A select group of Nevada aviators and aerospace pioneers were recently honored at the Henderson Executive Airport during the second annual Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Dinner.
Rich in aviation history, the Silver State boasts pioneers like William M. (Bill) Stead. Stead was selected for his contributions in the field of air racing and for founding the National Champion Air Races in Reno, Nevada. He had always dreamed of bringing a national air race to Nevada. In 1962 the first race was held at Sky Ranch Airport in northern Nevada. In 1966 the U.S. Air Force’s Stead Field was closed and the races were moved there to utilize the hangars, ramps, and hard surface runways. Stead Field was named after Bill’s younger brother Croston, a World War II and Nevada Air National Guard pilot, who died in a crash on Dec. 11, 1949. The National Champion Air Races have been held there every year with the exception of 2001.
JT3 sponsored a table for the event in support of their President, Brig. General Charles “Pete” Winters, USAF (Ret). Winters is a test pilot who also served as the Commander of Area 51 in Nevada. For his achievements in the development and testing of advanced military programs, he has been selected as an inductee for 2011. One of the programs he worked on was the F-117A ‘Nighthawk’ which transitioned from prototype phase to initial operational capability in less than five years.
Jane A. Miller is a pioneer in the development of flight nurse standards and practices for use in pre-hospital and emergency nursing during aeromedical evacuation or rescue operations. She served in Nevada as the Chief Flight Nurse for the Washoe Medical Center based “Life Flight” program operating in the remote areas of northern Nevada and northeastern California. In 1981, the program was renamed “Care Flight” and run as a joint venture between three local hospitals.
Other 2011 inductees are: William A. Ivy, selected for piloting the first flight over the state of Nevada (1910); Senator Patrick A. McCarran for submitting the first bill for separate Air Force and multiple bills forming regulatory structures for the aviation industry; Walter T. Varney established the first commercial airmail route in Nevada; Florence J. Murphy was a commercial pilot and Bonanza Airlines executive; and George E. Crockett, the Founder of Alamo Airfield and Alamo Airways.