped to further the museum’s vision. One of his most important achievements, according to museum officials, was his leadership in saving, moving, and restoring the historic Red Barn.
Born in Wichita, Kansas, Clay Lacy had logged over 1,500 hours of flight time when he turned 19 and was hired by United Airlines in January 1952. During the Korean War Lacy joined the Air National Guard at Van Nuys, Calif., flying F-86 and T-33 jets, and the Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter. After the war he flew Convair 340s, DC-4s, DC-6s, and DC-7s. In 1962, Lacy and Jack Conroy made the first test flight of the “Pregnant Guppy” a converted Boeing 377 Stratocruiser designed to make payload flights for NASA. In 1965, he became involved in aerial photography and the development of the camera system known as Astrovision, which has filmed over 2,800 projects. He’s also done cinematography for movies such as “The Right Stuff,” “Armageddon,” and “Top Gun.” In 1968, Lacy started the first executive jet charter service west of the Mississippi. He won the Unlimited Air Race Championship in 1970. In all, Lacy has flown more than 300 different aircraft types, has 32 different type ratings and holds 29 current world speed records. Among them is the 36-hour, 54-minute, 15-second, around-the-world 747 flight in 1988 that raised $530,000 for charity.
The Pathfinder Award honorees are selected by the Museum of Flight Board of Trustees from among nominees chosen by the museum, the Pacific Northwest Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and representatives of other aviation and aerospace organizations and companies throughout the Northwest. A wall of honor featuring photos of all Pathfinder Award recipients is on view in the Museum’s William M. Allen Theater lobby.
For more information: MuseumOfFlight.org