Air show legends Jim and Ernie Moser, Julie Clark, Steve Oliver and Suzanne Asbury-Oliver will be inducted into the International Council of Airshows (ICAS) Foundation Hall of Fame on Dec. 7, in Las Vegas during the annual ICAS Chairman’s Banquet.
The ICAS Foundation Hall of Fame was created in 1995 to honor those who have made a significant impact to the North American air show industry and, in turn, educates each of us about noteworthy aviation history. Recognizing the industry’s top performers and contributors is one of the goals of the foundation.
Jim and Ernie Moser
In 1966, retired Air Force Colonel Ernie Moser settled in St Augustine (SGJ), Florida, to manage the local airport and establish an FBO and flight school. His expertise at day-to-day operations was quickly realized and a year later he was offered a long-term lease arrangement for operations at SGJ. And so it was, in 1967, that Aero Sport Inc. was born.
To promote the then fledging “Aero Sport” Ernie created and developed “Colonel Moser’s Air Circus.” In a style reminiscent of the early barnstormers, he toured the southeast US with a unique variety of aerial acts and antics. Air show notables of the day were regular performers. People like Mary Gaffaney, Duane Cole, Bevo Howard, Jim Holland, and Bob Lyjack were the family that Ernie’s son, Jim, grew up around and from whom he learned.
Jim began his air show involvement as part of the Circus’ parachute act and in time developed aerobatic routines in the Citabria, Stearman (with wingwalker/wife Diane), Great Lakes, and finally, a highly modified Bucker Jungman, which was to become his signature act.
The successful troupe performed until the late seventies at which time Jim and Ernie devoted their time to full time operation of the FBO at SGJ. In short order and almost exclusively because of the Moser family’s dedication to sport aviation, SGJ airport became known as the East Coast Mecca of sport, antique and aerobatic aviation.
When Ernie retired, Jim took the reins and continued the tradition set forth by his dad, attracting world-class aerobatic stars to visit, practice and enjoy the unique camaraderie for which Aero Sport was known.
Over the years, Aero Sport has been a distributor for a variety of aerobatic aircraft, including Citabria, Great Lakes, and in 1989 became the sole North American distributer for Extra Aircraft and remained so until Jim’s passing in 1999.
Orphaned by age 15, Julie lost both parents within one year, to sudden, tragic deaths. Her father, Captain Ernie Clark, was killed in a very notorious airline crash in 1964. Undeterred by the tragic passing of her parents and without family support, Julie’s quest to become an airline pilot is just one of many accomplishments she has achieved.
Throughout Julie’s 31 years in the air show industry she has maintained the highest standards of excellence and a selfless commitment to the promotion of air shows and aviation. She is an air show pilot, and one of the first female pilots to fly and become captain for a major commercial airline. She has maintained an impeccable safety record; having logged over 31,000 accident-free flight hours, and is checked out in more than 66 types of aircraft.
Julie began flying air shows in a 3-ship formation team in 1978 and in 1980 began her solo career. She understands how to touch people in a meaningful and memorable way — as she was the first performer to choreograph her flying routine to music. In 1985 she began a dialogue with the air show narrator to enable her to communicate directly with the fans.
Her patriotism will always be remembered as she taxis in with the U.S. flag waving. You may also recall her flying in the Mopar-sponsored T-34 Mentor for 19 years and more recently in the Chevron Mentor for four years. Julie has been recognized by the air show industry, the U.S. government, the military and other aviation organizations as the recipient of more than 40 individual awards over the last three decades.
Steve Oliver and Suzanne Asbury-Oliver
This husband and wife professional aerobatic and skywriting team has been full time in the airshow industry since 1981. 2011 marks their 31st year. Both Steve and Suzanne have been professional pilots since 18 years of age.
Suzanne is the only active female skywriter in the world. The original Pepsi Skywriter aircraft that she flew for 22 years is on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, which is part of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. She was Pepsi’s skywriter for more than 23 years.
Steve flew his first airshow at 19 in 1965. He not only performs his daytime air show performance, but also brought back night pyrobatic shows in 1989 at air shows and other events.
Their team is a past recipient of the International Council of Airshows Sword of Excellence and the Bill Barber Showmanship Award and will be honored in 2012 with induction into the “Living Legends of Aviation.” Their contributions to air show safety and charitable organizations within the air show industry have been the foundation of their passion for aviation. Both continue to amaze audiences today with their special talents in the Oregon Aero SkyDancer, a Super Chipmunk that Steve has been performing in all of North and Central America and the Caribbean Islands since 1989.
Along with their first famous pooch, Charlie Brown and for the last 13 years, their Pooch Pax, they continue to share the magic of flight in their airshow, skywriting and barnstorming.